For many teens, studying abroad seems like the ultimate adventure. They’ll leave behind the comfort of your home and their school for parts unknown. Teens will get their first taste of independence in a magnificent or exotic locale. And, they’ll learn about a different culture in the best way – by immersing themselves in it.
All of this before age 18. Not bad.
However, as a parent, you most likely have some concerns. Here are some common questions:
- What program will your teen enroll in for studying abroad?
- How long will they be away?
- What can they expect to learn?
- Who will be looking out for their safety?
However, as you’ll soon discover, the positives will far outweigh any concerns you may have. Here’s why.
Why Study Abroad? 6 Fantastic Reasons to Learn in a Different Country
1. Programs Are Available That Take Care of the Details
If you’re worried about specifics like your child’s safety, who will be their support system, or how they’ll get money, enroll them in a study abroad program that takes care of all that.
For example, CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange) is an organization that offers a wide range of programs, services, and resources for studying abroad. CIEE helps kids get great, horizon-expanding experiences.
For their High School Study Abroad programs, for instance, the organization offers a support team for parents as well as local support for the teen, should they need it.
2. Your Teen Will Learn to Be a World Citizen
It’s a wide world out there, and the more your teen can experience it, the better they will be at empathizing and connecting with people who are totally different from them. Plus, seeing the world is an eye-opening experience that can change your child for the better and give them a less selfish approach to life.
3. They’ll Get a Unique Education
Every country has a different school system and a different teaching perspective. Your student will learn concepts and topics from a fresh point of view, one that staying in the U.S. wouldn’t give them.
4. They’ll Soak in the Culture, Traditions, Food, and Social Life of Their Host Country
There’s no way to truly understand a culture unless you live in it. When your teen studies abroad, they’ll not only get an immersive look at a different culture, they’ll also see the world through new eyes.
A bonus: Their language skills will improve just by living with and using the host country’s mother tongue day in and day out.
5. They’ll Learn Independence
The chicks have to leave the nest someday. If you let your child study abroad, you’ll give them a leg up on their peers.
Because their family support system will be so far away, they’ll have to learn to depend on themselves in a new way. They’ll also have the chance to discover their adventurous spirit and get braver than ever before.
6. It Looks Great on a Resume
More and more, employers look for experiences on resumes and CVs that speak to diversity, commitment, independence, and leadership.
When your teen studies in a foreign country, they’ll be able to check all of these off in one fell swoop. It’s an especially good experience to have under your belt if you’re looking to head to graduate school someday.
Study Abroad Programs to Check Out
There are great programs out there for teens, high school students, and college students who want to study or volunteer abroad.
This organization offers programs for high school students who want to take a summer trip, college students looking for a gap year experience, or other students looking for just a few weeks or an entire semester away.
There are internships, study programs, work exchanges, and more.
Programs are available all over the world, including ones in China, South Africa, Morocco, Thailand, Belgium, and more.
Global Leadership Adventure
For life-changing volunteer experiences abroad, this organization is where it’s at.
Students travel to non-tourist communities and engage in community service that provides for communities in need. Meanwhile, students learn about leadership, facing tough challenges, and relationship-building with people across cultural lines.
Students can work in countries as diverse as Bali, Guatemala, Spain, South Africa, Costa Rica, Ghana, Fiji, and more during their volunteer experience.
Programs range from Photography & Journalism to Social Entrepreneurship, Medicine & Public Health, Environment & Community Action, Animal & Wildlife Conservation, and more.
For example, your teen could travel to the rainforests of Brazil and do volunteer work to help preserve the Amazon. Or, they could travel to Bali to take part in the Global Health Initiative.
Studying Abroad Can Leave a Lasting Impact on Teens
For studying and volunteering abroad, the sky is the limit for teens. The experiences they have and the skills they build will truly last a lifetime.