What if they get sick? (Not eating properly or indulging on unhealthy food, not sleeping enough, going around dirty, skipping lessons) …
Latvia is located in the temperate climate zone and therefore has four pronounced seasons. Travellers visiting Latvia can enjoy a real winter with sub-zero temperatures and snow, spring floods, warm summers, and colourful autumns. Therefore please make sure to pack warmer clothes.
Teach essentials in self-care and stay in touch to remind or to consult them when they catch a cold (no one is protected against that). Purchase health insurance. If your child takes medication, make sure they have enough for their entire time abroad, along with a copy of their prescription.
Of course, nothing beats сырники and пельмени in Ukraine, plov and samsa in Uzbekistan, Chicken tikka masala in India, but food wise Latvian cuisine is very satisfying and your child(ren) will not go hungry.
Should they wish to bring a taste of their home with them, pack some of their favorite spices. They will come in handy during one of our Food Across Cultures cook-out events. Cooking is not a problem, as university kitchens are available. Shared cooking can be fun and much cheaper. Meals from 3 euros are available at local cafes if your student doesn’t feel like cooking.
The university offers students, free of charge, sports activities and the city itself is great for bike rides, long walks and other outdoor activities.
There is a laundry room on university premises and laundromats in the city.
VUAS is like one big home, one big family – teachers know all their students and can help students keep track of their commitments. If necessary, the university’s International office provides “wake-up calls” (for extra charge. Joke!) Remember, whatever the weather, we are readily available to help them find professional help if needed.
Use free communication tools (life-savers) like WhatsApp, Facebook (join thousands of parents embarrassing their kids on Facebook everyday), Messenger, Skype, Telegram. If you are ignored by them, give the university a call. We will make sure to put your worried heart at ease and hunt them down for you.
At the end of the day, trust them and let them go (otherwise there is no point even to consider leaving home sweet home)!
Still afraid or not sure? Start small:
Even though children learn very quickly and adapt to new environments fairly fast, a trial shorter trip abroad could help get them a taste of what it means to be abroad. If possible, go on a trip abroad as a family, enrol your child(ren) in a summer school, look for summer internship opportunities abroad. If you are still not wanting to let them go for two or more years abroad, consider letting them take a semester abroad as an exchange student from their home university.
Some final remarks
Parting ways with your child is hard and it is okay to miss them! There is no other way around it, but remember that letting go and trusting is a part of the process of watching them grow up (we all have been there and survived till today).
Surrender control. Don’t be a helicopter parent. Accept the fact your child is becoming a young adult. Talk to your children and be their biggest fan. At one point you will need to let your child leave the nest.
Early exposure to real life helps them grow up stronger and wiser. When they return, they’ll have many memories and lessons from this amazing life experience. We admire and respect all the parents who have already entrusted their children to us or are considering a possibility of letting their child(ren) study abroad.
Once they reach us, they will continue being in good hands. It’s time to kiss and fly! Not yet enrolled at Ventspils University of Applied Sciences?
Remember to take along this checklist to keep track of all the essentials before embarking on the journey of a lifetime.
About the author:
For exactly half of her life, Rasa Zalite has been fortunate enough to have visited 6,67% of the world, living for longer periods in the USA, Bolivia, France, Spain and Austria. Since 2015, she has been working in the Ventspils University of Applied Sciences International Office doing everything from A to Z regarding student admission and supporting students during their studies.