Letter to My Child Heading to Study Abroad

Johnson Babalola
December 17, 2023

My Dearest Child,

I’ve shared with you the narrative of my humble beginnings many times—the village life devoid of electricity, hospitals, or piped water, and my parents, hardworking farmers, who instilled in me the values of hard work, honesty, and focus. Their constant reminder was to use today wisely to avoid lamenting tomorrow.

Through determination, focus, and hard work, I navigated through every level of schooling to achieve success.

When you entered our lives, we were well-established, providing you with the best. Unlike my early life, you enjoyed privileges—cornflakes, milk, private schools, chauffeurs, colored TV, and overseas vacations. You’ve had a good life, my child. We have also raised you well. We taught you to treat others as you would like to be treated and to make integrity your companion.

Reluctantly, I’ve agreed to your mother’s wish for you to study abroad. Before your departure, please heed my advice:

  1. Grant us access to your academic portal. It’s not about trust but ensuring we can support your progress.
  2. Visit us during Christmas and expect us during the Summer. We must spend time together.
  3. Commit to daily communication with one of us, sharing your triumphs and challenges.
  4. Be cautious of new and old acquaintances; choose those whose character aligns with yours.
  5. Manage your freedom and abstain from drugs. Drink responsibly.
  6. Stay clear of criminal activities, especially driving under the influence.
  7. Maintain your immigration status, renew your documents on time, and we’ll remind you in advance.
  8. Prepare for loneliness, cultural shock, and racism. Seek support from reliable sources.
  9. Embrace your culture—discard what needs reform but cherish and respect its richness.
  10. We promise unwavering support—financial, emotional, and psychological—come rain or shine. We will be honest with you when we struggle with fulfilling our promises and will not blame you for the struggles.  

As you embark on this journey, our dear child, explore within legal limits, remain focused on your goals, and communicate openly with us. We promise understanding, support, and unconditional love.

Go forth and conquer the world!

With all our love,

Dad (for both of us)

Johnson Babalola, a Canada and Nigeria based lawyer, leadership consultant, storyteller and corporate emcee, is a public affairs analyst. Follow him for discussions on real life issues that affect us all.

You can obtain a copy of his newly released book, REJECTED on Amazon, FriesenPress, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, Apple Books, Nook Store etc.