Joachim Whaley, Aug 12th 2014, 14:49 Verified Guru
Try and reassure your mother that thousands of students do a year abroad each year and return healthy and unharmed, and massively enriched by the experience they have had. If you stay in Europe and study, teach or work under the Erasmus scheme (a Europe-wide scheme funded by the EU), a year abroad really isn't expensive. In fact it can be cheaper than a year of study in the UK because you only pay a 15% to your home university and you get a monthly grant from Erasmus. You can also get extra funds if your family income is under £25,000 pa. Being abroad in Europe isn't necessarily any more dangerous than living in this country.
Tell your mother how much you want to study languages and that the year abroad is the only way to ensure that you become really proficient in a foreign language- with luck, you'll come back speaking as fluently as a native.
This really is a once in a lifetime opportunity that that will not only help you perfect a foreign language but also gain a real understanding of another culture, make friends abroad, and really improve your employment prospects when you graduate.
And European travel is so cheap now that your mother will be able to visit you and make sure you are doing well. That's an opportunity for her as well!
It's not a risk: it's a wonderful opportunity. I'm sure your mother wouldn't want you to miss out on that.
Good luck to you both as you navigate this issue.
Lauren Stevens, Sep 14th 2014, 15:02
You will have a life-changing experience which will boost your confidence and independence and your mother should be proud that you want to give that a go. Choose a safe place to go (maybe somewhere well-known with lots of different opportunities), show her success stories written by people who have been on a year abroad, or post some of her questions on this website and show her the answers to reassure her. If you do go, she may have an excuse for a holiday if she comes to visit you!
I knew I needed some extra cash during my year abroad, so I worked two jobs the summer before and I decided to the English Language Assistantship to earn money and stay in Europe to get an ERASMUS grant. Having my student loan and grant alongside this money meant I had very few financial worries and I could afford to travel around to gain further experiences.