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Should I send my children abroad for studies?

Some parents are extremely enthusiastic about sending their children abroad for studies. In fact, it may have become a family culture in some families. Everyone goes abroad for studies. They don’t have any doubts about that.

But there are many families in which this issue torments them. Obviously, children can be sent abroad for studies either for graduation or post-graduation. Very few parents think of sending them abroad after the tenth class.

What if my children don’t want to come back?

This is a risk the parents have to be prepared for. Often people who go abroad generally settle down there. They don’t just go to study there but want to find work there and in the long run, settle in the country of their choice. Very few people finish studies and come back to India to work. This is something parents have to be prepared for when they send children abroad for studies. This doubt is sharper in parents who have a single child. What if the single child does not want to come back? As the parents grow older either they have to be ready to go abroad and stay with their children or reconcile to the idea that they will not have children with them in their old age. There is hardly any middle ground here.

What if my child absorbs the values of the other culture and changes?

Parents don’t mind small cultural changes (dresses, minor food preferences etc), it is the major changes that worry them. In conservative families, they would think of children getting into ‘bad’ habits like smoking, drinking etc. There is absolutely no guarantee that our children will not get into these habits if they stay in India. Then we would not find any youngster indulging in them at all. Parents can educate children up to age about harmful habits but they can never prevent them from happening irrespective of where the children are. Eventually, the individual has to take responsibility.

What if my child gets into a relationship with a foreigner? What will I tell my relatives?

Parents are often less concerned about this issue when they send their sons abroad. This issue raises its head when it is the daughter’s turn to go abroad. That chance that your children will get into a relationship when they are abroad is always there. You cannot pray that it is some “Indian” settled abroad. It could be a foreigner. You cannot also hope that it is a caucasian. (Now I can sense the dread). These are issues beyond anyone’s control. When and if this happens you will have to deal with it. What will I tell my relatives? Well, you tell them you have an Imported bahu or damad.

Isn’t education in India good enough? Do we need to send them abroad at all?

At last the most relevant and useful question. Since you will be sending your children abroad for Post Graduation, there are excellent colleges and universities in India for the same. For the STEM stream, we have outstanding institutes at PG Level (IITs, IISERs, IISc, and many more). For Management studies, we have IIMs, JIPMER and a host of them. So if it is the question of getting a quality education at PG level we have them here and at a much cheaper cost. Studying abroad costs around 15 lakhs per year of study. Even in the STEM stream, it is worth going abroad if one is inclined towards Research as our Institutes barring a few are not Research-oriented. Specialized courses which are not available in India are of course the exception.

Sending children abroad is of course an individual family's decision. But it is good to be aware of the issues that crop up in our minds, know the risks involved and then make a decision. Whichever way you roll, things will be okay and many things will not matter in the long run. An Indian or Caucasian or an Afro-American grandchild will all look equally cute when you cuddle them in your arms.

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