Don’t Wait Until College: 5 Powerful Reasons to Study Abroad in High School

by | Apr 30, 2019 | Model G20, Summits

The term “study abroad” usually brings to mind college students, undergraduates taking a year away from their home school to explore the world. From channeling Harry Potter in Cambridge to surfing (ahem… studying) in Sydney, study abroad is a storied tradition for college kids everywhere – except you don’t have to wait until you go to college.

There are plenty of programs, like the Model G20, that allow high school students to experience the benefits of studying abroad before heading off to university. Each program offers unique academic benefits, and the right one for you depends on your interests and ambitions. Our Model G20 summit is a great fit for high school students who want to dig deeper into politics, international relations, diplomacy, and leadership. Other study abroad programs may focus on specific topics like literature, science, or economics, or a particular place, like exploring Southeast Asia or Brazil.  

Regardless of the study abroad program that you choose, spending time in a foreign country has tremendous benefits. Here are just a few.

  1.     Gain a global perspective – The importance of “walking a mile in someone else’s shoes” may be cliché, but it’s also true. Spending time in another country during a study abroad program allows you to not only see how people from other cultures live, but also how they see you. Even with technology that makes it easy to video chat with someone thousands of miles away, there is no replacement for living and breathing in a new place. And in today’s international economy, gaining that global perspective at an early age delivers a significant advantage at college, in the workforce, and beyond.
  1.     Build an international network – Part of that global perspective comes from building relationships with people from other places. Studying abroad expands your viewpoint and broadens your horizons, but equally importantly, it results in a network of friends and colleagues all over the world. The friendships created at study abroad programs tend to be meaningful and long-lasting. As a group of young people comes together in a new and sometimes challenging situation, they share powerful moments of accomplishment and connection that endure over time and space–especially given how easy it is to stay in touch through email, social media, online and video chat, and even good old snail mail.
  1.     Learn a new language – Whether you choose to study abroad for a year in a fully immersive program or spend a week in a foreign country, you will walk away a student of a new language. The first scenario, of course, lends itself more to fluency, but even a short time in a new place can inspire the love and study of a second (or third!) language.
  1.     Boost your confidence – For many high school students, a study abroad program is their first time away from family and friends for an extended period of time. This can be hard but also instills a sense of maturity that makes young people stand apart from their peers. It eases the transition to college as well as providing that broader perspective that can inform big decisions, from where to go to school to what to study.
  1.     Stand out on college applications – It can be tricky to find truly unique ways to distinguish yourself to your school of choice; it seems like everyone has great grades and extracurriculars. A study abroad program shows initiative, adventure, and independence. It can also demonstrate your passion for a particular place or topic. Model G20 alums, for instance, have shared that admissions teams were impressed with their dedication to international relations, leadership, and diplomacy.

Whether you choose to study abroad for a week, a month, or a year, it can be a transformational experience that will impact your life in countless ways. If you have the travel itch, don’t wait until college. Explore study abroad programs like the Model G20 now.

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