Guest Post: 3 Tips for Finding a High School Studying Abroad Program
Did you know that you don’t have to wait until college to study abroad? High school study abroad is one of the most enriching and fun experiences you can have. There’s nothing like learning about another culture and language in an exciting foreign country.
Studying abroad during high school can be a great way to gain college-worthy skills and get a jump-start on your college education.There are many academic travel programs to choose from, so here are three questions to consider so you can select the right one and maximize the college prep potential of your study abroad experience.
1. Can you earn college credit?
Some high school study abroad programs offer the chance to take language classes for college credit hours (um, having a great time abroad and getting to bypass a class in college—yes, please!). Earning college credit during a study abroad experience shows colleges admissions counselors that you have a certain level of academic maturity and it looks great on a resume.
To ensure that your future university will grant credit, it’s best to check with that specific university before going abroad because every school is different! It’s also a good idea to chat with your study abroad advisor about how often credit is granted. Ask if more than 90 percent of students receive college credit for the program.
2. Does the program have a global leadership or student ambassador component?
In today’s world, global leadership skills (such as the ability to communicate across cultures, understand cultural nuances, and problem-solve on a global scale) are a must.
Many high school study abroad programs include some kind of global ambassador or mentor role that students are encouraged to apply for after they’ve completed their program. This is a wonderful way to gain great cross-cultural leadership skills—skills that will not only help you stand out during the college admissions process, but also will aid you during your time in college.
3. Is the program immersion-based or more of a travel program?
Both types of programs certainly have their appeal, but in terms of impressing college admissions counselors, an immersion-based study abroad program (in which you are completely immersed in the culture and way of life of another country) is much more likely to help you learn a second language.
Why is this important? Because in our ever-globalizing society demonstrated proficiency in a second language is rapidly becoming the norm among college students. Getting a jump-start on the language learning process (in high school!) will help you become more fluent in a faster amount of time, and there’s no better way to do this than by engaging in true language and cultural immersion.
About the Author
Justine Harrington is the admissions director for SPI Study Abroad, a leading provider of language immersion and global leadership programs for high school students. She is also the main contributor to the SPI Blog.