It is a great thing for a parent to let your child go abroad for a summer exchange programme. However, there is a lot of preparation to do. Keep in mind that your child is going to face culture shock, language barrier, and homesickness. It is okay to be worried about not being there when your child needs you but your child will also enjoy independence. It is a great learning experience to help you discover how to support your child regardless of the distance.
Tips to support your child during a summer exchange programme
Talk about life after the programme
Before boarding the plane, take time to discuss with your child about what he or she wants to do abroad. This will allow you to support them in the best way possible regardless of the distance. The trick is to make goals with your child although you are going to give him the independence to do what he desires. You will be able to anticipate what your child is going to be like on returning back from the programme.
Schedule communication time
Before your child leaves, schedule an appropriate time for communicating in advance that you will stick to throughout the duration of the programme. Decide on a convenient time and day for both of you. This will ensure that you don’t get worried about your child’s wellbeing. There won’t need to send texts throughout the day when the scheduled time has not yet come.
Giving your child space without having to bear with bombarding messages and calls will help him become more independent. Apart from showing trust in your child, it allows him to have a more enriching experience without thinking about you the whole time. Your child will get ample time devoted to enjoying most of the new environment during the youth exchange programme.
Recognize the change
It is very important to realize that life is going to be different with your child away from home. In addition, you have to learn to adjust to the change. The best thing is to use this opportunity to focus on yourself by doing things you have always wanted to do in the absence of the child. Perhaps you can take dance lessons, visit your aging parents, or remodel the house.
Don’t let them know how much you miss them
Missing your child is obvious but it is not good to let them know how much you desire to have them back home. Keep in mind that your child is likely to become homesick at various moments during the programme. It will become harder for the child to bear with incessant pleas to get back home. Always show how excited you are to hear their adventures and exploits in the new environment.
Encourage the child to socialize with locals
One of the significant benefits of a summer exchange programme is a chance to build confidence and leadership skills. This is because your child will have to speak up and handle everything independently. Motivate them to make own decisions in the best way possible without dictating their life. In case the child comes across a problem, just discuss the various ways to go about it but not to just tell them what to do.
Motivate your child to socialise with locals to develop their local language skill. This will allow them to manage heir stay here independently. It might be a bit hard to trust your child to handle everything independently in a foreign land. However, giving them space will prepare them life after the programme. It is very important to let your child take charge of their situation while abroad. This will make them develop new friends who might end up becoming lifelong friends from different parts of the world.
Interest yourself in the host country
Before the child leaves off after, take time to research about life in the host country. It will make your child happier to realize that you are interested in knowing about the new environment they live in. perhaps you can learn about the local culture to understand the values in society. Your child will be very excited hearing you share your knowledge about their new environment.
Additionally, you can even learn some basic phrases in the local language . It will be very exciting to practice the language with your child to help them home their foreign language skill. This will be very motivating to make the child focus.
It is a great idea for any student in high school to go for a summer exchange programme. After allowing your child to take part in the programme, you can support your child in the foreign land regardless of the distance. Schedule communication time to give your child space and get interested in learning about the host country.