How to Get Your Kids into Global Universities: Parent-to-Parent Insight

Nany Tjan

4 min read

To many parents in Indonesia, having their children pursued study abroad is a dream come true. Study overseas is considered as a way to have your children exposed to relatively better education, better opportunities, while honing their mental toughness. It is also believed that continuing study in foreign countries will enrich children with familiarity to different cultures and mentality, and thus push them to be open minded and more tolerant to differences.

As challenging and intriguing the enthusiasm is, thousands of students in Indonesia have this dream as their motivation and goal. However, a dream come true is certainly not without a catch as global universities set several terms and conditions for them to accept any foreign students. Academic achievements, English proficiency, and financial ability are some amongst the requirements.

When, what, who, where, which, and how, obviously are the questions wondered by many parents out there. The journey by all means, was a long and winding road.

Here is a brief of information about the admission requirements and the qualifications that you or your children need to pursue studying abroad. Foreign universities have many admissions requirements, depending on the major and courses you select. To apply, the students are required to achieve a certain score of English proficiency, famously and widely known as IELTS, at the score of 6.00 in each section, which is reading, listening, speaking, and writing.  Some world prestigious universities require higher scores. And this requirement is valid not only to English speaking country hosts, but non-native speaking ones as well. In terms of academic achievement, they require different scores for the final test/exam of the high school. Usually, they demand an average of 85.

In regards to financial aspects, on average, universities in Australia, for instance, set around AUS$35.000 – $45.000 (around IDR 350 million – 450 million) annually for the tuition fee, excluding the living cost and other expenses. As living costs and other expenses can reach approximately AUS$3000 per month, an undergraduate student will spend approximately more or less AUS$300.000 for a 3-year study. This is a fantastic amount albeit a great investment in knowledge. Some universities offer optional scholarships for international students which need to be applied by the student as soon as they receive their letter of acceptance from the university.

Scholarships from Government

So, what does it take for our children to go to study and live in a foreign country?

Would it be possible for our children without great academic skill to be able to study there? Or, do they have to be a genius?

What if you believe that your children have all the potentials to study abroad, but your finances are tight or limited? Would it be possible for our children with average grades but comes with outstanding achievements in sports or arts to be accepted? Do they have the chance? You possibly have all these what if questions in your minds now.

And fortunately, the answer is yes, they can, and they don’t have be a genius.

The Indonesian Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology (KEMENDIKBUD) provides part of the help you need in a program called LPDP (Indonesia’s Endowment Fund for Education). Working together with the Finance Ministry, it provides a number of the country’s potential minds financial help to study in best universities within Indonesia and across the world in an attempt to prepare quality and competitive human resources, future leaders and professionals to allow the nation to compete globally.

Another good news is that the ministries have broadened the scholarship’s scale to also include undergraduate scholarship programs, which was launched in 2021. Such a scholarship not only considers academic competency but also widely embraced students with achievements in sports, arts and culture in giving them a chance to contribute and bring new changes to Indonesia in near future.

Starting Point: English Proficiency

If you are inspired by the thought of it, let’s start first with the English preparation part.

The first teacher in English in children’s early age should be the parent and start at the most fundamental school of brain, mind, and character, which is home. And it should be done, personally. The parent should be the first one and the crucial one to motivate, to encourage, and stimulate the children to speak and communicate in English.

As a parent, finding the right school could be very challenging. The right school is expected to be the ally of the parent, to be able to reach out the children’s potential, which comes in various profiles.

In order to achieve a solid and prominent English proficiency, I would strongly suggest you to ideally choose the right elementary school that will play an important role developing pupil’s aptitude, such as academic aspect, critical thinking, basic skills and character and particularly promoting and providing English as the intermediate language.

If your children are provided with adequate English environment at early age until the elementary years, most certainly your children will hold the language for the rest of their life, depending on how they would sustain and preserve the language by continuously practicing. Meanwhile, children should be reminded and encouraged to speak a foreign language. Despite the right & wrong, they shall not be judged as difficult or failed. Do not underestimate the fact that early-age children are able to absorb more than one language at a time.

In addition, let us not underestimate the importance of supplying English books. Reading improve their basic English proficiency. It is impossible for the children to expand and enrich their English without reading.

By reading, children will be intrigued to dream, to visualize, to write and be curious to practice and enhance the words they are reading, listening and speaking as well. As young readers, children particularly have their preferences in choosing the right genre. Parents hold an important job in advocating and complying them with their preferences. Furthermore, actively listening to conversations in English, whether by listening to English songs, podcasts, or radios, watching movies with English subtitles is considered to be efficient in attaining the objectives of high English proficiency.

As the current curriculum became demanding and pressurizing the students, many of them found liberation in specific sports and arts activities. Directing and supporting their needs and competency may lead to greater purpose, and will be a strategic investment for their future. To those who succeed with accomplishments, LPDP Scholarships are widely opened to reach potential students with great achievement in academic and non-academic fields.

Also, secondary school selection is also crucial as it’s the final school of the teenage world. The selection of secondary school plays an important role, as the school will be the parents’ partner in shaping and visually directing the mind patterns, the critical thinking, logical thinking and of course the social skills they will need and acquire in the future.

There are several options of secondary school with English as the intermediate language, and they offer different curriculums such as, Cambridge A-Level, SAT, ACT, and IB, for the preparation of applying at global universities. Here, we must wisely assess the options and what the school offered to the student and to the parent as well.  School curriculum, syllabus and student’s daily assessment should be the highlight behind the criteria of the right secondary school.

No Instant Results

For non-native speakers, like Indonesians, mastering English or other foreign languages are costly and not easy. In most cases, parents with middle to high income tend to seek instant solutions by enrolling their children to an English education institution that comes with high tuition fees, or private teachers, with limited/uncertified certifications.

By all means, being proficient in English is not something that can be achieved overnight. It takes years for our brain to absorb the language. Thus, solid motivation and intense perseverance are needed to develop language proficiency. Only by this way our children can take part as among the next leaders for a more prosperous Indonesia.

Nany Tjan

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