Your child wants to study abroad. Here's how to plan

Your child wants to study abroad. Here's how to plan

Gracie Riesgo's 19-year-old son, Alex, is in his second year of university, but he's not coming home to do his laundry anytime soon. He's studying in Madrid, nearly 6,000 miles - and a trans-Atlantic flight - away from his parents in California in the US.

"He has a traveller's soul and is always looking for an opportunity to travel," Riesgo said of her son's desire to study in Spain. "We had initially said no. We thought that as a freshman, it would be too hard for him. He had never lived on his own before. But it has been a good experience for everyone all around. My son has really matured."

Globally, almost 4.3 million students are pursuing university-level education in a country other than their own, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The countries with the largest percentage of international students include Australia, the UK, Switzerland, New Zealand and Austria, in descending order, and more than half of foreign students are Asian.

"Every student who wants to succeed in the global economy should study abroad," said Daniel Obst, deputy vice president of International Partnerships in Higher Education for the Institute of International Education (IIE) in the US. "Employers are looking for graduates who can work on multinational teams, who speak different languages, who can work easily across time zones, and who have the flexibility and adaptability you learn from going abroad."

If your university-bound child is considering spending some time studying in another country - or getting an entire degree there - here's what you should know.

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