So you’ve decided to study abroad and you couldn’t be any more jazzed about it. In fact, you’re already preparing for your new life across the ocean by practicing your Korean karaoke or sipping on cappuccinos, imagining life by the Seine.
However, there’s something important you have to do before you start packing your bags: convince your parent(s) or legal guardian to let you study abroad. You may have dropped the idea casually mid-conversation, or “accidentally” left some cool program pages up on your home computer for them to glance at. You may have given anecdotal evidence of your friend’s incredible experience abroad last semester. But now’s the time to let them know you’re SERIOUS about this study abroad thang and are willing to put in the legwork to make it happen.
But for these early stages, we did most of the work for you (we’re just that nice!). Here are four template letters to use in order to help convince that parental figure in your life that you definitely, absolutely, without a doubt NEED to jump on that plane and study abroad.
1. Study Abroad (in General)
I need to discuss something with you that are very important to me: I’ve decided that I want to study abroad next [summer/semester] in [chosen country]. I’m incredibly excited about this opportunity to study abroad and to explore [chosen country], as I think it’ll help me both personally and academically. I’m not just asking you to let me travel abroad for a few months. I’m serious about this decision and I want to have a meaningful experience that will enhance my education.
By studying abroad, I’ll also be boosting my resume for the future! Statistics show that 97 percent of students who study abroad find jobs within a year of an employment, when only 49 percent of college graduates found employment in that same period of time (let me do the math for you – that means that study abroad students are twice as likely to get a job within a year of graduation).
I understand if you’re worried about safety, but I hope you trust me to make smart decisions no matter where I am. And if you’re still concerned, we could set up a lunch to chat with [insert name of family friend/fellow student who has studied abroad] and ask them to talk to us as a family about their experience abroad.
I’m really passionate about studying abroad in [chosen country] because [be sure to tell you parents what is really motivating you to study abroad in this country. Is it a passion for the language? Your goal to someday work abroad? A love for Brazilian culture? Whatever your personal reasons for studying abroad, be sure to express them clearly to your parents so they understand how and why this is so important to you].
I can’t wait to talk airplane tickets with you!
Me [Consider adding heartfelt nickname from when you were a small lad/lass. EX: Scout]
2. Undergraduate Degree Abroad
I’ve decided to pursue my undergraduate degree abroad and I am so excited about it! I know that this is an unconventional approach to college, but I am determined to go to college abroad in [chosen country]. This is really important to me because [explain to your parent(s)/legal guardian why you want to study in this country, whether it be for the language, the culture, or the profession you hope to one day work in, or something else].
I believe that pursuing my undergraduate degree abroad will allow me to learn not just in the classroom, but also in the challenges of day-to-day life in a foreign country. I’ll become more independent and I’ll learn skills that my peers who go to college here at home will never learn, simply because I’ll be immersed in a completely different environment that will push me to my limits.
I know that you might be concerned about the price-tag, but there are actually a number of scholarships available to students looking to complete their full degree abroad, since international students are in high demand from universities abroad who want a more diverse student body.
Leaving for college was always going to be a big change for me and for us as a family, and I know that my decision to study in [chosen country] means that I’ll be far away from you all for a few years. But this is something that I’m really passionate about, and I hope you’ll understand why I want to do this.
If you want to discuss this further, we can look at GoAbroad’s guide to undergraduate degrees abroad together. I’m excited to get started on applications and to talk about this some more!
Me [Consider adding heartfelt nickname from when you were a small lad/lass. EX: Bubble Butt]
3. Study Abroad Off the Beaten Path
I’ve decided I want to study abroad in [chosen country]. I know that the idea of me going to this location might be intimidating, as it’s slightly off the beaten path, but I’m excited for this opportunity. I want to dig deep and get a real view of the world at large, and studying in [chosen country] will allow me to do that.
While studying abroad in [chosen country], I’ll be able to have a much more enriching and fulfilling study abroad experience than if I were to go to a big study abroad city like London, Paris or Rome. It’ll certainly be more challenging, but it’ll be worth it. By studying abroad in [chosen country], I’ll be fully immersed in another culture, with an unfiltered view of the daily life of the people around me. I want to use this experience of being completely out of my comfort zone to expand my worldview – and to practice those language skills!
If you’re worried about safety, we can discuss my plan to study abroad in [chosen country] with my university’s study abroad office, my professor who has travelled there, or [insert name here], who has also studied abroad there, so you can set your mind at ease. We can research the country beforehand and don’t forget – it’s very easy to stay in touch these days! We can talk daily by Skyping, texting, calling, emails – the whole cannoli!
Studying abroad in a place that’s off the beaten path will set me apart from other students that go abroad, showing future graduate schools or employers that I can take the initiative and push myself. Studies show that 90 percent of students who study abroad get into their first or second choice graduate schools, and 85 percent of study abroad alumni claimed that the skills they learned while abroad helped them in the job market.
I hope you trust me to make this decision and to take on this adventure! I can’t wait to get started!
Me [Consider adding heartfelt nickname from when you were a small lad/lass. EX: Pookey]
4. Master’s Degree Abroad
Good news! I’ve decided to pursue my masters degree abroad! This might seem a little out-of-the ordinary, but I’m looking forward to the prospect of going abroad to continue my education and your support means alot to me.
First of all, pursuing my degree in [chosen country] is an excellent way to focus on my [chosen area of study]. I’ll be living in a country that is specific to what I want to study – not to mention the access I’ll have to things such as primary source materials, the language of the country, cultural immersion in my field of study, and even international networking opportunities.
Secondly, many master’s programs abroad are not only shorter in duration, but are also far more affordable - or sometimes even free. By pursuing my Masters abroad, I’ll be able to earn my degree in less time and for less money, which will allow me to enter the job market more quickly and with less debt (or maybe none at all!). There are also a number of scholarships available for international students looking to pursue a master’s degree abroad, making it even more affordable.
And thirdly, a Masters degree from an international university will set me apart from other job applicants, showing future employers that I am globally-minded, can overcome obstacles, and that I can work with people from different backgrounds. I will be a more desirable candidate for having pushed myself and taken on a course of study in a completely foreign environment.
I believe that completing my Masters degree in [chosen country] will truly help me concentrate on what I’d like to study and the job that I’d like to have in the future. If you’d like to discuss this further with me, we can look over GoAbroad’s guide to earning a master’s degree abroad. I can’t wait to start making plans!
Me [consider adding heartfelt nickname from when you were a small lad/lass. EX: Sport]
You're now ready to have *the study abroad talk* with mom and dad!
The most important thing to remember when speaking to your parent(s) or legal guardian about studying abroad is to speak honestly and openly. Be sure to tell them your personal reasons for going abroad. If you know why studying abroad is important to you, it should be easy to convince your parental figure to let you study abroad.
Although writing your reasons for wanting to study abroad in a letter and popping it in the mailbox may seem enticing, talking face-to-face with your parental figures is probably the better (and far more direct) approach. You can always read your letter out loud to them! Expressing your passion for going abroad will make your parents see why taking on this new adventure will change your academic and personal life for the better.
So start drafting those letters, brainstorming ways to convince Grandma to support you (she’ll be the toughest sell, anyways), and packing your bags!