01 Sep 2018

6 Things Your Child Should Prepare Before Studying Overseas



As a parent, it is never easy to watch your child leave home to pursue their education overseas. It is every parent’s bittersweet pride to see their child do well and take a big step towards growing into an independent adult. It is important to give them space and room to navigate this part of their life’s journey for themselves. Nevertheless, there are many ways you can support and help them on the big move, just to make it less daunting!


Here are 6 things you can do with your child to help them settle in better and to give everyone (yourself included) greater peace of mind.


Compile key contact information together

“Can’t we just search for these numbers online?” Well, we all know the anxiety we feel in emergencies. Add to that a foreign environment and suddenly, looking up an important phone number online is not as easy anymore.

Help your child compile a list of important local contact information that they might need there. Here is a list to get them started:

Police hotline, ambulance and other emergency services of the country they are moving to

the number of the Singapore embassy

your child's insurer

A great tip would be to have these numbers easily accessible. Have your child keep a copy in their phone’s notes app, on their computer and print it out so that they can stick it on their refrigerator. Having these numbers at an instant makes emergencies much less stressful.


Help them plan a budget

One of the biggest challenges of sending your child for an overseas education is definitely with budgeting. It is important to know how much you can afford to financially support your child while they are pursuing their studies.

Have an open discussion with your child about what you are able to afford in terms of financial support. Perhaps you could even show them your own budgeting, so that they know what are the essentials to set aside money for. This way, they can brainstorm and think of ways to live within their means. Encourage them to make wiser decisions with their money, so that they can stretch their budget.

Here are some thought starters you could share with your child to help them save while living abroad:

Have them find out if there is campus accommodation available. These are often cheaper than renting an apartment and help save on travel costs. 

Share a few simple family recipes so that they can cook instead of eating out. Not only does this help them save money, it is often a healthier option too! 

Naturally, your child would want to have a bit of fun while they are overseas. Help them discover ways to save money on entertainment and other fun activities by encouraging them to search for deals on reputed deal websites. 


Have them open a global bank account

An important thing to iron out before your child goes overseas is with banking matters. Have them check with their local bank to see if their credit or debit cards can be used in the country your child is studying in. They should ensure that their local bank has activated the cards’ magnetic stripe for overseas spending.

Quick tip: It would be great to add their bank’s hotline to the contact information list you helped compile previously, in case they lose their cards.

Next, you can decide together with your child on a foreign bank to open an account with. Compare interest rates across the banks and find one that allows both you and your child to make online transfers easily. These online transfers should ideally not carry currency conversion charges (or at the very least, have a minimal fee). This way, you and your child can minimise the money spent on transactional fees.

Your child can also check with their university to find out if they have partnerships with specific banks or even to see which banks have branches or automated teller machines on campus. Having a convenient location that gives your child easy and smooth access to funds will make their life overseas much easier.


Set up an emergency fund

Sometimes despite our best efforts to prepare, the unexpected can still happen. While it is important to have your child learn to set aside some money in their budget for personal emergencies, it is also important for you to set aside your own emergency fund.

This emergency fund should have enough for a return flight ticket as well as school fees in the event that your child needs to retake a module due to unforeseen circumstances.. This provides peace of mind for both your child and you, which helps make the whole process of living overseas less scary!


Research, research, research

A fun way for both your child and you to get prepared for their overseas education is by doing research. These days, there are many fun videos one can watch to learn more about another country and culture. You can even share articles you find online with your child to help them prepare better. This way, they can better assimilate into their new country and reduce culture shock.

Some good things to find out would be the weather (and seasons), cuisine, culture and even political climate. You should also encourage them to find out the main languages spoken in the country they are moving to. If English is not the first language used there, it will benefit your child (and you!) to learn some basic phrases in the country’s main language.

A wealth of apps and websites are available to give easy and enjoyable crash courses on languages. There are even apps that turn the learning process into a fun mobile game. You could even have a contest with your child to see who performs better at picking up a new language!  And of course there is Google translate to help them whilst they are there.


Have adequate global insurance coverage

Just as it is with banking, it is important to check if your child’s existing insurance policies cover them when they are overseas. Go through with them the term and conditions of their policy so that both of you understand exactly what is covered and what is not. For example, if your child needs emergency surgery, does your insurance cover medical evacuation to come home?

Alternatively, you can help your child sign up for an overseas study insurance plan such as MSIG’s Global Study which covers students of age 12 onwards. The policy covers accidents, illness and study interruptions,. You and your child can choose from 1-month to 12-month cover options, giving both of you the flexibility to manage your budget and their coverage. Global Study also insures your child when they are taking a vacation break from their studies and covers accidents from adventurous activities such as bungee jumping and skydiving.

This comprehensive protection is designed to be simple so that they can focus on making their overseas education the amazing experience it should be!

Are you ready to help your child make the big move?

Find out more about Global Study here.