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Four Tips for Convincing Your Parents Studying Abroad Wasn’t a Waste of Money
So your parents agreed to fork over the big bucks and send you overseas for the semester of a lifetime. How sweet of them! In return, we think it’s only right that you should do your best to keep them in the dark about what a useless waste of tuition you are. We’re not saying there’s a limit to your parents’ love, but it’s probably best not to test the theory.
It’s all about the spin
If you learn to phrase it right, you can pass pretty much anything off as a learning experience. What’s that? You spend your weekends dripping sweat in the clubs until six in the morning? No, you’ve been taking dance lessons from the locals. Stumbled home drunk? No, you were just marveling at the nighttime skyline. You didn’t skip a week of classes for that music festival, you took a field trip to experience local musicians. The trick is knowing your audience, so you don’t accidentally say “I went to spring break in Ibiza” when you should have said “I spent my mid-semester holiday on the Balearic Islands.” Just be sure to hit up Wikipedia to prepare yourself for a follow-up question, because…
A little research goes a long way
So you’ve mastered the art of the spin. You managed to tell the truth (more or less) without sending Mum into a panic, but she loves you and she’s going to want to hear more. This is where it comes in handy to have a couple factoids in your back pocket. Just a quick google can mean the difference between “this awesome week-long party in San Sebastian” and “Semana Grande, or Aste Nagusia as the locals call it, is a celebration of Basque culture and tradition.” The smarter you sound, the less likely the fam is to ask too many questions. Bonus points if you can find a museum or a UNESCO site nearby.
Watch what you post
Even with careful phrasing and a healthy dose of fun-facts, you can still blow your cover with a single misguided photo tag. As much as you wish it weren’t true, nobody in this whole goddamn world follows your social media as carefully as family. Maybe it’s just because Grandma Ruth only has 13 friends on Facebook, but trust us when we say that she will see everything you post. So put down your drink for 30 seconds before you snap one for the ‘Gram. Better yet, consider keeping risqué photos (semi) private with a shared album. We know, we know, pics or it didn’t happen, but sometimes “didn’t happen” is the best strategy.
For heck’s sake, pass your classes
Whatever shenanigans you get into, there’s nothing (ok, almost nothing) that’ll piss the parentals off like failing your classes. From their perspective, this is the whole reason you’re there. We know better than to think you care about your courses, but there’s also no excuse to fail. Study abroad schools don’t want to fail their students. Getting a reputation as a tough school is not good for study abroad business. That being said, schools will expect a bare minimum of effort from you, and won’t hesitate to drop your ass like an iPhone on the cobblestones if you don’t give it to them. So don’t be that guy. Do the occasional bit of homework, and you can go home to proud, happy parents.
Here are some more trips you could conveniently fail to mention on your next Skype chat with the fam.