Top 5 Reasons to Study Abroad in High School
Thinking about studying abroad in high school? Want to learn in a new place with a different culture? Or are you interested in English literature or drama and can see yourself in London for a semester? Whatever your reasons, studying abroad can help you immensely.
Studying abroad is a huge step – but the benefits are plentiful. Living and studying abroad during the academic year, or during the summer, can give you a hefty leg up on college applications and future internships and jobs. Here are just a few of the top reasons to study abroad in high school.
1. Learn a foreign language
The best way to learn a language is, by far, immersion. While classroom routine and commitment is necessary to keep your brain engaged with foreign languages, the fastest, most efficient way to increase your ability is to go to the place it is natively spoken. A foreign language will also help your college application stand out. How many high school students can say they speak Mandarin Chinese, Romanian, or Dutch?
2. Gain intercultural experience
Often learning about the “other” forces us learn more about ourselves. Stepping outside of our own world situations and everyday lives, we can better understand our own biases and perceptions of the world and our place and roles in it. Intercultural experience will also help us learn to work and live beside people even if we don’t understand them at first. Finding common solutions and learning to work difficulties out in an intercultural context can translate into vital career skills.
3. Learn about non-US perspectives of international issues
While learning to deal with intercultural experiences that might challenge your everyday rituals, you’ll also be confronted with your American-ness and new ideas about political issues. It may sound simple and like common sense – but if you decide to live in Israel, your awareness of Israeli issues will skyrocket. If you study in Brazil, you might start paying attention to US foreign policy toward Latin America. Increased global awareness can only be a boon for your college applications.
4. Gain independence and confidence
It’s hard to live abroad! Even if you choose an idyllic mountainous town in Thailand and imagine elephant rides and cooking with a host family, once you are living the experience you’ll have new expectations. If you are in a place where no one speaks English, the first time you can ask where toothpaste is in a store might be a significant mark of achievement. If you travel with friends, the first time you figure out how to get across Rome completely by public transportation will give you a new found sense of independence. Returning to the US, you’ll find you’ve learned to take certain challenges for granted that classmates might not have had the chance to confront yet.
5. Academic enhancement
If you are learning Latin or Greek – why not go to Italy or Greece?! You will be surrounded by students interested in similar subjects, and challenged not only by textbooks and teachers, but by the context and connections you make to the local culture. Your foreign language skills will increase if you study abroad, but if you do well abroad and in a completely new context, colleges will see that you are academically talented and committed.
There are numerous exchange, summer, and academic year programs available – start searching for one that appeals to you!
This article is titled, “Top 5 Reasons to Study Abroad in High School.” It was written by Marta Casey, a writer on Top Test Prep’s Team.
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