A few months ago, I decided I wanted to study abroad next school year and I brought it up to my parents, and they made me think they would say yes after they thought about it for a bit. So I did all the legwork and filled out the application, and then the night we were going to call our contact in the organization so my parents could ask their questions, they said no. They knew how much it mattered to me. I told them everything about the benefits, what little harm could come from it, and they just kept saying THEY weren’t comfortable with it, but that I could do a summer program. Now they say I can’t do it this summer but I have to wait until next summer. Anyone have an opinion on this?
I feel like my parents would do the exact same thing… you can’t really do anything about it unless you just go ahead and do it and face the dissapointment of your parents. They’re your parents, so maybe you know ways to try to convince them? I know my parents are the kind of people that if they say no its no, they don’t really give a shit about what I want haha
@chekovchameleon, I’m 17 and part of the reason they didn’t let me go is because my mom said, “It’s our job to raise you, and when you turn 18 that job will be over.” So basically they’re forcing me to stay until they can’t make me stay anymore. Also they made it sound like they think they’ve done a bad job raising me but if they had, I think I’d be content where I am, mot want to learn anything about the world. Most of their excuses were just that, excuses. I don’t think they ever told me the real reason I can’t go.
@14sartu, sorry, that is dissapointing i’m sure. on the other hand you are still very young, and probably have many years ahead of you to see the world. many universities offer study-abroad programs as well you know. i doubt it will kill you to stay with the folks a while longer.
@kahlib, Oh it won’t kill me and I do plan to study abroad in college, but I just don’t see what’s so bad about doing it now. I’d have a perspective no one else I know has. I’ve been increasingly determined to this. Travelling is now more of an obligation than a whim. I don’t know why but it feels like something I HAVE to do. Maybe it’s an overreaction (probably is) but I just feel like I’m losing time staying here memorizing words from a book when I could be immersed in a different culture learning about life and people.
@kahlib i think because you are young is the reason why you don’t see whats wrong with it… if you look at it from your parents perspective, they are worried about their 17 year old child being alone in another country probably for the first time and they can’t even get to you for an entire year. you WILL get these opportunities in the future, and i know you feel like your parents are holding you back but its only going to be for a little while. i know it really sucks! :( but they’re just worrying about you, they’re not trying to hold you back.
It SUCKS when parents go against their word and get their hopes up. However, I am assuming they will be paying for your trip. I may be wrong. But if so, they do have the right to say yes or no. I think you would probably enjoy a trip more when you’re older anyway. I know it may seem like you have to do this NOW, but maybe it’s not time yet.
As far as convincing your parents eventually, a lot of parents are concerned about safety. I’m 21 and planning on going to Bulgaria and India next year, and am going to Jordan over the summer. They’re pretty concerned for my safety. One of the countries that I considered is Mexico. There is actually a warning against American citizens travelling there right now, It’s probably unsafe, because of all the drug trafficking going on down there, right? Actually, the homicide rate there is lower than the homicide rate in Saint Louis, right by where I grew up. I actually grew up about 15 minutes from East Saint Louis, the most unsafe part. But I feel really safe at home. Travelling isn’t as dangerous as a lot of people think it is. Even some of the parts of the world that are considered really unsafe aren’t as bad as we depict them. Just don’t go wandering around at night or anything. As long as you take the same precautions there as you do here and are aware of what is and isn’t safe there, you will probably be fine. But maybe safety isn’t their concern and they just don’t think you’re ready which is understandable.
@emmaclaire, Yeah you’re right. It’s just they saw how hard I worked for it and I was going to pay for it. It just really gets me that I was logical, and rational, and informed and committed, and it seems like they deliberately blinded themselves to that so they could justify to themselves saying no to me when I have quite honestly never cared about doing something so much in my life. And I worked to prove to them that I can stick with something. Also, I’m paying for my own flight lessons and they don’t think I’m responsible or mature?! I just feel cheated.
I’m studying abroad right now, and I am 22. I think if I had gone when I was younger I wouldn’t have been able to experience it the way that I am. That’s just me though :)
PS- Make sure you do it, if not now, in college. My life’s changing as we speak!
“Travelling is now more of an obligation than a whim. I don’t know why but it feels like something I HAVE to do. Maybe it’s an overreaction (probably is) but I just feel like I’m losing time staying here memorizing words from a book when I could be immersed in a different culture learning about life and people.” <- This is awesome, I'm glad you are globally minded. I did a month long volunteer position as a photographer for a non-profit in Peru, last year. My parents didn't trip, but mine wasn't for a year either. I was 17 then.
@harrisongphoto, Have you ever heard that children can learn to speak new languages more quickly and more easily than adults? It’s because their synapses are still open and shooting out signals and taking signals back in when adults’ are shutting down, slowing down. It’s the same concept with travel. I think I should start now when I’m as open as I can be. I don’t understand why nobody else seems to think it’s as important as I do. And thanks :)
I think they kept dragging out their answer because they didn’t want to disappoint you. I don’t think they had any intention of saying yes at all, they just wanted to avoid upsetting you. (I know it’s irrational but a lot of people do it). As a minor, it is totally their choice, so you’ll just have to deal with it. For the harsh truth, they probably did this to avoid the back lash (which is pretty terrible in teenagers), so my advice would be to get over it as quickly as possible and surprise your parents with your maturity by not holding it against them and enjoying yourself until you reach 18 and can do whatever you want.
@mariaantonia, I hate that you’re right. And I knew it too, and I understand they were afraid for me but I wasn’t. There was a sense of betrayal there that I’d never felt in connection with them before. But I got over it mostly, obviously not totally but I don’t bring it up anymore. And yes, my fury was awesome and terrible. Jeez I was like a wounded lion. Not my proudest moment. Thanks so much for the feedback this is why I love this site!
@14sartu, That really sucks. When I lived with my parents I didn’t get along with them at all and I felt really grown up and like they were limiting me. Like BAD. When I was your age I wanted to move out. Looking back the things that bothered me were trivial, because now I realize that they’re not monsters who like to torture me, they are sincerely concerned about my safety and ability to handle some situations. Looking back, still, I think there are some things they probably should have let me do, but there were also some things they were right about. When you’re being logical, the “no means no” argument gets really old, I know. You may be exceptionally mature, and it sounds like you are since you are wanting to pay for it and all, but I think anyone would have doubts about letting a 17 year old roam free abroad. I know what it’s like to not connect with people my age, I have been struggling with that for my whole life and actually even at the age I’m at now, I feel like I would fit in better in other cultures. You may still feel that way one or ten years from now, but really, what is one more year to wait? If it’s really something you love it is worth the wait. You can even save up more money so maybe you can visit more places and have more experiences. If you still think you can change their mind without it turning into a fiasco, maybe you should try. But if you can’t change it, then forget about it. Dwelling on it is NOT good. It only makes YOU miserable. Trust me, carrying contempt and regret around does not hurt anyone but yourself. Easier said then done, but just try to make the best out of it and use the time you have to make the eventual experience more meaningful!
I spent a year studying/volunteering abroad between high school and university at age 18. I am very lucky to have parents that are as travel-crazy as I am. It was an amazing experience and I don’t regret it one bit! However, I am beginning to realize that as amazing as it was, I would probably appreciate it more if I was older and had more skills to really contribute (in the case of the volunteer work).
In your post-highschool experience you will discover passions that you don’t know about right now. If you take time to discover what you are passionate about before going on an amazing adventure, it can help you get exactly what you want out of it. Go work or get some more education first, then go for it! Where do you want to go? Does it require learning a language or knowledge in a particular subject area? Are there any skills you can improve that will benefit you while abroad? If so then start learning now, or take some courses in college if you plan on going. Make sure you research every possible option as well. Talk to people who have done the program.
Besides, I had a friend who did a high school exchange to Spain, and honestly she did not have the best experience ever. If you are doing something arranged for high schoolers, you will probably find better networks/resources for these types of programs if you are in university or college.
It will be worth the wait, I promise! :)