It’s typical for students to wait until their college years to study abroad. But why? Studying abroad while in high school can give teens an advantage when it comes to their academics, travel opportunities, and foreign language skills. In fact, high school is the ideal time to study abroad.

A high school student doesn’t have the same responsibilities as a college student. While in high school, students are concerned with keeping a good GPA and considering college applications, but as soon as they get to college they begin to feel pressure about their careers, professional networks, and applications for Master’s programs.

On the other hand, parents might feel hesitant to send their teenager abroad, but Maximo Nivel’s experience and reputation ensures a safe and respectful environment, close supervision, a strict schedule of classes, and daily activities for high school students. There’s no need to worry as Maximo Nivel takes care of all of the administration and course work schedules, places them with trusted families who have children of the same age and gender, and dedicates a staff member to accompany them on all excursions, outings, and events that will be sure to broaden their horizons.

Still not completely convinced? Read on to get an idea of how high school study abroad can tremendously benefit teens.

High School Study Abroad

A New Exciting Learning Environment

A freshman in high school might feel the jitters of a new challenge and experience, but once they learn their environment they begin to move in more routine ways – hanging with the same groups of people, taking the same routes to and from school, and getting away with things they’ve learned to navigate in earlier years. Their comfort zone isn’t really jolted until college, but changing things will definitely keep them engaged and on their toes.

Studying abroad places students in a foreign country and forces them to begin learning and experiencing a foreign language. Adjusting to these changes will require the use of different parts of their brains which might otherwise not be activated in their traditional academic setting. With cultural differences, there also comes educational differences. The way teachers and students interact will reprogram the way high schoolers think of their own student-teacher dynamic and open their minds to new and different ways of connecting with others.


Experience a Different Way of Living

In most regions of the world parents have consistently began to work longer hours to provide for their families. In some cases, technology has been a buffer to help fill the time when parents and children are not able to be together. However, this is not the standard in Latin America.

In countries like Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru communities are extremely family oriented. Parents try not to work late so they can have dinner around the table with their children. The use of technology during family time is frowned upon, and holidays and special events are celebrated with gatherings of extended family, lots of traditional foods, music, and dancing.

Teenagers benefit from learning about culture by becoming a part of their host family, even if only temporarily. Breakfast and dinner is provided during a host stay, and table conversation allows students to practice their language and people skills. Many times, the students are placed in the same home as other study abroad students of the same age and gender. This helps to relieve any home sickness a teen might feel while slowly introducing them to a whole new world.


A Sense of Independence

Teenagers eventually become adults, and we’re all rooting for independent adults who are capable of critical thinking, problem-solving, strategizing, and socializing. Studying abroad during high school helps to develop these exact skills.

The ability to view all perspectives and to consider unintended consequences before making a judgement call is extremely important while traveling. Critical thinking skills are sharpened while students are meeting new people, exploring new places, and engaging in new social settings. Without having a parent to immediately run to, teens first depend on themselves to figure out problems and make decisions. When that decision made abroad proves to have been the right one, a boost in confidence immediately follows. Children experience a sense of independence while being abroad and begin to understand that their parents have also trusted their abilities.

High schoolers experience a sense of independence while being abroad and begin to understand that their parents have also trusted their abilities.


A Jumpstart to College

High school students who study abroad are way ahead of their peers when they get to college. Living on their own won’t be new for them. They’re less likely to feel lost or insecure about themselves, and more likely to successfully manage their workload and social life. In addition, a high schooler who studied abroad has an incredible story for the personal essay portion of their college applications.

Studying abroad offers the experience of a lifetime through academic instruction. Meeting new friends, learning new ways of life, and participating in exciting excursions that only before seemed possible while on vacation will spark a newfound passion for education. Students realize that academics don’t have to be routine or boring, but that learning encompasses a lot more than just the classroom. Learning through travel and experience is a surefire way to guarantee that they’ll commit to learning forever.