“Help! My child is going to Uni!”
Preparing your child for studies abroad
The day always comes sooner than most parents expect. Eighteen years zip pass and you may find yourself at the airport, with a lump in your throat, waving good bye to your child who is starting a new chapter in life as a University student. As soon as he or she disappears behind the departure gate, you start to wonder whether the winter jackets are warm enough, whether you should have packed a secret stash of instant noodles in their luggage, whether he or she can handle the financial headaches of bank accounts, cash transfers and all that in a foreign land.
You may even wonder whether you should have accompanied your child to the land of their University, just to ensure that he or she settles in well. After all, this is the first time your precious one is away from the nest and you have every reason to be anxious. But don’t worry. It really is not as bad as it seems. It is a period of discovery, both for you as a parent and your child as a student.
Here are some tips to help you prepare yourself, months or even years before the day eventually arrives. It’s never too early because your child will grow up faster than you think.
Peace of mind comes with knowing the facts. Do your own research:
- Find out about the country your child wants to study in. Look into its history, culture, customs, laws, foreign students’ rights, educational system and track record. Find out if the University degrees are recognised locally.
- Seek information and talk to counsellors from the IDP Malaysia or British Council.
Be a guide
You may realise that your child is now stepping into a new chapter of life and is testing his or her wings to fly out of the nest, literally. It is your opportunity to allow him or her the freedom to grow into independence.
- Guide, not decide for your child on the choice of courses, electives, extra-curricular activities.
- Encourage your child to explore new areas of learning such as taking up new languages, sports or artistic endeavours.
- Provide information from your research but leave it to him or her to make informed decisions. Your child will develop decision making skills which will serve him or her in a strange new place. You would have to depend on your child’s decision making ability to make wise, sound decisions everyday, while out of your care.
Coordinate the communication
You and your child will miss each other. Establishing a plan to stay in touch is vital and helps manage your expectations.
- You may want to decide on frequency and mode of communication. Bear in mind that this plan may change when the reality of the University term begins. Keep the channels open and allow your child to make adjustments till you both reach a comfortable fit.
- Use the Internet to stay in touch. Your child could start a blog to update you of his or her adventures and vice versa. Internet services like instant messaging with a web cam allow you to communicate for free.
Do pack lightly
Your child is not going to a deserted island so you do not have to load up the luggage with canned food and noodles. Pack clothing, daily essentials, study tools (laptop, USB flash drive, etc) and other items may be purchased after he or she arrives at his or her destination.
- Other important things to include are passport photos for applications, a spare pair of glasses or contact lenses (in case something happens to the current pair) or medication, if your child is on a prescription. Get extra supplies and a copy of the prescription. A clearance note from your doctor regarding your child’s need for the medication is helpful in case of any issues during the customs process.
- Finally, weigh the luggage. It should be within the weight limit and comfortable for your child to carry around.
Many parents worry about the safety of their child overseas. You may want to take time to educate your child on ways to stay safe in another country.
- Establish emergency procedures with your child prior to departure. These may include what to do in an event of loss of belongings, accidents or illnesses.
- You and your child should both have a set of emergency contacts at all times, including contacts from the University and the programme.
- Ideally, you should have services like the HSBC Premier UniKit so that you can include HSBC Premier’s 24/7 Emergency Hotline number (+1-908-7736437) as your child’s emergency number. With this number your child can block ATM and credit cards and have replacement cards ready the next business day. Your child will also be able to access a cash advance of up to USD2,000 for emergency purposes at any HSBC branch to help him or her get back on track.
- It is recommended that your child carry an “Emergency Data Card” in his/her wallet or bag. The card should state blood type, any allergies or medication he or she is on, emergency contact person and number.
- Advise your child to be wise such as taking official taxis only and keeping his or her passport safe at all times.
Financial set up made easy
Setting up bank accounts, transferring cash and exchanging currencies can be overwhelming for your child, amidst having to go through the transition to a new way of life and studies. You may want your child to immediately settle in and not worry about whether the rent money is in. Use international services from HSBC Premier UniKit to conveniently arrange all your child’s banking needs here in advance. With HSBC Premier UniKit, we recommend the following:
- Before your child leaves, familiarize him or her with online@HSBC, where your child can check his or her joint HSBC Premier account with you.
- You may want to also teach your child financial safety habits – such as withdrawing small amounts of cash from the ATM, enough for his or her weekly needs, not writing down his or her PIN number and passwords, avoiding phishing emails, amongst others.
Look forward to this new adventure with your child. Your child may go through some hardship, culture shock and confusion which are all part of the experience. But by overcoming these difficulties your son or daughter may quickly rise to a new level of independence and growth, which ultimately may be the unspoken but most valuable benefit of a University education.
Wherever your child goes, HSBC Premier UniKit takes care of them
Your child will love the benefits of the HSBC Premier UniKit.
As one of the largest banking and financial organisation in the world with an international network of over 9,500 offices in 86 countries and territories in Europe, Asia Pacific, the Americas, Middle East and Africa, we are most equipped to assist in the financial needs of your child’s finances for studies abroad. We are experienced in offering financial services and our Relationship Managers at HSBC Premier can set up all necessary banking facilities in the destination country, without you ever needing to leave home.
Why take up HSBC Premier UniKit
- Getting his or her overseas bank account ready before arrival will give your child time to concentrate on settling in and getting accustomed to his or her new environment.
- You don’t have to worry about converting currencies. Just deposit your money in your HSBC Premier account in ringgit and your child can withdraw it in his or her local currency. You can make unlimited number of free overseas money transfers from your Premier Account’s Me2Me feature.
- You can manage and monitor your joint account with your child from anywhere via online@hsbc.
- Your child can enjoy the added peace of mind with an optional HSBC Premier MasterCard, travel insurance of up to RM2,000,000 for lost luggage, missed connection flights or injury.
- Your child will have the assurance of international assistance and rescue if they lose their wallet or handbag. Just call our Premier Emergency Hotline (+1-908-7736437) available 24 hours, 7 days a week to immediately block ATM and credit cards and have replacement cards ready the next business day. Your child can also obtain a cash advance of up to USD2,000 to ease the emergency situation.
- Your child will also enjoy all the rewards and recognition of HSBC Premier anywhere they go such as shopping discounts, entertainment and dining privileges that can help him or her save on expenses.
How do I get the HSBC Premier UniKit for my child?
All you need to do is apply for a joint HSBC Premier account for another country with your child at HSBC Bank Malaysia Berhad and you will receive your banking essentials (i.e. your account numbers abroad, ATM cards, credit or debit cards and optional cheque book) within 10 business days.
Apply for the HSBC Premier UniKit to conveniently arrange all your child’s banking needs here in advance. Kindly contact your Premier Relationship Manager or call 1300 88 9393.
If you are not yet an HSBC Premier customer, please call 1 300 88 9393 to discuss your eligibility options.
Ka-Ching! Ka-Ching! How Your Children’s Education Adds Up
Sending your child for studies overseas can be an expensive affair. The rising cost of education in popular academic hubs have pushed course fees and living costs higher. An undergraduate year in Australia may cost A$10,000 to A$13,500 for an Arts based degree or A$11,000 to A$16,500 a year for a Laboratory based course. That’s not including living expenses yet. An average international student will spend about A$360 a week on accommodation, food, clothing, entertainment, transport and telephone, depending on location, lifestyle and type of course taken.1
In the UK, course fees range anywhere from £6,250 to to £18,000, depending on the degree taken. You’ll need to budget for a nine-month academic year, with average living costs hovering at the £750 mark per month if your child lives in London or £650 per month elsewhere.2
If your child is due to fly off for his or her grand campus adventure in the next few months or even a few years down the road, you can start accumulating the currency you need to pay for the education with a Foreign Currency Time Deposit (FCY TMD).
Make your money work harder with a Foreign Currency Time Deposit
A FCY TMD works like a conventional Fixed Deposit except for the fact that you open an account in the foreign currency of your choice. Depending on the foreign currency chosen, you stand to benefit from potentially higher interest rates at maturity, compared to conventional Fixed Deposit interest rates.
You may also gain from the exchange rate, should it swing in your favour. It has its risks though. While you may earn a higher interest rate, it could be offset by the possible depreciation in the foreign currency.
If you have funds just waiting to be used to pay for your child’s education expenses, it may be a good option to leverage on current currency movements with Dollar Cost Averaging. By investing a portion of your funds regularly and systematically over time you can average out your currency cost per unit. Talk to your Relationship Manager if you are interested in opening an FCY TMD account.