Teen Attending College In Another Country? What Can You Do To Prepare?

Posted on: 22 October 2015

Many parents both dread and dream of the day they escort a teen off to college. The summer before your teen leaves can be a busy and stressful time, with supplies to purchase, furniture and clothing to move, and financial arrangements to make. However, if your teen is attending college in a foreign country, your to-do list may quickly become much longer and more complex. What can you do to help prepare your teen for living on their own for the first time in an area where he or she may not be familiar with the language or culture? Read on to learn more about the process of relocating to another country and how you can help make this process as streamlined and stress-free as possible.

What should you do to help your teen prepare for living on his or her own in a foreign country? 

Once your teen has communicated his or her acceptance of admission, you'll want to do some research into potential living arrangements. Many colleges located in crowded European cities don't offer on-campus housing, so your child may need to rent a room or share an apartment or house with other students to help cut costs. The college admissions department should be able to provide you with a starting point by sharing contact information for nearby apartments or rental homes. Some colleges will also keep a database of foreign students seeking housing to help these students coordinate among each other to determine whether some would like to room together.

After your teen has secured a place to live, you'll want to help him or her map out the best routes to and from his or her classes, local restaurants and grocery stores, and public transportation. This is particularly important if your teen is moving to an area where he or she does not speak the native language, as it can be easy to become lost or confused. Fortunately, with the advent of satellite technology, there are now maps that can depict a city down to the street level, letting you and your teen virtually "walk" from classes to the grocery store and back to the apartment or dormitory.

Your teen will feel much more at ease with being alone in a foreign country after he or she has become familiar with the sights and navigation, and you'll also have some peace of mind by being able to picture your teen's surroundings (or even knowing where the nearest police stations and hospitals are).

Should you hire movers to help pack and ship your child's belongings? 

Unless your teen is renting a room in an unfurnished house, it's unlikely he or she will need to transport a cargo container filled with furniture overseas; however, hiring movers to help pack and ship certain belongings can be a worthwhile investment. Your teen may be able to bring along most of the clothing he or she will need, a phone and charger, and other essentials in his or her checked luggage, but other needed items can be professionally packed and quickly shipped to arrive just a day or two after your child's flight lands, allowing him or her to settle in quickly.

Using a professional moving company like Hollander Storage & Moving to pack and ship luggage can save you money and hassle and will allow you to spend more time with your teen before he or she leaves. And while your teen may be able to purchase some items after arriving in his or her new city, there can be great comfort in bringing along personal belongings from home -- particularly if your teen plans to spend his or her entire college career overseas.