Many Nigerians consider sending their children to study abroad as major indices of success in life. Hence, many would be proud themselves for having their children in the United Kingdom (UK), the United States of America (USA), Canada, and Australia, among others.
However, in the face of meeting this desire, some have fallen victim as a result of ignorance.
According to the 2023 Open Doors Report on International Education Exchange Nigeria, with a 22.2 percent increase in Nigerian student enrolment totalling 17,640 for the 2022/2023 academic year is now the leading source of students from Africa and the 7th largest contributor worldwide to the United States.
This figure marks the highest number of Nigerians studying in the United States since 1986-87.
In the report, Nigeria jumped from 10th place during the 2021/2022 school year and now sends more students to the U.S. than Japan in the eighth position, Brazil ninth, and Saudi Arabia tenth.
When it comes to sending children abroad for education, it’s expedient that parents and guardians stay alert and cautious.
Having adequate knowledge about what is required of an international student and what is obtainable per institution will help ensure a student’s safety and well-being while he or she is away from parents and the comfort of the home front.
To do this, there are ten red flags every student and parent should bear in mind before choosing a country and school of study.
These include verifying the legitimacy of the programme, confirming the affiliation of the university, ensuring financial transparency, questioning unrealistic promises, assessing safety, avoiding communication issues, checking the reputation of the programme through reviews, making informed decisions, trusting your instincts, and establishing a support system.
Venturing out to study in a foreign country can be an excellent way to broaden one’s horizons and enhance personal growth. However, parents must stay vigilant and watch out for any potential red flags to ensure the safety and welfare of their children.
Here are 10 study abroad red flags every student and parent should take note of:
Programme Legitimacy: To avoid falling victim to foreign institution’s programme illegitimacy, parents must be cautious of programmes that seem too good to be true; hence, thorough research is needed to verify accreditation and reputation.
University Affiliation: It is also very important to confirm the programme’s affiliation with a legitimate university by visiting their official website or directly contacting the university.
Financial Transparency: Another red flag to watch out for is the institution’s financial transparency. Parents must exercise caution when programmes demand a significant upfront payment; legitimate options often offer payment plans or instalments.
Realistic Expectations: Parents and students alike must learn to question programmes that offer unrealistic job placement promises, particularly if the supposed student lacks the necessary qualifications or experience.
Safety Assessment: In addition, parents and students should always assess the safety of the programme’s location before enrolment by examining crime rates and safety concerns in the city or country of the institution.
Communication and Organisation: International students and their sponsors must steer clear of programmes with unclear communication and organisational issues, as these may be red flags of potential problems.
Reputation Check: There is also a need to check online reviews from other students to gauge the programme’s reputation and the experiences of previous participants.
Informed Decision-Making: Besides, parents and their children should endeavour to avoid feeling pressured into making quick decisions; they must, as a matter of necessity, take their time to thoroughly research and ensure confidence in the chosen programme.
Trusting Instincts: As humans, one of the natural decision guides is one’s instinct; hence, there is a great need for one to learn to listen to his or her instincts. If, in the course of choosing a programme and/or an institution, you feel off about the programme, investigate further and consider alternative options.
Establish a Support System: Before choosing an institution or country where your child is enrolled in an academic programme, there is a need to consider your support system.
Do you know anybody or have someone in that country to help in times of need? This is very needed. Always ensure you have a support system in place, such as friends, family, or local contacts, who can assist you if needed during your child’s studies.