6 Tips to Choose Your High School Study Abroad Program
With the start of the new high school year underway comes new opportunities to explore! One big one to consider is studying abroad!
Though high school study abroad programs are becoming increasingly more popular each year, many students don’t have friends or family members who have studied abroad—this can make the experience of choosing a program seem overwhelming.
If you’re considering a study abroad adventure this academic year, follow these 6 important tips to help you choose your program.
Study Abroad Tip #1: Check the Credentials of the Study Abroad Organization
It might not always be easy to tell if a company or organization is reputable or not. You could have a great conversation with one of their representatives at school, they could have a fancy-designed website, or they could have many followers on social media. However, this may not always mean it’s a company you can trust!
Do your research and contact them as many times as you can by phone or email. Find out how long they’ve been around, request further information on their academic approach, and ask how many students have traveled on their programs.
Study Abroad Tip #2: Check If College Credits or Service-Learning Hours Are Available
One of the biggest motivations for studying abroad in high school is the edge it gives you on your college applications. Whether it’s by showing your service activities addressing community challenges or proving that you’ve earned college credits, the credentials you obtain on a high school study abroad program can really make you stand out above other applicants. Some programs offer credentials while others don’t.
Earning college credits while in high school can save you quite a bit of money! If a study abroad program offers them, for example, you’ll likely be paying significantly less for them than you would through college tuition!
Study Abroad Tip #3: Check Foreign Languages Offered
Competitive colleges and universities typically require that their students have taken a foreign language for at least two years in high school before they are admitted. These prestigious institutions recognize the value of a global education and language proficiency in the 21st century. Participating in a high school language study abroad program can equip you with skills, knowledge, and credentials to meet language requirements. Look for programs that can help you meet these requirements.
Study Abroad Tip #4: Check the Dates and Program Length
There’s a trend for students to seek shorter study abroad experiences, lasting only a few weeks at a time, rather than a longer time frame. However, you have to think about what will really work best for you. A study abroad experience should match your academic goals and the priorities in your life, beyond being an exciting adventure!
Don’t settle for any date or time frame. There are different study abroad options available, such as summer abroad programs, trimester or semester programs, or options to study abroad immediately after high school graduation.
Study Abroad Tip #5: Read Reviews/Talk to Alumni
Most people who shop for products online believe reviews are essential to deciding on what to buy. When it comes to choosing a study abroad program, you should take the same approach and do your best to look up reviews to your chosen program.
In addition to that, try to contact someone who’s previously participated on program. You can reach out to previous participants through social media or even ask the provider to give you alumni contact information. A reputable company should have great reviews online and grant you access to speak to past participants.
Study Abroad Tip #6: Check Costs and Start Planning
Though cost can be a big factor when choosing to study abroad, finding a program you like is a great chance for you to start a savings plan, fundraise, and apply for high school study abroad scholarships. Once you know your tuition costs and spending money you may need abroad, you can begin creating monthly money goals and seeking opportunities near you to earn the money.
For example, doing some babysitting, lawn-mowing, and car washing for your neighbors and explaining to them your goal of studying abroad can be a great way to earn extra cash and gain support from your community!
Explore Your High School Study Abroad Options
Studying abroad is a chance to see the world, gain independence before college, improve your world language skills, and maybe earn college credits. It’s great that you’re thinking about this opportunity. It means you want to make the most of your time in high school!
Still don’t know the program you could be interested in? CIEE Enrollment Coordinators can help you make a wise choice based on your goals. Schedule a call with an Enrollment Coordinator today!