I think the more growing experiences a young person can get can only be beneficial to their development as a whole, and good luck to them all, that’s what I say. Spending a year or two traveling to other countries without family members in tow has long been considered a rite of passage among American and European youths in particular, and marks the transition to adulthood.
You often hear about people putting off college for a year in order to backpack through Europe and "find themselves." While that sounds like a fun time, it's not always possible to put everything on hold for a whole year, especially if you've been accepted to a top college that won't allow you to defer your enrollment. But it's not always necessary to leave school in order to travel. Instead, you should apply to become a foreign exchange student.
Foreign exchange students not only have the opportunity to live and travel abroad, but also to attend school and earn credits towards their diploma or degree back home while they do so. This would allow you to have all of the wonderfully enriching experiences that come from living in a whole new environment without having to push back your graduation date. Many foreign exchange students report that this graduation factor had the biggest impact on parental approval. After all, not many parents out there would be willing to pay for a year abroad plus an extra year of high school expenses or college tuition at home.
A lot of people are under the impression that foreign exchange students have to be fluent in another language in order to qualify as a study-abroad candidate. This is true in some cases, especially for those would-be foreign exchange students who want to live in places where English is not an official language. But even when there is a language requirement, it's doubtful that you would have to be fluent in order to be accepted into the program. Most foreign exchange students want to live abroad in order to improve their language abilities; not many are fluent right from the start. Even if you don't speak another language, it is still possible to travel and study abroad. Each year, thousands of foreign exchange students head off to exciting destinations in Canada, England, New Zealand, and Australia.
Many foreign exchange students participate in programs offered directly through their high schools or universities. However, smaller schools might not have a study abroad program at all or might not have programs established in the country that you want to visit. In cases like these, you should check out a company that specializes in placing foreign exchange students with host families. These companies usually have arrangements with numerous host families around the world, as well as with the local school districts, which increases your chances of being able to live and study in the country of your choice. So while other foreign exchange students are just going to the usual destinations like Spain and France, you'll be able to choose more exotic places.
Becoming a foreign exchange student can be a life-changing experience for you. In addition to learning about a whole new culture, you'll also have the chance to form friendships that will last a lifetime. So check out a foreign exchange student placement service today and you could be studying abroad as early as next semester.