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How studying abroad enhances the high school experience

How studying abroad enhances the high school experience

High school is a critical time for students, and not only because it’s the time in which academic grades matters most. These years are crucial for personal development and for shaping the identities that turn teenagers into young adults. So how can you get the most positive outcome from this testing time?

There are many reasons why thousands of teenagers decide to study abroad every year, but a main one is that it’s simply a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Moving your child to another country for their education is a great way to make the most of their final years in school. Here are just a few of the ways in which this international adventure can enhance your child’s high school experience.

Find their independence

Being far from home during high school can be challenging for students and their families, but it’s also the perfect time for teenagers to develop their independence in a safe, sheltered environment. Whether your child lives with a host family or at a boarding school while studying abroad, they will become the number one person responsible for themselves. Without you, the parents, around to set their daily routine, your child will learn how to maintain a healthy work-life balance for themselves and gain maturity along the way. Learning to manage their time, schoolwork and budget while looking after themselves and their health is great preparation for university.

Discover another culture – and themselves

Studying abroad during high school is a great way for your child to explore a new culture firsthand. Learning through experience has been shown to be one of the most effective ways of assimilating knowledge, and there is no shortage of experiences to be had while studying abroad! Living in a foreign country will teach your child valuable lessons about the world and, in turn, themselves: research has shown that people who live abroad develop a stronger sense of self than many who don’t. If your child goes to an international high school abroad, the number of cultures they get to learn from through their peers multiplies exponentially. Being exposed to new perspectives at this age will help your child form their worldview – an increasingly essential skill in our globalized society.

English immersion

It’s widely known that young people learn languages much faster and more easily than adults. A year’s worth of English lessons in your home country doesn’t come close to the language skills your child can learn through immersion by studying in the US or UK. When the world around you functions in your second language, you are forced to adapt – and fast. Learning to communicate in a global language such as English will give your child an advantage for opportunities later in life. If your child has aspirations to go to university in the UK or US, perfecting their English in high school is an even more important focus that can be achieved by studying abroad.

Make lifelong friends around the world

Friendships are an essential part of a good high school experience. By studying abroad, your child will make friends they wouldn’t otherwise get to meet. With so much to learn from one another, cross-cultural friendships never get boring. Afterwards, when your child returns home, the world will seem a little bit closer knowing that they have friends in another part of the world. This is particularly true for students who study at international schools abroad; the sheer diversity of the students around them can easily make them friends from dozens of countries around the world and form the basis of a valuable global network.

A reason to get excited for school

There’s a reason why many people look back at high school as the best years of their life, but the pressure to achieve the highest grades possible can take away much of the enjoyment. When studying abroad, the novelty of being in foreign surroundings keeps students excited about school and can motivate them to participate more in class or excel in assignments. When you study abroad, just as much learning is done outside of the classroom as inside it. Everyday interactions in a foreign place become learning opportunities and make the process of learning by exploring all the more enjoyable.

Memories to last a lifetime

A lot of parents assume that their child will have the chance to live abroad in university or at some point in their career. But why wait? Responsibilities get you down with age and sometimes the opportunity is lost. Make sure your child doesn’t miss the chance to form memories that will transform their high school experience.

A positive study abroad journey pushes high school students out of their comfort zones in all the right ways. The healthy attitudes they develop towards broadening their horizons and pursuing more are qualities that will stand out in their university applications. Not all students have the privilege to study abroad in high school, but those who do come out of the experience with lifelong memories, confidence in themselves and closer to becoming the global citizens that will lead our world of tomorrow.


EF Academy International Boarding Schools opens a world of opportunities for high school students by providing them with a superior education abroad, thorough preparation for university and a future that knows no borders.

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