Studying abroad with a child

Studying abroad with a child

You don’t give up on your carrier just because you are a mum/dad now. Students nowadays prefer to continue their studies abroad for the benefit of emancipation and the cultural diversity experiences. Also, since some countries educational systems allow you to obtain an equivalent degree for quite less of tuition expenses making it possible to advance in your career, the students are now free to choose and really taking advantage if such an opportunity. Having a child shall never impede such a prerogative, since there are always ways to overcome the obstacles.

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Being a parent

Becoming a parent is undeniably the most powerful emotion one will ever experience, fulfilling and vivacious. After the overwhelming wave neutralizes, parents enter the so called “circle of worries” concerning the way they choose to bring up their child; if that is the true way that will lead to their happiness and success.

Parenting as much as it’s rewarding and joyful can become frustrating and confusing at times, challenging the young parents into making decisions that will have consequences in the future. Nowadays there are thousands of guidebooks to help you raise your child the best way possible, and it seems like no one around you spears the critiques and comments on the matter. However, plenty of research shows that every child is special therefore there are no strict instructions that lead to the ideal; unfortunately many parents spend months and years of doubt and changeling to realize there is no formula.

As a parent you will be feeling several emotions at a time; joy, pride, anger and fear yet all will always be a product of love. The frustration and despair that you are doing everything wrong or the doubts about being ready for a child that come after several sleepless nights make you nothing but a human. Remember, this is just the beginning.

In reality, there are numerous important decisions a parent has to make which will directly affect their future emotional well being concerning the establishment of them as a parent and a professional. This might seem pretty irrelevant at the time when all you need is to be wrapped around your child experiencing every breath he/she takes yet, in the long run you will realize that your life shall go on as they grow, and if you are not happy with your life neither will your child be.

Carrier is a major part of people’s lives. Sometimes parents feel they are struggling to manage work, school and family life. When the time comes to find some balance among these two, all sorts of questions pop up into one parents mind, like:

  • Will I be able to spend enough time with my child?
  • What if my child is sick and I am not there?
  • What if my child makes his/her first steps when I am not around?
  • What if my child starts to resent me because of my absence?
  • Am I being selfish for trying to have both a carrier and a family?

One thing parents shall bear in mind is that help is always welcome. When having a child, mum and dad shall work on organizing their day in a way where everyone is entitled to leading a healthy life; combining their hours of sleep, work and dedication towards their baby. This is of course possible if both parents live together. Life as a single parent might get a bit more intricate however, with a little help from our loved ones, be it parents, friends or trusted acquaintances leading a completed life is again possible.

The moment you decide to start working/studying after labor you should be well aware of all the efficient planning and self-discipline you will have to undergo in order to reach your goals. This is when several other dilemmas start concerning you.

  • How to prioritize your duties without being emotionally destroyed?
  • What is expected of you as a parent?
  • What is expected of you in your career?
  • Who will participate in the school events of your child or the visits to the doctor?
  • Will you ever be intimate with your partner again?
  • Will you find time for your homework/assignment preparations for school/work?
  • Will you ever find time for yourself and your needs?
  • When will your family have a get together among the strict schedule?
  • When is the right time for the second child?

Indecisive

Again, being a parent isn’t always cheerful and optimistic. Having mixed feeling is part of the process, especially if this is your first child and it feels like you are giving up everything you’ve ever worked for because of him/her. This indecisive point of your life between pursuing your goals and raising an emotionally and physically healthy child can become a burden  you can’t handle, so the moment you feel things are getting out of control seek help from a professional or someone with a clear and objective mind.

The one thing parents usually forget is that besides being a parent they are persons too, having dreams and goals overlooking the near future that not necessarily have to fade away. Feeling loved and appreciated by the people around you is crucial; the moral support you get from your loved ones will help you realize everything you’ve started can continue with a slight digression and a bit more commitment.

One thing is for sure: You don’t give up on your carrier just because you are a mum/dad now.  Just as studies shouldn’t become an obstacle between creating a family, a child shall not be the reason why you’ve turned down the opportunity to make something out of yourself. As previously mentioned, if you can’t make it in your hometown, there are several other places in the world where you will be able to pursuit your degree for less, a degree that is internationally recognized and as valuable as any other degree you thought was unreachable due to various reasons.

Here are some among a bunch of reasons why you should continue your studies after giving birth to a child that will directly influence your future and the future of your child.

Why should you continue your studies after giving birth to a child?

1. A role model

If you fear that your child will turn out just the way you did and you don’t approve on some of the decisions you’ve made, try to set a proper example from now on since it’s true that children look up to their parents.  In case you would want a brilliant carrier for your child, as most of the parents do, you shall be able to accomplish that for yourself as well. This way you will make sure not to let down your parents who believe in you, yourself and all the hard work before your child as well as your child once they grow up in the future. Ambition doesn’t necessarily make you egoistic but also hard working and focused, and a better provider for the once depending on you.

2. Immense for lost times

It is not impossible to maybe continue your career after you children are old enough to take care of themselves, however it’s very difficult to make immense for the past times. You will most probably lack the necessary energy and motivation, the necessary funds as well as the desire to move to another habitat and leave everything behind. The more your children grow, the bigger the risk they won’t want their lives to change so drastically thus the ever-growing dilemmas will find you powerless. Again, it’s never too late and it’s never impossible.

3. Children look down on me

At a certain point in life, when your children’s dream reach oblivion they will certainly look down on you or even blame themselves for your lack of a carrier, when all they’ve seen you do is make all their dreams come true. They won’t love you less for sure, but a glimpse of pity will surely appear in their eyes.

4. The comfort zone

Lives of stay-at-home-mums are never easy. There is always something to do around the house and around your family. With a touch of creativity, you might even enjoy it quite a lot without ever having the urge to be a professional woman. However, your world does narrow down incredibly; year after year you realize that your life revolves around the family and your friends have started alienating due to the lack of time or desire to socialize. Once you’ve created a comfort zone it’s difficult for people to penetrate it.

5. Alert!

Being around the children all the time will make you a bit paranoid and maybe even violate their privacy as they grow up. Also, once you decide to stay at home for your child the need for a kindergarten is out of the question, no matter how important the interaction of your child with other children is. Children should establish some sort of discipline from the moment they are born, so they get an idea of socially accepted manners in the future. As a parent you might slip one or two bad habits under the table with the excuse that he/she is just a child and doesn’t know what he/she is doing.

6. A rocky relationship with your partner

Usually mothers are the ones who will give up on their carriers in order to raise their children while their husbands are nominated as providers. Nowadays it is very difficult for a family to survive with only one parent working; therefore the partner who is providing will most probably need a second job and long hours in order to fulfill the needs of the family. The financial pressure and the long working hours will not leave any room for intimacy and romance so many relationships may hit rock bottom.

7. Old-fashioned and boring

Trying to take care of everything and everyone around the house leaves no room for your own entertainment or any updates. Lifestyle changes so rapidly in every department it feels life we are living on fast-forward, so once you’ve missed a piece of the jigsaw it all falls down into pieces. When you are out in the world, working or studying, you can’t miss the news since you’re always in contact with people sharing everything they’ve read or heard. That way you stay informed all the time. Depending on the line of your work/studies, the need for research in inevitable. So once you go on the internet a whole new and updated world reveals depending on your research. It all about your mindset at the time you sit in front of your laptop, when at work/university you will be pushed to search for more professional related links and when at home probably the favorite site will concern baking, decorating and DIY.

8. No expectations, No surprises

With time, being a stay-at-home-mum or dad might contribute to lack of self-confidence and self-respect. Unfortunately we live in a capitalist environment where money secures authority, or even a certain position in society which allows the ones on top to “rule” over the ones below. This might not be a general rule; however it is rather common among families. Yes, you do have your hands full when bringing up your children yet once they are older they will want to take control over their lives and you’ll be left with nostalgia. Again, this is why having a carrier of your own won’t leave you empty handed since after your children are busy living their lives you will be busy living yours as well.

Maybe back in time, it was very hard to find a study program or a job that will last for a couple hours per day, just enough to leave you space for all the other obligations waiting for you at home. Maybe even the husbands, in the patriarchal environments weren’t as supportive and encouraging as they are nowadays, to allow their women to prosper in their carriers. Yet neither of these can’t be an excuse in this century of gender equity, when studying is one of the basic human rights strongly supported by the civilized world.

Overcoming financial troubles

For many students studies can become overly costly to the point where they are not able to afford them.  Depending on the country you are living in, education can cost a fortune and not everyone is able to pay for it. Now, imagine how difficult that might be when you have and extra mouth to feed, your newborn child and no financial income as a student.

Now, when you are living at home it might be easier since your family is there to support you in any way possible, be in financially or by taking care of your baby when you are attending your classes. But what if you’ve started a degree in an international domain and you have put all your heart into this objective yet a child comes along and now you simply can’t afford the financial burden: shall you give up on your dream? Or maybe your baby?

In fact neither is necessary since just as there are financial aids for hardworking students and potential employers, there are also programs that will help young parent’s pursuit their carriers one just has to be attentive and restless in that direction. Also with the possibility of online programs and the combinations of conventional and unconventional systems of education, the possibilities are limitless which will allow you to reside in the foreign country, continue your degree as well as raise your child in the best way possible.

With some budget adjustments and a new expenditure strategy even a student parent can overcome the economic crisis without giving up on their professional aims. Living on fast-forward might be acquired in many situations, less sleep, no entertainment, money wisely spent on necessities only but that will soon be gone and the degree you are about to obtain will most certainly be worthwhile.

If you plan on living such a lifestyle it’s essential to study abroad in a country that will be able to offer you the optimal conditions to study and raise a child and that will be a developed country, with lower tuition fees, a regulated health care system which offers financial aids to the people in need as well as has an abundant job market for undergrads or postgraduate students.

Look at different programs. Don’t just accept your school’s study abroad program as the only option. Instead, make sure you check out several different programs to find one that suits you financially and personally.

Once you realize you can’t make ends meet, try finding a part time job that will best suit your tight schedule. In the beginning this might seem impossible but once you’ve settled in with the lifestyle changes you will realize that nothing is actually impossible.

Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help from your family. There will come a time that you will repay them. It’s not like you are pouring their money on selfish indulgences or wasting it without a legit purpose. No sane parent with the ability to provide will refuse their children’s genuine request for help during such a situation.

Additionally, nowadays there are several private foundations which support parents that live on Campuses by offering different scholarship programs on their behalf. Some of them are listed below:

Overcoming marital issues

As previously discussed there might be times when you need to blow some steam, accumulated during such difficult periods in between the studies, your job and your child. The pressure of not spending enough time with your baby and the guilt of not being an example parent might endorse hateful emotions towards your partner, unconsciously blaming him for the current situation. The lack of romance and intimacy might also alienate your partner which is very dangerous for the future of your relationship. There are several tips to overcome such an issue however every relationship is different so you’d have to adapt whatever suit the both of you best. It’s essential, however, to make time for each other no matter how busy you are during the day and honestly talk about whatever is hanging on your thoughts. For better or for worse means that you are together not only for the joyful and cheerful moments yet also for the times when shit gets rough. Living in a foreign environment is helpful in the way that, lacking the loved ones around you, you will learn how to lean on each other for any tough situation which will most definitely strengthen the bonds of the relationship. Also, sharing the responsibilities that come with a child with a partner, not necessarily the child’s father will make it easier for you to survive as a student in a foreign country, emotionally, physically morally and financially.

Visa requirements and other documentation

Studying abroad on a student visa allows you to cherish most of the rights the native citizens are entitled to too as health insurance, public transport and other student benefits. Once you have all the documents in order you will be entitled to all of the previously mentioned rights. If you decide to give birth to your child in the country you are studying in, that shall not pose any problems as long as you follow all the bureaucratic procedures when filing for the child’s documentation. Your child won’t be able to be registered as that country’s citizen, unless one parent is of such nationality however there won’t be a problem for him/her to reside with her student parents. If you are moving to another country for studying purposes and you want your family there with you, they shall all apply for their visas and if the terms and conditions are met there shall be no problem.  One of the essential terms will most definitely be the ability to support yourself and your family in the designated country.

Lifestyle & Cultural Differences

In case you are moving to some other country and you have all your family behind you, you shall be well affair of the huge lifestyle differences you will all encounter. It is of essence to educate yourself and your family about everything there is to know related to your new habitat.

  • How are the people around there?
  • What is the weather like?
  • What is the education system like?
  • What is the food like?
  • What do they do to entertain themselves?
  • Are there job opportunities for the partner?
  • Will my kids be able to engage in extracurricular activities?

After you’ve figured out the answers for these questions try discussing them with your family so they don’t get overwhelmed by the clash of culture and the difference in lifestyle and want to go back on their old life. Try to understand it will be difficult to adapt and make new friends from scratch, for you and your children as well and even more difficult to part from the loved ones they will leave behind and the life they’ve already created for themselves.

Homesickness

In the beginning you will encounter major difficulties with homesickness, yourself as well as your child. It is normal to miss the old environment, grandparents, friends and other loved ones. Sometimes loneliness might overwhelm you and your partner, and all this new surrounding might appear hostile. You will catch yourself starting fights with no reason just to have an excuse to cry and let all the frustration out. Time, they say heals the wounds, and also time is needed to adapt to and embrace changes. In between studying, working and taking care of your family sometimes you won’t even find the time to reminisce over the life back in your country.  Maybe that is a great getaway from emotional disturbances.

The language barrier

Language might also pose quite a problem into adapting with the foreign environment. As the only civilized means of communication, speaking the language of the country you will be living in is not just a benefit; it’s a necessity. In order not to be ignored repeatedly and avoid confusion in your everyday routine, in order not to be a prey of any inside jokes and most importantly be able to study in the public domain you have to be fluent in the designated nations language. Wherever you will go to study abroad, when speaking the peoples language will be considered respectful and flattering and their attitude towards you as an expat will be automatically softer and more mellow.

This article has been written by: Nicole Schmidt from studieren-mit-kind.org

3 comments

  1. Lola

    Studying abroad with a child is absolutely challenging. We need extra money and extra energy to do that. But you are right, we don’t need to give. the solution you have presented is very helpful. thanks anyway…

  2. yiga richard

    yes you are right but every one is looking for that opportunity and i believe if one fits in it he or she will have to work hard to maintain his or her family

  3. Sandra Azar

    Love this blog! Having a kid when studying abroad is very difficult and required hard working and enduring mom or dad. I have a job now but having a kid still driving me nuts. My 2 years old son keep crying at bed time and causing me a lot of stress as a single mother but you know every parents love their children at the first sight right 🙂 I wish for your family the best!

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