A parent’s guide to sending money abroad and supporting children overseas

Global Citizen By David Cullinan December 19, 2019

This article was created in partnership with Western Union.

Studying abroad can be an enriching and life-changing experience for many children and young adults, introducing them to different people, cultures and languages. According to a 2017 report by the British Council, 18% of students in the U.K. were considering studying overseas.

Universities and employers may view time spent abroad as a positive contributing factor in their decision-making process when reviewing applications. Other reasons why you may encourage your child to study abroad include a more desirable quality of education, a more affordable study program or simply for them to become more independent.

In any case, sending money abroad is one of several factors to consider when making this decision, and it’s important to choose a reliable money transfer provider. Western Union, for example, is trusted by 8 out of the top 10 ranked universities globally to manage international tuition fees.

No matter where your child is studying in the world, here are four tips to keep in mind.

1. Set boundaries and determine the frequency of contact

Your child may not feel the same degree of separation anxiety that you will, so it’s important to manage your expectations accordingly. Daily phone calls might be the norm at first, but soon, friends and extracurricular activities may take precedence over communication with parents.

Children are more likely to prefer using newer technology to communicate, so attempt to become more familiar with current messaging and video chat options. Whichever platform you choose, it’s essential to be open and honest about your communication requirements. The key is to not let yourself worry, but also not to drive your child away by demanding too much.

One thing is for sure: If the money runs out, you’ll be sure to hear from them. Sending money abroad will likely become a hot topic of conversation, so it’s a good idea to research the best services available with the lowest fees.

2. Keep up-to-date records of contact information

Always ensure your child has provided you with their most up-to-date contact information, including a local phone line. If possible, get the number of a friend or housemate, as well as the contact information for the student’s university and their dorm. If your child is planning on taking weekend trips to other cities or countries, instruct them to give you the names and phone numbers of their hotels or other lodging in advance.

Remember: If you can’t get a hold of your child on a weekend night, they may just be out with friends, or they may have simply misplaced their phone. Undoubtedly, you’ll feel a surge of panic, but being able to contact a friend who can confirm their whereabouts will set your mind at ease.

3. Know a reliable way to send money to your child

Sending money abroad to family members can be quick and easy. Digital transfers have replaced antiquated banking services that would take days to process and incur high fees. With providers like Western Union, you can quickly and easily send money to over 200 countries and territories worldwide. Your child can safely collect the funds in cash from any agent location, or you can deposit money directly into their local bank account all on the Western Union® app.

It’s important that you stay in contact before, during and after the money transfer to ensure the process went smoothly. That’s why it’s helpful to use a reliable service that will notify you when the funds have been cleared or collected.

4. Put insurance and emergency plans in place

Before your child departs, double-check that their insurance policy will cover all their needs for the duration of their time abroad. Insurance will be key if they need to seek treatment while they’re away, but often, the cost of medical or dental treatment is only claimable after the fact. This means your child may need immediate access to financial support in the event of an unexpected medical emergency. The United States, in particular, has very stringent rules when it comes to ensuring sufficient funds are available to cover medical costs.

Unforeseen issues can occur, and sending money abroad quickly and securely will be your primary concern in emergencies. Set up an account beforehand with a reliable online money transfer service, and ensure that your child understands how to receive the funds on their side. Have this conversation before they leave, so you’re both prepared in the unlikely event of an emergency.

There are many things to consider when your child is studying overseas, but with proper preparation, both you and your child will gain peace of mind that money won’t be an issue during their enriching travel abroad experience.


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