By Diane Griffith, Staff Writer, myOptumHealth
Has your college-aged child asked to study abroad? You may believe it's too dangerous and something only the wealthy can afford. But it may actually be safer and more reasonably priced than you think.
Reaping the benefits of foreign studies
The rewards of studying abroad can be invaluable. Consider these benefits:
Tuition for a foreign university is sometimes less expensive than it is for a U.S. college. It is likely that your child's current financial aid can transfer to an overseas university. Also, loans, grants and scholarships are available from various sources. These include state, public and private organizations. Make sure to also factor in all travel costs.
Many countries have less street crime than the U.S. Students still need to be cautious, though. They should also know how to contact the closest U.S. embassy should any problems arise - from losing a passport to needing hospital care.
Tell your child to follow these important safety tips:
Your current health insurance plan probably won't cover your child abroad. Instead, you'll need to buy an overseas plan. Other types of insurance that are available include:
In addition to a passport, your child will need an International Student Identity Card. She may also need a visa and a certificate of vaccination. Check with the administrator of your child's program to learn more.
Keeping in touch
Don't be upset if your child doesn't call as often as you'd like. With time differences, classes and the general excitement of being in a foreign country, phone calls may not always be possible.
Some cell phone providers have plans that work overseas, but the roaming charges are extremely expensive. Instead, give your child prepaid international calling cards. Some other suggestions:
Studying abroad can offer your child once-in-a-lifetime opportunities she won't find elsewhere. If she plans carefully and follows the proper safety precautions, her overseas experience can enrich her life in countless ways.
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