Previously I shared an experience that I, as a first-generation student, struggled with. This time, I want to share another one. One of the things I struggle to make my parents understand is why studying abroad is important for me. They think that studying abroad is a waste of money and time. “Why study abroad? It doesn’t do anything for you!” They often said. Well, I want to study abroad because I want to have fun and learn about other cultures. But my parents don’t understand because they think that studying abroad is worthless for my education. For instance, the financial obligation of a study abroad trip can cost anywhere from 4K—8K. They worry that I might take out loans to pay for my trip and put myself in debt. At the same time, they worry about my safety abroad because I will be living with strangers overseas. In addition to this, if I end up failing in the study abroad class, it might delay my graduation. All these things factor into the final decision and it can be difficult to change my parents’ minds, but I have to persevere in order to fight for what I want.
If you are in a similar slump, there are many ways to remedy the situation. For example, there are many scholarships that students can apply for (e.g., Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship, Freeman-ASIA scholarship, university-wide scholarships, and private scholarships). These can range from $500—full ride. For me, I know that I just need to develop the skill to be resourceful in situations like this: do research and apply for these scholarships. Furthermore, I will be traveling with fellow students, not strangers. There are communication efforts put in place to ensure the safety of students and staff while they travel abroad. Last but not least, I know myself. I know that I will not fail the course. Study abroad classes are relatively easy and the workload is manageable.
For many of us first-generation students, we will be the first in our immediate family to try something new. That is why careful planning and consideration is needed to convince our parents of the decisions we make because they might not always see the same values that we see in these things. Studying abroad is expensive, but by being proactive, we can make our dreams a reality. There are financial aid out there for us to take advantage of; we just need to seize the opportunity.
I shared my personal experiences with academic and family struggles. Now I want you to share yours. What are some of the things you have to deal with? Comment below and don’t forget to check out our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram account for more similar posts.