Talking to Parents about Going Abroad

Talking to Parents about Going Abroad


4 Suggestions on how to open a dialogue with your parents so you are prepared.


Going abroad is not only fun and exciting, it’s also filled with so much opportunity to grow personally and professionally. Your international experience transforms you into a storyteller verses a series of bullet points on your resume! This experience comes in handy next time you are interviewed to join an college organization, club, job interview, networking events and even next time you are home for the holidays talking to friends and family. So, you're interested in participating in one of the PINC programs and want to figure out the best way to approach your parents and open up a dialogue about going abroad.

Remember parents have 2 concerns. Will you be safety? Is this experience worth it?

Follow these tips and your parents will be left with all the information they need to make an informed decision.

  • Do Your Research.

Any company that brings students abroad will be able to address the concern of safety and investment. (PINC response to this is listed below!). Also, read reviews about the program on reputable 3rd party websites. In this case, visit and see what other PINC students have said. PINC currently has a 5/5 star rating (dust off shoulder). Remember to ask as many questions as you would like. The organization should be responding in a timely manner and with generous information - it's their job to be there to support you from start to finish. Ask for an “alum chum” if you want to hear directly from a past participant.

  • Don’t Tell Them About the Opportunity. Present the Idea!

I think by now we all know that just telling your parents what you want to do is NEVER the way to go about things. Make time to chat with them when you won't be interrupted and start with “I came across an opportunity to go abroad and build my resume and study Spanish. I would like to talk to you about this. When is good?” from there you can go into various point about the program: general outline of what you’ll be doing on the program, dates, cost and deadlines.

  • Have Purposeful Reasons For Wanting to Go Abroad.

Doing it because it’s cool isn’t enough for your parents. You have to show them how it's valuable now and how it will only continue to be valuable over a long period of time. Explain how “it won't interfere with your semester, other responsibilities, how the timing is perfect because …” Followed long-term benefits it will have on your in your college studies, career and future opportunities. (Please read more below how this investment now will continually give back to you in the future.)

  • Listen. Be Mature. Stand Your Ground.

Be respectful of your parents concerns and listen to them. You’ve done your research and you know that this is the program for you but you do need to show them you are mature and not have a temper tantrum when the conversation isn't going your way. This will only further their argument that you're not ready for such an experience. Don’t let the conversation take a wrong turn to fighting. This will help no one! Your program coordinator should also mention that they will always make time to talk to your parents if needed. Lisette, founder, has skyped, met in person and talked on the phone with parents - morning, noon, night, weekdays, weekends, holiday (ok you get the point). Lisette is the first to say in a loving manner “No one is crazier than my mother, so I’ll gladly personally address all questions and concerns your parents have. I talk to parents often and totally empathize with their concerns. I come from a big family and it’s filled with girls so I know all the questions parents will have about their daughter abroad. I personally lived their for five years on my own as a young adult and can give a true and honest testament about the city their daughter will be living in. ”



PINC has implemented systems in place that ensure students are in the know before and during their time in spain. Prior to the departure, PINC organizes an online orientation where participants and director go over all the most important pre-departure details. During this orientation not only do we talk about what to pack, money, and basic bits and bobs but we also talk about how students should enlist in what is called the STEP program. Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  Enrolling gives U.S. Citizens access to updated information on travel and security within Spain and makes it easier for the Embassy to contact citizens in case of emergency.

Upon arrival, you will have a PINC coordinator to pick you up at the airport to welcome to you to Madrid. Since you won't have your service on your phone yet, we take a picture with students who have landed and text it right over to their parents so they know their daughter has landed safely. From there the coordinator and student head directly to the apartment.  

With regards to housing, we place students in a very centrally located residence that is located on a pedestrian street. This location ensures that it is bustling with people constantly patrolled by police and as well live in centrally located in the city square. Students are in a building with the main door followed by a residence with a residence door and their personal rooms also have a lock and key.

Also at arrival, there is a group orientation and we also go through how to keep yourself alert and aware of your surroundings to be sure you don't put yourself in any compromising positions. To be honest, Madrid's is really a safe city. It’s most prominent criminal activity is pickpocketing. It's not known to be a violent city but we do emphasize the importance of being alert keeping your bags secure, zipped, in front of you and to always be aware of your surroundings. We also remind students that all items are replaceable and their well being comes before any cell phone or wallet.

With that said, PINC also has contacts in the US Embassy. It's also important to note that the United States Embassy in Spain is actually located in the Madrid capital only minutes away by taxi from the residence of students. In addition to arrival, students will be receiving a phone chip that will allow them to place calls and have a data plan. We also program the numbers of: the director, the program coordinator, an english speaking doctor, and the United States Embassy into the student’s phone.

Finally, there is a director and coordinator in Madrid with the students throughout their entire experience. Their job is to be available 24/7 to the students.


Structure. It's an important reminder to parents that you will be in the program that is structured. We understand that you also want some independent time to explore and take in Madrid and time will be allotted for that.

Globalization. PINC ensures your horizons will be broadened, your language capabilities improved, and you interpersonal and intercultural skills sharpened. You will gain a whole new outlook as well as a unique perspective of the world and of yourself.

Resume. You will be building your hard and soft skills, through workshops, mentorships a day of shadowing, and networking events that are planned and organized specifically for you. These will make your resume stand out against the rest. Students are left fully prepared to talk about their experience at events such as: career fairs, for interviews, and just overall the importance of their experience and how to take back the most to benefit their college and career.

Opportunities. Companies are placing more value on international experience today than they ever have before. Today’s world is a completely global one and given the widely accepted impact of globalization and in light of the new skills in demand by businesses, nonprofits, and government, it’s to your advantage to consider the career implications of what may be a once-in-a-lifetime international experience. Going abroad will provide a singular opportunity for you to set yourself apart from other job seekers and to build valuable new intercultural skills and competencies.

Spanish. By the end of the experience you'll be able to put on your level of Spanish on your resume. You will be attending La Aventura Española, for Spanish classes and this academy is accredited by the Instituto Cervantes, which is the highest form of accreditation any language school can receive in Spain. Not only Spanish classes, but you’ll be improving your Spanish with every activity planned, trip, and countless hours of students to engage on a daily bases in Spanish; from taking the metro, eating out, going to the supermarket, shopping and more.

Alumna. We continuously stay in touch with students who have finished the program and make them aware of opportunities that arise that might be of interest to them. We are building our alumna services so that students can be in touch and network with past, current and future students.

Confidence. While you may not have a clear career direction at the time you decide to go abroad, research shows that the experience is viewed as very important years later in shaping career mobility and influencing the choice of graduate study or work abroad. So let us here at PINC be your stepping stone this to life changing experience and help you discover more about yourself on the international scale.

Let’s Build Your Resume & Make Memories in Madrid!

Lisette Miranda

Written by Lisette Miranda

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