The thought of studying abroad and leaving home for a year can be daunting. Many people will not consider study abroad as an option because of these fears, but there are many compelling reasons to consider study abroad.
The benefits of studying abroad are limitless. Going abroad gives students the opportunity to interact with various languages and can ultimately contribute to the creation of friendships with people on the other side of the globe. People learn about an entire nation’s way of life and history through foreign exchange in a very different way than they would simply reading about it in a book.
Studying abroad can help a students grow and become better people (as well as more independent) and conquer any fears about going different places. Every possible negative is countered by a positive benefit. For example, homesickness can be overcome by video chating with friends and relatives. Additionally, research is crucial to where you are going to feel prepared. All doubts concerning studying abroad are conquerable.
Elizabeth Larson is currently abroad in the Czech Republic and explained “Exchange has not only changed my self view, but also how I interact with others. Everything from humor to hand gestures is different. It is easy to be frustrated with the differences, especially when they have no logical explanation for their existence. I realized that my communication is, in fact, very culturally specific and not as universal as I assumed.”
Many students see going abroad as overly expensive and unaffordable. The truth is there are several scholarship based programs for high schoolers such as National Strategic Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y), Yes Abroad and Congress of Bundestag. These programs are competitive and there is a chance you will not be accepted. If you do not want to risk the chance of being overlooked as then there are programs that you pay for such as Andeo Homestay and Rotary.
One thing to be aware of is that at RPA, studying abroad is only worth one credit, regardless of the program’s duration. This means that highschoolers need to do some major planning before studying abroad. Colleges do not have this problem and many are locations based on college major. These have transferable credits and may be a better option for those who graduate this year and still want to study abroad.
If studying abroad is too far of a journey, hosting is a welcome option. This gives you the opportunity to host a student from another country and learn about their culture. All the programs listed have hosting opportunities and allow personal choice.
Studying abroad creates endless options and opportunities with benefits that far outweigh any negative aspects. The experiences that you can gain are amazingly unique and will impact your life forever.