Choosing to do a high school language program abroad is one of the best decisions for a few reasons. For high school students, short-term summer programs are an amazing opportunity for bilingual education. Many high school students use a language immersion program as a test drive for semester or year-long experiences which become available in college. A language-focused study abroad program catches the attention of college admission boards and hiring managers too. So if you wonder what it would be like to travel to a new country and immerse yourself in the life of a foreign language, here is a little glimpse into the experience!
If we’re being honest, high school language programs abroad are challenging
That’s right, challenging is the first true and honest word to describe a high school language program abroad. But healthy, manageable challenges allow you to grow intellectually and as a global citizen. When you immerse yourself in another country and culture, you sharpen your language skills in real life situations. When you return from your trip, you’ll be able to speak about the challenges you faced and how you overcame them. You’ll be able to demonstrate better communication skills, plus greater empathy, patience and resilience in the face of difficult situations.
Okay, even a little bit scary
It’s completely normal to feel a little bit nervous about tackling all of the challenges that come with high school language programs abroad. Not only will you live in a new country and learn a new language, but there are new foods to try, different customs to learn, people to meet and friends to make. While all of this might seem daunting at first, you’ll be surrounded by trip leaders and supportive peers. Your fellow students quickly become your friends who help you every step of the way.
Yupp, and frustrating at times
There are definitely going to be situations, and heck, even full days where you can’t seem to summon the words or phrases that you need to order a coffee or ask for the location of the nearest restroom. You might literally be at a loss for words during these times, and that’s okay! This is a normal part of a language immersion program. The local people in your host country are happy to interact with you and are often so kind that nerves quickly disappear.
But worth it? 100%
Of course, when you’re passionate about learning a language—whether it’s Spanish, French or Mandarin—a trip abroad is full of fun experiences too! When you choose to study abroad, you’ll have opportunities to experience the culture and language first-hand. If you travel to Spain, you’ll learn not just how to say “¡Bailamos!” but also how to salsa dance. If you travel to Costa Rica, you’ll work up an appetite while learning to surf, then practice your dinner conversation skills over tamales with your host family. In China, you’ll put your Mandarin skills to practical use as you navigate a high-speed bullet train. There really isn’t a better way to learn a second language than to do it while you’re having fun.
No matter which country you visit or how long, every day spent living in the language will be worth it. Stay positive and open-minded both inside and outside of the classroom. Accept the challenges, face your fears, work through frustrations, and most importantly, have fun and make life-long memories through it all!
Find your high school study abroad experience
Do you want to learn more about the many benefits of high school language programs abroad? At Travel For Teens, we are proud to offer a variety of international travel experiences that are focused on language immersion. Our high school summer programs are designed to instill a love of learning about different cultures around the world. Contact us today to learn more about our upcoming travel opportunities or find a program that’s right for you.