10 Reasons to Study Abroad While You’re Still in High School

Sam McKenzie
Sam is the Director of Student Activities at Summer Study Programs . After teaching ESL and SAT Prep for several years, Sam worked for a youth...

Nowadays, no college experience is complete without a semester abroad. But why wait until college to spend time in an exciting international setting while taking classes?!

There are a plethora of study abroad opportunities designed specifically with high schoolers in mind. If you're not up for a whole semester or year abroad, you can even consider participating in a short-term summer program. There are lots of options out there, and research will prove key into making your travel dreams a reality.

Here are ten reasons why you should think about studying abroad before you leave high school!

1. Learn another language!

Most of us take a language in high school. However, as we all know, learning a language is extremely difficult, and almost impossible to achieve from classroom study alone. The best way to learn is to immerse yourself in the language, and there is no better way to do so than studying abroad!

2. Make new friends!

Let’s face it: four years of high school is a long time to spend with the same people. There’s no easier way to make friends than going through a transformative experience (like living in another country) with a group of strangers. Plus, it will prepare you to make friends once you get to college! Some of the best friendships abroad start in the airport, so there are many opportunities for building out your friend network.

3. Earn college credit!

It’s never too early to get a head start on college! Language credits are among the easiest to transfer, and some programs offer the chance to earn university credit while experiencing a foreign culture, all while you’re still in high school! You can even consider participating in a volunteering program abroad and find ways to earn college credit.

4. Impress your friends at home!

If you study abroad, chances are you’ll have a much more exciting summer than most of your peers. Don’t bore your friends with yet another story about an imaginary romance down by the lake at Camp Middle-of-Nowhere, WOW them with tales from your escapades in a major international metropolis!

5. Prove to your future colleges that you've GOT what it takes.

College admissions is a tough and often arbitrary process, and nothing makes you stand out like an educational experience abroad. It proves that you are both a serious student and that you have what it takes to succeed on your own in the world. You may even find you base your college decision on the university's study abroad programs.

6. Leave the nest!

Every high school student wants to be taken seriously by his or her parents. Nobody wants to be viewed as a child forever. The best way to prove to your parents that you are responsible and can take care of yourself is by having a successful experience abroad. After all, if you can successfully navigate the streets of Paris, then there’s no reason why you can’t stay out an extra hour in your home town! Mom and Dad may need some convincing, but in the end it will be worth it.

7. You’re a little too old to go to summer camp!

I know, I know. You have great memories of summer camp. Maybe you’ve been going to the same one since you were seven. And that’s the problem. Summer camps are designed with younger kids in mind. High School students are ready for a more mature experience. By studying abroad (or participating in a pre-college program), you can have the more mature summer experience that teenagers need.

8. Stay competitive!

The world is getting smaller through globalization and the internet, and in order to be competitive in the business world, it is more and more important to know more than one language. Not only is it important to know another language, but it is vital to be able to associate and do business with people of other cultures. International experiences like study abroad are crucial for one’s development as a citizen of the world.

9. Fooood!

Are you getting tired of meals at home? Do you love pizza but want to try something new (or the *real deal* in Italy!?). There’s a whole world of cuisine out there waiting for you to try! Every country has its own food culture, and spending an extended time abroad will give you the chance to really dive in. Some programs even offer students the chance to eat at a different restaurant each night as part of the program!

10. What’s stopping you?!

Spending your summer in an exotic locale will be exponentially more educational, interesting, and fun than staying at home. Don’t let being nervous about making friends stop you, most students participating in study abroad programs like Summer Study Programs go by themselves, which creates an excellent environment for meeting people. Start packing your bags today!

As you can see, there are many reasons why studying abroad while still in high school can be just as fun and beneficial as spending a semester abroad in college. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to spend a summer of fun and learning in an exotic and exciting new city!