Parenting is a full-time job no one prepares you for. First off, you are putting someone’s life, cares and burdens over yours consistently for the reward that takes the form of an indescribable love you feel when you look at your child.
That desperate desire to give this other human being everything that you never had and more, while always thinking about their best interests and preparing for their future. Such is the path of parenting which often leads you to make the move to prepare them for a study abroad in the first place.
Education is an investment that provides a firm foundation for the future and the better the quality of education, the higher the chances are of securing an enriching or fulfilling future, which is what you are probably looking to afford for your child or ward. Although, affording quality education for your child is easier said than done, especially if you are considering education in a foreign country.
But it does get easier with the right plan and preparation ahead of time, so you don’t have to worry about the next move to make for their progress. How exactly should you prepare to give your child this quality education abroad? Below are a few helpful tips for every parent preparing their child for education abroad.
Create a Checklist
Firstly, you will need to make a list of every requirement for your child’s education abroad. From information about the school and region you are considering to requirements for the study and immigration, you would need to take everything into consideration before your child leaves and tick the boxes once each task is completed. This will help you keep track of your progress and serve as a record of your activities, so you would not miss anything important. This list should include timelines, deadlines, cost implications, long and short term steps.
Review the Region, School and Course of Study
The next step is to work with your child to determine what their plans and aspirations are and guide them through choosing courses as you prepare them mentally for the journey. Also, work with them to choose schools that offer courses related to their shared plans. Please note that Ivy league schools for example are not in the same financial category as state universities. These are factors that you should consider as a parent or guardian when you are making school choices with your child/ward.
Make Emotional and Physical Preparations
Once you decide to send your child abroad to study, you need to prepare them emotionally and physically. Prepare them to be independent, to be able to away from home, to be able to make spur of the moment decisions without consulting you. Also teach them how to be financially independent. They need to know how to budget, plan and spend without you looking over their shoulders. Prepare them emotionally to be goal-oriented and remember where they find themselves, there is a goal and their eyes should always be on the ball.
Register for External Examinations
A couple of external examinations are a prerequisite for admissions in most Western countries. These exams differ by country sometimes and by the school too. There is the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Test Of English as a Foreign Language(ToEFL), Test de connaissance du français (TCF) and Test d’Evaluation (TEF) for Francophone countries, International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) for the United Kingdom, American College Test (ACT) and Scholastic Assessment test (SAT) for the United States of America, Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang (DSH) and German as a Foreign Language (TestDaF) for Germany just to mention a few. Ensure your child is prepared for these exams and that their results meet the criteria provided by the alternatives you have both decided on.
Get the Required Documentation
There is an extensive list of documents that cannot be obtained overnight.
- A passport is extremely important because it is needed for them to even leave the shores of your home country.
- A Student Visa allows your student to live abroad for a specified period. Each country has a different application process. You can visit the school’s website for the embassy or consulate of the country they are travelling to. They should provide you with all the necessary details you need for the visa application process.
- International Certificate of Vaccinations should also be considered especially in light of the COVID-19 Vaccine which is now a travel prerequisite. As you prepare these documents, do not forget to make copies before your child leaves.
Schedule a Health Check
Schedule doctor visits before your child leaves. Some schools and visa application process make health and medical checks mandatory. Ensure your child is in good health and can take care of themselves or manage a health condition on their own. In cases where the child has pre-existing medical conditions, be sure to inform the school and make accommodation choices based on proximity to clinics and or weather information and convenience. Ensure to also get a health insurance cover that will step in if they need it.
Make Funding Arrangements
Securing citizenships, visas, enabling environments via vacations are fantastic and being proactive. However, it would be prudent for you to start planning financially even before the child is born. Proactive planning will help you save money, take away the pressure, prepare you and your child for the future and generate dividends for the present. You can consider the products offered by FBNQuest that support children’s education such as the FBN Children Education Trust and the FBN Education Endowment Plan.
Here are a few ideas to help you build up funds for your child’s education abroad.
- FBN Education Endowment Fund – The FBN Education Endowment Plan is a goal-based investment management solution specifically created to help parents/guardians save for their children’s education and ensure continuity of their education by providing added benefits such as Insurance and Trust. The good thing about this plan is that it is time-based. It can span for as long as 5-10 years and as short as 6 months. It allows for flexible contribution plans so you finance hassle-free. It also assures that all education needs will be met.
- Liquidity Management – Stacking up shares and stocks and liquidating when you need physical cash is another means of planning for the beautiful future that you want for your child. However, there is a need to work with a portfolio manager who can advise you on what stocks and shares to buy, when to buy and then to sell to grow the education funds for your child’s study abroad. FBNQuest offers excellent liquidity management solutions.
- Mutual Funds – Mutual funds as an investment plan provides you with access to investment markets by pooling your money with the money of several other individuals with similar investment goals. This allows you to diversify your investments and assists with minimising the potential risks typically associated with investing. It’s flexible and allows you time to be consistent at depositing or to just put in what you intend to multiply for future use. FBNQuest offers a wide range of mutual funds to invest in, including; FBN Money Market Fund, FBN Bond Fund, FBN Balanced Fund, FBN Eurobond Fund, FBN Smart Beta Equity Fund and FBN Halal Fund.
- FBN Children Education Trust – An educational trust specifies that trust funds are to be used for education. In the trust document, the grantor names a trustee and beneficiaries, and also specifically states your true intention and goals and details on how the trust money is to be used. You can create an education trust fund for your child and the Fund shall be locked up for an initial minimum period of 2 years before withdrawals can be made.
Conclusively, Education on its own is an investment and giving your child the best is an investment into the future and this comes with a price. However, preparing and planning with a holistic strategy makes your child’s experience whole and hassle-free.