My Parents’ 4 Fears About Studying Down Under
“You want to study abroad? In Australia? But that’s so far away!” That was the reaction I received (followed by an awkward silence) when I first told my parents that I wanted to study abroad in Melbourne, Australia. At first, this response perplexed me. I couldn’t fathom why they weren’t immediately as elated as I was over the thought of me attending a school halfway around the globe. Once my initial thrill wore off, however, I understood their delayed elation. From their perspective, there was a lot to worry about. Planning and preparing to go abroad—especially for an extended period of time—is nerve-racking, even if you’ve traveled overseas previously. On top of that, neither of my parents studied abroad in school, so they had no idea what to expect for me. I suppose it’s probably pretty hard to relax when you’re sending your only child 10,000 miles away to a country that no one in your family has ever visited. Now that I’ve officially been living in Australia for a month, I can confirm that most of the fears my family had prior to my departure did not come to pass. My family had the following four concerns about me studying abroad, but with the IFSA-Butler program, among other things, they didn’t need to fret!
1. “With the 14-hour time difference, how will we ever get to talk?”This was a big concern for my parents since we talk on the phone nearly every day, even when I’m only two hours away at school in Philadelphia. Although it’s tricky to find times in the day that are suitable for both my parents and me, it’s not impossible. If you’re an early bird, 7 AM in Melbourne is 5 PM back home. For those who’d prefer to make calls in the evening, 10 PM here is 8 AM in the States. Once you establish a time that works for everyone, you can schedule calls in advance to ensure that everyone has ample time to talk.
Now that I’ve officially been living in Australia for a month, I can confirm that most of the things my family worried about prior to my departure did not come to pass.International calls can be costly, but there are easy ways to avoid paying that pesky twenty cents-per-minute. Skype is the obvious first choice for many, along with popular smartphone apps like Viber and WhatsApp. My parents and I prefer to use Facebook Messenger, which lets you call or video chat with other Facebook users directly from your phone or computer.