Studying abroad in High School is an incredible opportunity. This year or half a year in a different country does not only teach you a different language, but can also give you so many different perspectives of life, and really help you with your personal growth. Even if you can’t see all the benefits right at the beginning, you might come to appreciate them years later.
Here are 10 benefits of doing a High School Year abroad!
1. Learn to speak another language fluently
This has to be the most obvious one but also one of the most important reasons. If you study abroad in a country with a different language, you will have to learn the language in order to be able to attend High School. While you should have some knowledge of the language beforehand, the best way to learn it properly is by having to speak it and being around people that do not know your native language. While this will most likely be a struggle at the beginning, it will get easier over time!
2. Experience life in a different part of the world
Everyone’s life is different, but you don’t always see how different, until you get to experience it yourself. Starting a new life, living with a host family, attending a new school, making new friends, is a great way to broaden your horizon. Even if it’s temporary, it is an experience that you always take with you.
3. Appreciate what you already have
If you are only ever in the same environment, it can be difficult sometimes to appreciate the things that you already have. So going abroad doesn’t only give you new experiences that you have been missing so far, but can also show you what you have, that people in a different place might not have. This really helps you to start to appreciate the things that you already have a little more, that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to. And these could be all sorts of things!
Let’s say you study abroad in the US as a European, and one thing that most cities in the States are not, is that they are walkable. In most places you can’t even go outside for a walk, because there is literally no side walk and you first need to drive somewhere to go for a walk. This might make you appreciate how easy it is to just go places by bike or by walking in your home city, which you never even thought about before.
4. Confidence Boost
Making the decision to study abroad in High School, can be one of the scariest decisions you will ever make in your life. Also, actually doing it won’t be easy, and it will come with multiple challenges. However, if you manage to do that, you can pretty much do anything! This will give you such a confidence boost for the years to come and makes you feel more confident when making important decisions.
5. Think of possibilities for your life in the future
When growing up, you might get the idea that you always need to live at the same place and in the same country, or do the same things that everyone around you does as well. But that couldn’t be further from the truth!
If you can study abroad in high school, you might also study abroad later on during university or move abroad for work later on. For example, I did all my university abroad, and a lot of people that did the same who I met during university have also studied abroad in high school already..
6. Makes you want to travel even more
For a lot of people, this might be their first real experience abroad, and if you haven’t done something before, I guess you also do not know what you are missing out on. Travelling abroad, learning about new cultures, or learning a different language, might become one of your new interests later on.
7. Have some fun stories to tell
I’d be lying if I would tell you that everything will be easy when you go abroad during High School. Unfortunately, there will be some tough times ahead, some challenges along the way, and sadly also you will most likely encounter some ignorant people as well. While it is not fun at the moment, it will probably make for some fun stories to tell in the future.
I, for example, will never get over the fact that Americans at my High School had asked me if we had trees in Germany. It would be sad if it wasn’t so funny.
8. Meet people from all over the world
As a high school student, you most likely haven’t been able to travel much yet and haven’t had that many opportunities to meet a lot of people from all over the world. So, doing a high school year abroad, can give you the opportunity to meet and connect with people you most likely would have never met in your normal daily life. It’s always interesting to hear other people’s perspectives and ideas.
9. Makes you want to get out of your comfort zone even more
Getting out of your comfort zone and jumping into a completely new situation and environment can be very scary, but there is no better feeling than actually accomplishing something that you were scared of. It’s a bit like going bungee jumping, I suppose. It looks terrifying, it would probably be something that a lot of people would be scared of, but then if you actually do it once you feel very proud and accomplished.
Studying abroad in high school, can be exactly that! It can be scary, there are so many things to navigate: studying at a different high school, making new friends, the language barrier, or the cultural differences. But actually mastering all these challenges will not only make you feel proud of yourself, but you also might want to seek out more opportunities to get out of your comfort zone in the future.
10. Become more independent
You are suddenly all on your own and need to take care of things you never really thought about before. I believe, this whole experience just makes you grow up a lot quicker and helps you be so much more independent later on in life. You know that you can master challenges on your own and don’t need to depend on others as much.
And this concludes 10 reasons and benefits to study abroad while in High School. But then, of course, every experience is also unique! While studying abroad in high school, you are still a teenager also, so some of these benefits you won’t really see until later on in your life, or until you are a little bit older.
I spent a year abroad when I was 15, but ever since I turned 18 I have been moving abroad, travelling, and trying to get out of my comfort zone as much as possible.Now more than 13 years after going to the US for a year, I believe none of the things I did as an adult I would have done if it wasn’t for that one year abroad. But I also didn’t see it like that for a long time.
Spending a year or a semester abroad, while still in school, can be so beneficial for multiple reasons. There are probably a lot more than I had mentioned above.
Have you done a high school year abroad? Or would you like to?
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