Studying abroad with your child? Mission Impossible. – This is the first reaction of many young mothers and fathers when they think about a semester abroad or a complete study abroad with a child. In fact, however, more and more students with children are daring to take the step abroad and thus prove that a stay abroad with children is quite possible.
Of course, studying abroad with young people needs to be well organized and needs a lot of lead time. It is advisable to allow around a year and a half for planning and preparation, because there is a lot to organize. Students with children not only have to think about the right study program like all other future foreign students and deal with application requirements, financing issues and entry regulations. In addition, they are faced with the challenge of ensuring that the child is cared for on site and finding suitable, family-friendly accommodation.
By showing important planning steps and giving useful tips on the topic, we want to help young parents to structure the organization of their stay abroad and thus enable a successful implementation of a study abroad with child.
Preliminary considerations for studying abroad with a child
Before the actual preparations can begin, a number of questions need to be clarified. Students with children should be clear about the following aspects:
- Destination Country
- Type of study and length of stay
- Study abroad with or without a partner
- Appropriate time
- Target university and appropriate study program
At the beginning there is the search for a suitable study country. Various factors play a role in the decision. Where is there a suitable university with a suitable study program? What language skills do you have? What about child and family friendliness in other countries?
Determine the support situation on site
When it comes to childcare in particular, there are sometimes large differences in terms of the childcare options. In Scandinavia, for example, childcare is generally well organized and it is usually not a problem to find a day care place. A place in a care facility in Sweden costs around EUR 140 per month. For this, due to the supervision guarantee in Sweden, students sometimes have to prepare for long waiting times and try to find a place early on.
In countries like the USA, daycare centers and kindergartens are comparatively expensive, but students can communicate in English everywhere and do not need any other language skills.
In order to find the most suitable study country, it is helpful to weight the various criteria and analyze your personal situation: Does childcare in the host country have to be financed for a semester or for the duration of an entire degree? For a semester stay or a summer school, you may be able to plan more money for childcare, as this is a manageable period of time.
In general, it can be said that there can be advantages in choosing a country or a place of study that students already know. A certain empirical value often proves to be helpful, especially on site. Of course, it is also possible to find out about the country and city in advance and to immerse yourself in a foreign culture.
Studying abroad with your family?
The question of whether the partner will come with you abroad also affects further planning. If the partner is also a student, a place to study with a suitable range of courses must be found for both parties. In this case, it is necessary for both parents to consult with their home university in order to ensure that the study achievements achieved abroad are recognized.
If the partner is in professional life, this can simplify the financial situation – at least if the partner can and is allowed to pursue his job abroad. In any case, childcare is easier to coordinate with two people than it is alone. However, it is not always possible to go abroad with a child and partner. In addition, there is an increasing number of single parents who manage the organizational effort on their own.
The right time
When is the best opportunity to study abroad with a child? There is no optimal time. In general, it is customary to spend a semester abroad only after completing the Bachelor’s degree. Some students with children choose to spend a semester abroad only during their master’s degree. There is also the option of studying a complete master’s degree with a child abroad.
However, the age of the child is usually almost more important than the point in time during the course. During the master’s degree, the offspring are often a few years old. This means that round-the-clock care by mother or father is no longer necessary. It also happens that young parents take their primary school child abroad with them. However, it should be remembered that school-age children have to go to school in other countries. In this case, it is necessary to find a school place in good time, for example at an international school.