Have you decided to take an international exchange abroad ?
It can be the experience of a lifetime; you get to travel to unique and beautiful places, make friends, explore another culture, learn about yourself, gain practical knowledge…
By living a few weeks to a couple months abroad, you can acquire important soft skills, leadership skills and cross cultural understanding. These qualities are still hard to come by, and at the end of the day – these will make all the difference when you enter the job market.
An incredible opportunity to develop yourself both personally and professionally.
The problem is: your decision alone may not be enough.
What can you do if you already decided to live with the opportunity – but your parents are not convinced?
When I first told them that I’m planning to move to another continent for a job, I had to face many doubts my family had.
Why that specific country?
Who will take care of you?
Why don’t you want to build a future here?
Don’t worry: with the right words you can help them realise how much you can grow during an exchange!
Find your motivation!
Why do you want to go?
Is it for the sake of exploring? Do you want to volunteer where it’s must needed?
Or are you searching for a challenging internship that would look amazing in your CV?
Of course, you can build a future closer to home; but you are here because you want to travel.
Am I right?
Once you know your true motivation, tell them! It’s important to be open and transparent here. Explain the details you find important.
My main motivation to go on an international exchange was to discover an environment that is very different from mine. I listed what I can possibly experience over there and not here. I showed them I’m passionate about this – and they understood.
Be prepared that they might attack your reasons; when this happens, accept their feedback.
If you feel they didn’t get you right, try explaining from another point, or more detailed.
If they have a valid point, acknowledge it. You might not have planned for everything, but you can always look into it more.
Do the research!
Now they know why, but the next questions will be how, when and where?
Make sure you can answer all of these by checking out multiple opportunities!
Talk to the local AIESEC representative. They will be more than happy to help finding the opportunity that’s best for you. Browse the international exchanges on our website, read through the descriptions carefully and never be afraid to ask for more information or clarity.
Look up a thing or two about the country and city you would be going to.
Ask about the process. Do you need visa? Vaccines?
Your family just wants to make sure you know what you’re doing, so show them you prepared!
Solve possible difficulties!
Talking about preparation…
If there are any foreseeable difficulties, think about possible ways to solve them.
This way you can introduce them to your parents to ease off their worries!
Are you going to a country that is not so safe? Ensure them that someone from AIESEC would take care of you!
You don’t speak the local language? Probably learn the key sentences before you go.
Don’t forget you would always have someone responsible for you – in your home country and in the host country as well. The strong support is a unique advantage of an AIESEC experience and your loved ones will also be more calm knowing you are not left to your own devices.
Talking my international exchange through with my family raised some very important questions and concerns. They made me face some problems I didn’t even think about (for example the vaccinations I needed to take).
So not only did I manage to gain their support, but I also received lots of good advice from them!
Generally your family just wants to make sure you would get what’s best for you.
In this case, help them understand your decision. Show them how much you get out of this!
Also ensure them that you are ready for such a challenge, prepared for it and that you can take care of yourself anywhere you go!
Answering all these questions will not only help you to reassure your relatives about what you are doing.
It is also a great way to prepare yourself, to #LiveTheExperience to the fullest.