Summers worth writing about: Abroad Programs

Post By: COYD Staff

high school abroad programsLiving abroad is a great way to learn about another culture, get out of your comfort zone, expand your horizons,

and have a great international experience that you can write about on your college application. Nowadays,
it’s very easy to find abroad programs that fit your interests and a way to pay for it if it isn’t in your family’s budget.
Below are a few tips and ideas on finding the perfect abroad experience:

1. Explore the different types of abroad programs: study, work, intern, volunteer, teach

When people think of abroad programs, they only think of study abroad programs. Those are usually the most expensive programs and hardest to find financial aid. When you combine study with interning or volunteering, it is easier to find financial aid and on top of that, you have more interaction with the local people. When a student only goes to a country to study the language, it is sometimes hard to have daily contact with the people who live there. You are usually in the classroom a few hours a day and the rest of the day is up to you to meet other people. For many, that is hard because they don’t speak the language. As you know, there are other ways to communicate with people other than language. If you volunteer with a group of people, you can exchange communication without having a firm grasp on the language. Some students enjoy teaching english as well. This is also a great way to meet local people because once again, you will be constantly interacting with them on a daily basis.

The best way to learn the culture and language is to have that daily interaction. Textbooks and classrooms can only help you so much. Slang, idiomatic expressions, cultural mannerisms are only learned through interaction with native speakers. An ideal program would be one that mixes studying and working with native speakers.

2. Do a lot of research and weigh all of your options

Do not just sign up for the first program you find in the country of your choice. Many sites and forums have comments from students who have actually participate in these programs. Like researching for college, the best way to REALLY know about the program is to hear it from the students who have already participated in the program.

Below are a few websites that our staff recommends for researching abroad programs:

Rotary International

3. Safety First

Both you and your parents needs to read the insurance policy and crisis management policy/evacuation policy when you research the abroad program. Some families rely on their own insurance which is not always the best. The best abroad programs will have their own policies that cover situations like medical evacuation by air to a hospital. Don’t assume that the same medical luxuries you have in your home city are automatically included in the abroad policy. Make sure to ask those questions to the program representative. No question is a stupid question. The worst is to make assumptions.


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