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Supporting your child before university

Your child has prepared themselves academically for years before they study abroad. Some things they can't learn from a book and parents, that's where you come in. They'll need a lot more from you than just help with tuition to get ready for university.

Teach them soft skills

While children can learn academic knowledge in school, like mathematics or reading, there are skills that can help your child adapt to new environments but they aren't really quantifiable. These are known as 'soft skills' and range from conflict management and interpersonal skills to integrity and creativity. Helping your child hone these soft skills can significantly uplift their chance of success abroad and beyond.

Teach them basic life skills

Skills like doing laundry and keeping a house tidy will never go out of style. Some say learning to cook is about the most important life skill of them all.

Cooking can teach you to be flexible, creative and a problem solver. Dealing with stress and time management can come into play. And when you sit down to eat, you learn gratitude, humility and the arts of entertaining, if you're sitting down with dinner guests.

Talk honestly about finances

Budgeting skills will come in very handy when your child is trying to stretch a student budget. Since you have experience in managing the family's finances, share that with your kids so they can benefit from what you know. It's time to talk to your kids about the actual costs of going to university abroad so they'll take their studies seriously.

Is your child planning to study overseas? Open a bank account ahead of time so they can settle easier when they arrive. You might even be able to apply online if you meet the eligibility requirements.

Learn more about opening an overseas bank account

Go and see schools together

If you can, visit your child's university open days. Knowing the place beforehand can make a huge difference as they settle in a new environment abroad. Check out the campus and the neighbourhood together. They'll feel more comfortable if they're familiar with their new home, and you'll feel more connected when they leave for their studies abroad.

After lengthy social distancing measures, many universities are offering in-person campus tours again, in addition to running virtual tours. You may be required to preregister or complete a health assessment, depending on the school.

Consider mental and physical well-being (yours and theirs)

A survey found that first-year college students who were not emotionally prepared for school were more likely to get poor grades and have a bad experience of college1. Visiting school together is just one part of mentally preparing you and your child for university. Remind your kids that, while school is obviously really important, they shouldn't overlook their mental and physical well-being.

Make sure they have good health insurance

If you already have health insurance, you need to confirm the plan covers your child's destination. Health insurance policies may differ between countries, and some university programmes might even include healthcare coverage. And if you need to get insurance, make sure it will cover your child for the duration of their studies abroad, as well as any other places they may be travelling to. If you're unsure as to what sort of coverage to get, talk to a professional insurance adviser to understand which insurance product best fits your needs.

Discuss expectations (and the unexpected)

Will you have a weekly phone call, or does your child want some space? What will the first day on campus be like, and what if they don't get along with their roommate? Discuss the school's expectations as well so there are no unpleasant surprises.

The unexpected could be related to family, health or money. Have some plans handy in case they need to come back home quickly.

Talk to them

You'll both be going through a big transition. And to get fully prepared, it's best to sit down with your child before the semester starts and discuss these changes. Topics can include risky behaviour, online conduct and safety. These conversations may sound daunting, but they will help you and your child prepare for what's ahead.

These tips will give you a good guide on prepping your child for studying abroad. Remember, you've prepared them well. What they don't know now, they'll learn.

Now here's how HSBC can support you

As an HSBC Premier customer, you'll have access to international education partners and professional consultants. They provide specialised services for elite US and UK boarding school and university admissions. For more details, please contact your Relationship Manager.

Ready to open an overseas account?

We can tell you the best way for you to apply for an overseas account. Simply select your current location and where you would like to open an account. We'll then walk you through the steps.


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1 The Jed Foundation, Psychiatric Times: The Crisis in College and University Mental Health