You encounter new and diverse experiences that are not always comfortable and it forces you to take responsibility for yourself and grow into your own being.
You want to go traveling to Europe or spend a summer abroad in Asia.
But your parents say no. They think it is unsafe. It is a waste of time and money.
It takes away your focus from what is important in life like your education and career.
However you and I know, traveling is actually one of the best ways to learn and grow.
Even research has shown that students who have taken a year off to work, travel and explore other interests are now being recognized by universities like Harvard and employers as valuable in helping students be more successful in their lives, studies and careers.
So what can you do to get your parents to allow for this to happen?
1) Do your homework and share your plan
You need to have a plan so that they see you have really thought this through.
What is your goal or what do you want to experience and accomplish when you are abroad? How will this help contribute to your life and your career ambitions? Why is this important to you?
Where do you want to go? How long are you going to go for? What are the safety measures you are going to take? How much have you saved? How much do you think it is going to cost? What is your budget? Where are you going to get the money to support you?
All these questions are important for you to answer and demonstrate you have done your research and know what you are doing. Try and tie it back to how it can help with your career goal and how it can give you a competitive edge in the future. Show them how you are going to be financially responsible and pay for the trip and support yourself.
And ask them what other concerns do they have? What are their reservations? And what can you do to help them say yes so that you can research, follow up and address it with them.
2) Back up your research on the benefits of traveling and working abroad
Help them see the experience of traveling contributes to building your resume and your life skills. Use the information I provided to you in the introduction to share with them time has changed.
Nowadays employers and schools value individuals who know how to work with diverse people, can speak more than one language and are able to think outside the box. Find more examples on Google that further backs this up.
3) Share examples of other family friend’s children who have traveled on their own
Our parents often like to compare us with their family friend’s children and use them as examples saying we should be more like them. You know how they always say, ‘Did you hear about so and so…’ Why not do the same to them? Did you hear so and so just got back from Europe and because of his/her experience got a job working for xyz or got into the xyz university?
So who do you know have been able to convince their parents to let them go travel on their own and came back more successful. Better yet, call them up and find out how they convinced their parents? And what may have been the biggest reservations their parents had to let them go off on their own.
Even if you don’t know of anyone, ask around. Expand your network and find someone who have gone through the challenge you are facing and get some advice from them.
4) Reassure them you will stay in touch
One of the biggest things our parents worry about is our safety. They worry they are not able to protect you and care for you when you are so far away.
The reality is bad things can happen just as easily if you were to stay at home. Also, they won’t be around forever to protect you. Nothing lasts forever in life. And what happens around us is out of our control.
The only thing we have control over is how we choose to prepare and respond to what goes on in our lives as best as we can. So give them as much information as you can about where you will be staying, where you are going to be. And work with them to agree on how often will you check in and stay in touch with them by skype, phone or email.
After all, the only way you can learn how to manage ‘life’ on your own and thrive is if they give you the opportunity to spread your wings and face new experiences in life by yourself.
5. Be patient and don’t give up on your dreams
Know that there is always a way. Be patient, gentle and persistent. Be willing to compromise if you must.
So maybe instead of traveling on your own, you agree to join a group or a youth exchange program organized by the government. Check out Go Overseas to find reliable information about various programs abroad.
Ultimately the decision lies within you. It is your life. Don’t waste it on living out someone else’s.