Here at Abbey Road Programs, we believe in harnessing international travel as a tool for education. But what’s more, we believe that international travel at a young age can provide a myriad of benefits. From mastering a foreign language to boosting your résumé for submission to colleges and employers, the choice to study abroad in high school can lead to some pretty great things! We present you a short list of some of those benefits to think about as you consider studying abroad:
1. Experiencing a Foreign Culture First Hand: You’ve seen the photos, you’ve read the books, you’ve added destinations to your bucket list… But all of that pales in comparison to actually getting out there and visiting a foreign country. Reading about Spanish tapas and bullfighting is sure to get your imagination working, but actually being in Spain and eating tortilla Española while you converse with locals en Español is really something that must be done to be fully understood. Choosing to study abroad will give you those experiences and allow you to broaden your worldview through hands-on learning and cultural immersion. Plus, learning to communicate across cultures is becoming very important. It’s a skill everyone should have, and studying abroad is one of the best ways to develop it.
2. Improving (or Learning) a Language: As years go by, the world seems to be getting smaller and smaller. With technological advances, we’re becoming even more like a single world community, so speaking multiple languages is definitely a plus! Studying abroad and immersing yourself in your target language’s home country is the best way to truly learn and retain a foreign language. Why sit in front of a computer screen and study French when you can walk through the famed streets of Paris and parler français as the Parisians do?!
3. Becoming More Independent: Getting out of the house for a while will certainly be fun, but beyond that, it’ll be a learning and growing experience. Mom won’t be there to do your laundry or help you manage your spending money, so it’ll be up to you! Of course, you’ll have counselors, teachers, and program directors there to help and guide you, but you’ll have a lot of independence in terms of handling your responsibilities. Studying abroad is a great way to kick start your independence and get a sneak peak of what it’ll be like to live as a college student.
4. Building Your Résumé: Colleges, and employers for that matter, are always looking for educated, well-rounded individuals. Adding a line to your résumé about a study abroad program you participated in will certainly indicate that you are not only educated, but well-rounded, too! It could just be the thing that sets you apart from the other applicants, so get out there and study abroad!
5. Creating Lifelong Friendships: The people you travel and live with abroad are likely to become some of your best friends. Experiencing a foreign country and a new culture together can be an extremely bonding experience, and you’ll likely come away from your trip with new friendships that will last you a lifetime. You’re even likely to make friends from your host country, a phenomenon that is quite rewarding!