A high school study abroad program is an eye-opening experience. High school study abroad programs are programs where high school students live in a foreign country and attend school there, usually for a prolonged period of time. They offer students the opportunity to experience a new country and culture, meet new people, gain knowledge, and participate in another country’s educational system.
Many students do not go abroad until university, so there will be need of getting an educational head start. A high school exchange program can be extremely rewarding. Wherever in the world you are thinking about studying, you will benefit from thoroughly researching high school exchange programs there before you commit. After all, you are considering leaving your home for up to a year – there is a lot to think about first! Here are some factors you should consider:
Programs Offered Through Your School
If you’re interested in participating in a high school exchange program, you should ask your guidance counsellor if your school has an established program in place. Some schools have very active programs with significant waiting lists, while others do not have enough interested students to have a dedicated program. Even if your high school lacks its own exchange program, there is likely at least one that serves your city. Programs vary quite a bit. With some, your family will have to host an exchange student from another country while you are gone, while others offer this option but do not require it.
Programs Offered Through Outside Organizations
If your school or city does not offer any exchange programs, begin by doing some outside research. There are lots of programs you can go through. Start by conducting a basic Google search. Before you delve into these options though, think about where specifically you would like to study abroad, how long you want to be away, and what kind of program you are interested in participating in.
A common experience felt by students who study abroad is the sensation of culture shock. Even if you choose a country in which most people speak your language, that doesn’t mean that the culture will be the same or even necessarily similar to what you’re familiar with back home. It’s difficult to prepare in advance for culture shock, but by accepting ahead of time that you will most likely experience it and by realizing that it is a completely normal reaction, you set yourself up for success. The more you understand about the culture, the more comfortable you may feel performing the country’s traditions.
Know what to do in case of an emergency.
Prior to leaving on your trip, find out how to contact the police, the fire department and any other emergency service available in your host country. Additionally, consider enrolling your trip with the State Department.