Being Treated Like a Kid in the USA
It’s tempting to consider enrolling in a high school exchange student program. Here in the States, everyone says you’re supposed to grow up and act responsibly but then they–the adults–take away all the opportunities you might have to demonstrate your maturity. You can’t drink until you’re 21 and now, depending on where you live, there are all kinds of restrictions on when you can drive and how many passengers can be in the car. There are even some states that stipulate how old passengers have to be to ride with you. I mean, look, they even restrict what movies you can see with those ridiculous ratings.
Factors Influencing When You Might Want to Be An Exchange Student
There are many reasons to consider going during the high school, college or even both periods of your education. Factors influencing when you might want to study abroad include cost, your focus (literacy versus a subject of study), your degree of maturity, the length of the program, current or anticipated family issues and the subject(s) or major you wish to study. There are also issues that will need to be addressed regardless of whether you decide to go now or wait. You will need to have an up-to-date U.S. passport to leave the country and any necessary documents–including a student visa–to enter your country of destination. A student travel insurance policy is also a necessity, regardless of your age, in the event that you become ill or injured during your stay as an exchange student.
Benefits of Going As A High School Exchange Student Instead of Waiting for College
Yes, you can drink wine in France and other European countries. But, really, is that the main reason that you want to study overseas right now? Let’s look at a few other benefits that might actually enlist the support of your parents in this adventure and provide lasting benefits throughout your lifetime.
- While high school exchange student programs often last for a semester, there are also a variety of program durations to better meet your needs if you’re unable to commit that much time to a program because of varsity sports or other commitments.
- High school programs usually require less fluency in your host country’s language. Indeed, improving your language skills is often a major program focus.
- Most high school age exchange students are placed with host families with whom they live for the duration of their stay. You might have less independence, but you will have the support of a family willing to help you make necessary transitions and best learn the culture. This is often a challenge markedly underestimated by travelers.
- You will remain able to act like the teenaged high school student that you are. Many other cultures demand a much greater demonstration of emotional maturity by college and university students.
Do Your Homework
In addition to all the information available on the Internet, make an appointment and speak with your high school guidance counselor. He or she may be familiar with particular programs that have proved to be beneficial to some of your classmates. Ask for references of any program and keep your parent or parents involved in helping to make this decision.