Students take challenges along when they spend a semester abroad and need to be prepared to take care of themselves in a new setting and a new language.
As our children grow up, we learn the shifting mix of emotions that accompanies sending them off on their own — to camp, to college, on a variety of adventures. Study abroad for American college students has become more common — it’s about one in 10 college students now — and common in Europe as well, where the European Union operates the Erasmus program, which gives many students the chance to study in other countries.
I’ve had the great good fortune over the past year to interact with American college students studying in Berlin, Florence, Shanghai and Paris, and as a group they are deeply conscious of the privilege and very determined to make it count. I’m writing this, in part, to students who may be going abroad soon, offering a few before-you-go thoughts, but also to their parents, to say, trust them, believe in them — and help them think things through before they go.
I spoke with European clinical psychologists and wellness counselors who work with American students studying abroad, and one started by commenting on the American students’ sense of focus and awareness of their goals in life, which she found generally stronger and more consistent than among people their age in Europe.
At the same time, she said, that can backfire in terms of feeling under pressure. “I see many students under immense pressure,” she said. “People get anxious about a B-plus, not just uncomfortable, but anxious.” Some students, she said, seem to feel, “either I am the best, or I am nothing.”
For the full article click here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/16/well/family/advice-for-college-students-studying-abroad-and-their-parents.html
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