Bridge to Adulthood
By: Christophe Chabaudie
Ideally, childhood and adolescence should be the best part of our life, one spent under the careful watch of parents. It’s a time when positive, impactful experiences help you learn, grow, and understand who you want to become as an adult. Sponsoring your child’s first independent trip abroad is, for parents, a way to show that major changes are on the horizon.
Summer outdoor camps and sleepovers seemed to have happened just yesterday, yet they already belong to another chapter of a teen’s life. Soon enough it will be time to discuss college options and career orientation. One of the best transitions and a “first taste” of real life as a young adult is a summer language immersion program abroad: it shows students what it’s truly like to be away from home. Carefully selected homestay families, a healthy balance of classes and activities, keeping students engaged, and independent time in a safe setting all come together to help each student grow in the comfort of a supervised group.
Parents are the main vectors of change and will suggest when they feel the time is right for their student to embark on a unique learning adventure abroad. “My mom wanted me to study abroad in Spain” says Lauren Williams from Lexington, SC. “She had not been able to do it herself and wanted me to do it while I was in high school to improve my Spanish and gain some independence as well. I left at age 16 for a month long immersion program in Salamanca. I am grateful she insisted I do it during my junior year. It has brought me so much.”
The world we live in allows minimal improvisation while traveling, and safety is always the number one priority. A summer abroad early in a teen’s life can take the form of a language immersion or community service program. Giving teens some real life experience and independence is crucial at their time of transition to adulthood. Travel experience and wise decisions don’t automatically come with a high school diploma. The trip to Europe that high school seniors sometimes take after graduation has become popular during the past few decades, but unfortunately it’s often done without any previous travel experience. The gradual learning of independence and the first experience in a foreign culture are better with supervision. It is especially beneficial when it is done for a purpose like improving the use of a foreign language and building meaningful life experiences worth sharing in your college essay.
Take advantage of the short opportunity during a student’s high school years that can make a difference in their education and future. Scholarships are a huge help that can bring students from diverse horizons together on a study abroad adventure.
Each approach is personal, as the right time is always best determined by parents, but it will definitely be the most beneficial experience before college. On a scale of the most impactful experiences for a high school student, teen study abroad definitely ranks high for all the right reasons. It is a bridge to adulthood and adventures abroad that only parents can help make possible.
A Current State Of Affairs
Keeping the Pulse on Operations: Our hands-on approach allows us to organize the best experience for our students.
Study Abroad Destinations for Teens: The Seemingly Overwhelming Selection The Spanish Speaking World Offers.