Has your Wildcat shown interest in studying abroad, but you as a parent have some reservations? K-State takes pride in working with students to provide a unique, safe, and memorable experience abroad that is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The Wilkerson family from Columbia, MO has extensive knowledge about studying abroad and the Education Abroad office. Judy and Carroll Wilkerson have had 4 children study abroad! The K-State PFA caught up with the Wilkerson family to get insight on what it’s like having a child study outside the U.S.
“We have had 4 children study abroad – 3 in Europe and 1 in South America. Our way of helping them prepare was encouraging them and asking them questions to be sure they had everything in order. Packing was probably the biggest challenge when going somewhere for multiple months and limited suitcase space. We are fortunate to live in the era of the internet and we were able to stay connected with FaceTime, usually once a week due to the time difference, and text messages.
We as parents always wished we had the opportunity to study abroad, so we are very supportive of our children going abroad. We knew it would be difficult but also knew they would grow immensely. They now see the world through different eyes. It is always scary to send your child halfway around the world, but we put our faith in God that everything would work out and it did. We feel like our children understand the world as a whole better and have the unique opportunity to be ambassadors to the world as K-State students.
If your child has the opportunity to study abroad, as scary as it may sound initially, we highly encourage your student to do it. A great resource is to talk to other students and parents who have had this incredibly impactful experience.” – Judy and Carroll Wilkerson
In addition to parent perspective provided by Judy and Carroll, we also spoke with their daughter Kelly Wilkerson about her recent experience in Budapest, Hungary last semester.
“Studying abroad was an incredible experience; exceeding all my dreams. My three older brothers studied abroad and the more stories I heard from them, the more I fantasized about going. K-State helped me figure out how and where to go and soon I was headed to Budapest, Hungary. As I prepared to go abroad, I received help from K-State’s Education Abroad office and my family.
My family was an incredible support system as I experienced excitement and nervousness before leaving. Upon first arriving in Hungary, I experienced culture shock but soon began learning the culture and language. During the semester, I journaled so I could look back on my experiences and to help others back home keep up with my travels. I found FaceTiming my family once a week helped us stay connected. I would recommend to every student to go abroad while they can. I learned a great deal about myself and my community, both in Europe and the States. Every country I traveled to brought me new experiences and new understandings which have impacted my experience at K-State. My biggest advice, go with an open mind and ready to explore the world that awaits you. The experiences and memories I created have truly changed my point of view of the world. Some say a picture is worth a thousand words; and still my four thousand pictures can only begin to describe the incredible experience of study abroad.” – Kelly Wilkerson ’20
In addition to the experiences shared by the Wilkerson family, K-State’s Education Abroad office provides information specifically for parents and families. Visit the Education Abroad website to learn about the steps your student can take to start creating their international experience.
Be sure to check out the Top 10 Tips for parents and families.