Travel and the College Experience
There are many travel and study options available to today’s adventuresome student. Study abroad programs, taking a gap year, or even going to an overseas school are all ways that students gain an education and see a little more of the world while they’re at it.
With the range of study abroad programs geared towards high school students today, students don’t need to wait until college to take part. Often high schools will participate in ‘swap’ programs, where students from different countries are paired up and take turns ‘hosting’ each other. Check with your high school guidance counsellor to see what programs might exist at your school.
As with high schools, many colleges are now offering study abroad programs for their students. These usually take place in the upper years of college programs, and may require students to maintain a certain grade level to be eligible. If your high school student is interested in studying abroad, be sure to look into what international experience programs are available at colleges they are checking out. Students should also take time to think about which country they might like to study in- unless they’re fluent in Spanish, they might have a better time at a university in England than Spain. Students who are itching to travel should also look at the academic calendars of host universities – many education institutions in Europe take the entire month of April off for Easter holidays – perfect travel time!
Rather than travelling while part of a study program, some students opt to take a year or two off between high school and college. While private travel does offer unstructured adventure, there are benefits to organizing your travel around a study abroad program. Academic institutions can offer rewarding social experiences, as well as resources and support. As students usually pay the tuition fees of their home university, things like accommodation (think of your dorm room as an affordable hotel!) and rail passes (many require you to be a registered student to receive a discount) can be significantly cheaper than if you went it alone.
Finally, there is the option of actually going to college outside of the US. There are benefits to choosing this option – especially if your student is looking at specialized programs that are only available out of the country – but the international fees that many colleges charge today can be significant. Other factors, such as cost of living, length of study and visa requirements, should be considered prior to making a decision.
In all, there are many opportunities available to today’s jet-setting student. Knowing what experience you’re looking for – and how much you can afford – are important factors to consider when deciding on the perfect travel and study option.