Students with partners and children are taking advantage of study abroad opportunities. If it is your dream to go abroad, then don’t let anything get in your way. But, how would you deal with Study Abroad and Family issue? More nontraditional students are going back to college, and more study abroad programs are taking spouses and children into consideration. Your study abroad office can help you make arrangements for your family (housing, daycare, and/or school).
One of the biggest excuses I hear from people is they can’t study abroad because they are tied down to responsibilities at home. This is really not fair to you or your family. Children and spouses can benefit from your studying abroad just as much as you can, and it’s good for them, too. Putting a little variety into your lives can only enrich your family in the long run. While it takes preparation to make special arrangements, there are many rewards for both you and your family.
There are also short-term opportunities that would allow you to study abroad while someone else cares for your family at home. You can study abroad for one week over spring break or for a few weeks during the summer. Winter break study abroad programs are also growing in popularity. If you’re a teacher or tied down to a job then go when your students are on vacation or take annual leave for a few weeks, to have the experience of your lifetime. Whatever you decide to do, don’t let interesting study abroad opportunities slip away.
I know a single Mexican-American mom who took her eight-year old daughter when she studied abroad in Mexico. Both had a wonderful and unforgettable experience returning to their motherland and learning about their ancestral heritage. They particularly enjoyed living with a host family that took care of their everyday chores like cooking and laundry. While mom was taking classes at the university, her daughter was going to school at an American-style elementary school.
If you are interested, then inquire and discover. There are two websites that you may find helpful in this process. The Office of Overseas Schools provides a nice directory of elementary and secondary schools for dependents of American citizens, and Transitions Abroad: Family Travel provides links to a plethora of resources for families, including books, articles, exchanges, rentals, homestays, hostels, etc.