Should I Study Abroad During High School?

I bet you hear a lot of people attending college who take the opportunity to either take a summer, a semester, or a whole year abroad to another country to learn and take classes at the university there.

That option is easily accessibly and readily available at any college you’ll attend. It’s a great opportunity and every student should at least consider the offer. Who wouldn’t want to take the classes you are taking for your major in a foreign place?

It’s the perfect time to travel and explore at this time of age since as you’ll get older, it might be harder to travel with many obligations weighing you down. It’s a great experience and personally, I don’t know anyone who didn’t regret their experience and their travels.

But this also strikes up the question…

What about studying abroad before college? Like in high school?

I actually had the opportunity to participate in a high school study abroad program as a research assistant in helping endangered Leatherback Sea Turtles in Trinidad and Tobago.

I didn’t really attend a lecture hall or a classroom with a lecturer or a teacher in front of me while I was taking notes in class during my high school study abroad program. But rather, I was learning in a more physical light by helping the professors and researchers collect data and record findings for their yearly analysis of the Leatherback Sea Turtles population and their baby nests.

In the end, I learned a lot during my two weeks stay in Trinidad. By assisting and helping all my superiors, I learned about poaching cultures, complications to endangered turtles, and effects human facilitate to harm their environment etc.  And by being in the country and witnessing their culture, the knowledge and information I learned impacted me more that a classroom could ever do.

That being said, I took the opportunity early and jumped on the opportunity to participate in a high school study abroad program that I was interested in and something I wanted to pursue in the future. And knowing what you want to do early, gives you a better outlook and more of a guided visual of how to achieve your goals and dreams. Age and grade is not a limit here. And by taking advantage of high school study abroad programs, you might even open more doors.

What I learned from traveling to Trinidad

Yeah, it might seem scary and overwhelming since you are flying overseas as a young teen, but by doing so, I forced myself to learn how to be independent and learned how to live on my own without my parents. This ranges from cooking and cleaning for myself to completing assignments on time. And with that force, I thought the transition from high school to college and adulthood wasn’t as painful or stressful compared to a lot of my peers.

Also, high school study abroad programs really teaches you what you are learning and how it will apply or approach the real world. Sometimes a lot of students don’t know how to apply or use their major in their life but by participating in a study abroad program, you can really see and apply what you learn to better the society and satisfy yourself with a rewarding job.

As a word of advice, take the opportunity if you get the chance. The experience will be worth every penny and more. And the knowledge you’ll gain will forever be used in your college career and your future. But what if a high school study abroad program is out of your reach? That’s completely fine as well. You still have time to take advantage of this opportunity later during college.

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Janet Lee

Janet Lee

Janet Lee is a senior at University of California, Davis double majoring in Psychology and Communications. She spends most of her time on campus, whether it's in the library or at work. During her free time, she enjoys online shopping, listening to podcasts, and reading NPR with her latte at her local cafe.
Janet Lee

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