Study Abroad: The Parents' Perspective

May 16, 2016 1:30:00 PM / by Stephanie Sadler

A Joint Interview with Debbie and Ed Taylor - Parents of a Study Abroad Student

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Meet Mr. and Mrs. Taylor, the parents of our Official CAPA Blogger in Dublin during Spring semester 2016, Nicole Taylor! They've been incredibly supportive of Nicole as she made her decision to study abroad and even traveled to Ireland to visit her for St. Patrick's Day. Below, they share the thoughts they had initially when the topic of study abroad came up, the changes they've seen in Nicole - how this experience will benefit her in the future, and advice to other parents whose children are interested in studying abroad. 

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CAPA WORLD: Tell us a bit about yourselves.
DEBBIE AND ED TAYLOR: My name is Debbie, also known as "Muma Taylor." I was a stay at home mom for 14 years then jumped into the world of worker's comp insurance. My husband's name is Ed and he works for a lumber company supplying building materials. Ed is also a high school girls' soccer coach and has made an impact on so many lives! He was very fortunately to be able to coach both of our girls at many levels. 

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CW: As parents, what were some of the initial thoughts you had when your daughter Nicole first mentioned studying abroad in Dublin?
D&ET: Some of our initial thoughts were pure excitement - and yikes, the cost! - but mostly excitement. I did think about the distance and length of stay, but would never put that in Nicole's head as a negative thought. It's not about us; it's about the experience. 

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CW: How much has travel abroad been a part of your own life in the past? Do you feel like your own personal experience with travel played a role in how you reacted to Nicole's desire to study abroad?
D&ET: We never had the opportunity to study abroad, but we have always traveled with the girls as they were growing up. I think it has helped Nicole to see many different ways that people live, culture, etc. Nicole has always had that adventurous side to her, so I believe all of our travels definitely helped in her decision-making to study abroad. 

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CW: You went to visit Nicole in Ireland for St. Patrick's Day! How exciting! Tell us a bit about your time there and how it helped you understand on a different level what she had been experiencing.
D&ET: Being in Ireland for St. Patrick's Day was the most amazing experience! I was overwhelmed with the sea of people in one area. I was amazed to see how well Nicole did to navigate her way around a totally foreign country. I can only imagine her thoughts on such a big transition. She met us at the airport on our arrival (surprise!) and thank God she did! She took charge and got us through Dublin and to our hotel... (Thanks Coly!) I'm not sure I could have embraced the many changes that she has had to go through!

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CW: What were your first impressions of Dublin? What surprised you most while you were there? What was your favorite experience?
D&ET: Our first impression of Dublin was "wow" in the fact that there were so many people, cyclists galore, the hundreds of buses as they maneuver through the streets like nothing and, of course, the doors! As we got out of Dublin to explore the many sights of this beautiful island, I was in awe! The untouched, beautiful scenery was breathtaking and totally what I had pictured in my mind. I don't think we had a favorite experience (except for seeing Nicole) because the whole trip was an amazing experience! 

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CW: What changes have you noticed in Nicole since she left for Ireland a few months ago?
D&ET: Changes in Nicole? Hmmm... Nicole has always been very independent. I have noticed that instead of asking for help of any kind, she has been figuring it all out on her own. If anything, she has become even more independent. Before she left, she had a lot of different emotions, which is totally understandable, but she was so ready and had been for several years since she made her decision to study abroad. I think it's all positive changes because I believe that there is something to be learned from every situation - good or bad. It's just how you choose to deal with each situation. 

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CW: Do you think her international experience, and internship specifically, will benefit Nicole professionally? 
D&ET: I do believe her international experience and internship will benefit Nicole tremendously. Being on the older end of college, I believe she was a huge role model for her roommates and peers around her. She has learned more about multi-tasking, problem solving, setting higher standards for herself and, in general, bettering herself as a person. Her internship was an amazing experience for her and I know she lent credible information. Olytico will miss her as she will miss them. What a great piece to add to her resume!

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CW: What advice would you offer other parents whose children hope to study abroad during college? 
D&ET: Any advice I could give to parents would be to just support them all the way and make sure they have all the information needed to make that big decision to study abroad. Don't be afraid to ask as many questions as you need until you feel comfortable. Enjoy their process and watch them spread their wings and fly! It's so special to see them grow. 

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CW: What are some of the challenges you’ve dealt with as parents from the moment Nicole brought up the topic of study abroad through the time she’s been in Ireland?
D&ET: We didn't really have any challenges leading up to it from when she made her decision because she was so prepared. The only real issue we had was her debit card. Be sure the country they are traveling to will accept their debit card at all establishments. Nicole's could only be used at ATMs which incurred more fees than expected. Even her debit card with the chip was not accepted. So if that's the only issue... yay! And we worked through it.

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CW: Why is studying abroad important?
D&ET: I think studying abroad is important because your child will get such great knowledge of other cultures, experience working, learning to cope with any and all problems and appreciate your own country when returning home! This experience couldn't have been more rewarding for Nicole and her family. Thank you CAPA for giving Nicole the opportunity of a lifetime! I believe Nicole is going to accomplish big things in the "real world." We are more than proud of her and I can only hope that everyone who studies abroad has as an amazing experience as Nicole. Remember, as we always told our girls, there are NO re-dos in life so take chances and reach for the stars!

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Thanks Debbie & Ed!

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Topics: Interviews, Parents