Resources for ParentsThe role of parents for students going abroad is as important as the placement the students choose. Your power of influence will help shape the future of your child. At Kaya, we realize it is not always easy for the parents to see their children grow up and spread their wings, which is why we created this information page to address some of your questions and concerns and help you decide if a study abroad, a gap year abroad, an internship abroad or a volunteer opportunity abroad is the right step for your child and your family as a whole.
Benefits of Going Abroad
The values of going abroad whether studying, interning or volunteering are endless and although, as a parent, you might have some concerns about letting them go, it’s important you focus on the positive aspects of such a rewarding adventure.
Develop a Global Mindset
They will become more sensitive to global trends and naturally open up to the diversity surrounding them. It will help them become a global citizen by making them more aware of the world surrounding them.
Learn a new language and a new culture
As they explore their host country, they will come across a new culture, new customs and in many cases a new language. They will be forced to immerse themselves by learning the local traditions and language to communicate with their host community.
Acquire Leadership Skills
It will instill some knowledge into them making them better problem solver when faced with multiculturalism. They will develop compassion and interpersonal skills by having to make new friends in a different environment.
Enhance their career opportunities and build up their resumes
Having had that experience will make them stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs. It will show courage and determination to employers that they might not see in other candidates.
Encourage Independence and Confidence
Because they will be out of their comfort zone, they will be forced to make friends and talk to strangers, helping them grow their confidence level and independence, which can only benefit them as they grow into mature adults.
Make long lasting global friendships and connections
Because they will be surrounded by people their own age from diverse walks of life, they will make long lasting friendship with them and possibly even identify possible mentors during their projects. It might inspire them as they pursue their studies.
How to Support your Child?
For their trip to be successful, they need your support more than anything. We have outlined a few ways you can support them as they embark on this new adventure.
SUPPORTING THEM DURING THEIR TRIP
Be supportive and encourage your child to overcome their fears.
Fear of the unknown might kick in – help them see the positive and encourage them despite your own fear. As a grown up with significance experience, you know this is the kind of opportunities that shapes their future for the best. Friends and families might discourage them to go – remind them of the benefits and get them excited about their trip.
Help them prepare with their packing and get organised.
At Kaya, we provide the participants with all the information they need to prepare for their trip including all the immunization needed, visa information, accommodation address and setting, customs to be aware, as well a packing list amongst other things. Make sure they read through the material as it will help them prepare.
Help them keep on budget.
The financial affordability of these trips is often on the mind of the participants and their parents. To that effect, we have developed a few resources to help them raise money for their trip including looking scholarship options and fundraising alternatives. Once we secure their placement, we will also send out a comprehensive fundraising guide to help them through the process.
Talk to them about safety abroad.
At Kaya, the safety of our participant is essential, and we provide them with a lot of information to help them prepare, but as a parent, it is important you reiterate safety including women and gender issues aboard, safe sex and medical treatment as well as emergencies. Encourage them to use common sense.
SUPPORTING THEM WHILE ABROAD
Limit use of distracting technologies if you can.
It’s important that they don’t miss home too much and they take in as much of the experience as possible.
Help them cope with culture shock.
It happens to everyone. The first few days, the participants are invaded by a feeling of excitement, but as fatigue and jetlag kicks in, they will have a sentiment of being overwhelmed by what is surrounding them. If they make contact because they are homesick, try to reassure them and let them know it’s ok.
If you can, stay in touch, but not too much.
It’s important to give them a good balance between letting them know you are thinking about them, and letting them to explore their new world on their own.
Go and visit if they stay long enough but remain discreet and don’t judge their new lifestyle.
SUPPORTING THEM WHEN THEY RETURN
Help them through culture shock.
Depending on the length of their stay and their experience in-country, they might experience reverse culture shock. It’s a natural process. Help them through it by making them feel welcome, by organising a welcome home party, or by cooking their favourite food.
Be prepared for the change.
You might find them different when they return. They might show more independence.They might only talk about their trip and compare what they have experienced. They might be more humble. Whatever it is, be compassionate and understanding.
Most Common Concerns Parents
1 – Safety
We often get asked about the safety of our project. Our participants’ safety is our number one priority. We have developed regular checks and balances to assess safety and ensure that risks have been minimized and identified. For more information on our safety practices, please click here.
2 – Supervision during down time and at weekends
All of our projects have different levels of supervision. But all of our placements for under 18s are very safe where the in-country manager keep track of the volunteers. Volunteers never go out alone as they usually tend to stick together. For more specifics on your child’s project, please ask your placement advisor.
3 – Other Participants
While other volunteers cannot be guaranteed on each projects, there are often other volunteers from all over the world. If this is something important for you and your child, please ask our placement advisor and they will be able to find out for you or advise you on which placement to choose based on this factor.
4 – Logistics
Parents often ask about logistical information. Once we have confirmed your child’s placement, they will be sent a Welcome Pack with all the necessary information. Every project is different, but all projects have an on-the-ground contact and include pickup and drop off at airport.
Kaya’s Credentials and Why Choose us?
- We are a reputable organization in the field and we have been voted “Best Volunteer Organization” in 2016.
- We work with every individual on one on one basis to make sure the right candidate is matched with the right project according to interests, skills, and needs.
- We have checked out our projects one by one, and we have an on-the-ground emergency contact.We provide extensive pre-departure information to help you and your child prepare.
- Our staff is knowledgeable of the countries and the placements and therefore can be of assistance every step of the way.
- We can also accommodate for special needs whether it’s dietary or other, we will have a project matching your child.