Why High School Study Abroad

March 4, 2019
Jenny Doder in Florence

Today’s blog post comes to us from API employee Jenny Doder! Before she joined our marketing team, she studied abroad with API in Florence, Italy.

Jenny Doder in Florence

When I was in high school, I used to drive myself crazy filling up my schedule with sports and extracurriculars.

I was running for class office and signing up for more than three student clubs each semester. It seemed boring and mundane. It felt like I was on autopilot trying to impress everyone. I lost sight of what I was doing and why I was doing it. I wanted something different… exciting… challenging… even a little bit adventurous?

I pretty much knew in late high school I wanted to study abroad in college. Backpacking through Europe seemed like a dream to me and an experience I wanted to have with my future best friends from college. However, I never considered going abroad in high school. For one, I felt too young and certainly not as brave as I thought I would be in college. I also had no money and knew summer traditionally meant applying for summer jobs, looking at colleges, and hanging out with my friends. At this point of my life, the only travel I ever did was with my family and usually those vacations consisted of long road trips and a jam-packed car heading to somewhere I have already been.

Seeing the world back then seemed so appealing, but impractical. I quickly pushed the thought out of my head and muttered excuses to myself as to why I couldn’t travel abroad in high school.

The thing is, your high school years are some of the most important developmental years of your life.

You have the chance to meet new people, get involved in new things, take interesting classes, and learn more about yourself, your interests, and what you want to do and where you want to go in the next chapter of your life. So why not take advantage of something something that is going to change you… for the better?

Whether you know you love to travel and crave adventures or just want to test the waters to see if this is for you, below are three reasons why you should consider studying abroad with API during high school.

1. You will develop communication & intercultural skills

Studying abroad while you are young broadens your perspective and exposes you to so much more than just cultural differences. You will have the opportunity to see how other people live and communicate, learn about their interests, and discover what their day-to-day is like.

2. You’ll make new friends and travel with a group

Trying some amazing food and seeing some of the world’s most iconic sites is better when you have friends to enjoy this with! A major advantage of API’s high school summer programs is the opportunity to travel with a group. API’s programs are designed with a group dynamic in mind so it is easier for you to connect with one another and make lasting friendships that go beyond high school.

3. When you return home, you’ll appreciate your hometown

Maybe one of the reasons you are thinking of going abroad is because you just want something new and are itching for a change. Studying abroad can help you appreciate your homelife, where you grew up, your family, and remind you of all the really good things you have at home. It ignites the travel bug in you and you begin to appreciate your hometown just a little bit more.

High school is an exciting time. It’s chaotic, confusing and challenging, but your high school years are also about doing what makes you happy and what makes you feel most alive. It’s about creating the life you want to live instead of pretending it is something you can’t have or that you don’t deserve it.

Studying abroad in high school encourages you to step outside your comfort zone and engage directly with locals through classroom learning and cultural activities. We live in a world of limitless possibilities. If you put your disbeliefs aside, roll up your sleeves, take some risks, and totally go for it, you’ll wake up one day and realize going abroad in high school was one of the best decisions you could have ever made.

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