But the truth is, high school study abroad isn’t only about emotional and personal growth. It also positively impacts your college applications, including how you explain why you’re choosing your major, applying for specialized scholarships, and proving you’re the right candidate for the school.
I know what you’re thinking: but what about the gaps on my transcript, or if I don’t get credit for the classes I take abroad?! (pro-tip: read this blog post if you’re worried about transferring credits!) Well I’ve got news for you! It’s okay. And those gaps are easily explained in essays and open-ended questions on the application.
Here are the top 4 ways studying abroad in high school positively impacts your college application.
When I spoke to Kyle, an admissions officer at the University of Chicago, he said, “Anything that makes your application stand out is a good thing.”
Study abroad in high school takes guts – and that’s a good thing. We’re not afraid to tell you it’s going to be hard sometimes, especially when it comes to facing language barriers, making new friends, and navigating a whole new culture and host family. But what do struggles mean? Growth.
When life gets hard and we learn to solve problems and overcome challenges, we reap the benefits across the board, but we also have a great story to tell – a story that is sure to help you write a heartfelt, powerful admissions essay.
Plus, your high school study abroad shows you have the maturity, independence and adaptability to hit the ground running when you get to college, and there’s nothing that pleases an admissions officer more than feeling confident you’ll make their school shine.
“A lot of schools are looking for a diverse perspective, and international experiences lend themselves to that,” Kyle said.
After studying abroad, you’ll have some specialized and specific knowledge – and probably language skills – that will allow you to find specific scholarships for what you’re looking to study.
For example, Sierra Winters, a current full-ride Robertson Scholar at Duke University, found her passion for food systems and refugees while studying abroad with Greenheart Travel in Austria, and came back to the U.S. to fundraise for the Syrian Refugee Crisis efforts. “It was a challenging experience, and it was one that I was passionate about, and it lent me the genuineness for which colleges and scholarship programs are looking,” she says.
Plus, after you’ve spent a semester studying abroad in a high school where you don’t know the language and have had to make presentations in front of tons of students…. Speaking about your experience to an interviewer will be a breeze!
Studying abroad in high school opens you to a world of possibilities that you’ve probably never thought of. Seeing what’s out there will help you hone in your skills and passions before you start college. The average college student changes their major several times before graduation and, while we love exploration, it’s better for your pocket and time to already have a clear sense of what you want to study.
Greenheart Travel High School Abroad in Argentina alum Erin Clark went to Argentina in 2013 thinking she wanted to study business. Once she got to Argentina, she realized she was far more interested in the travel industry. She decided she wanted to study hospitality and tourism, and “that changed what universities I was looking at, and that’s how I found Niagara University,” she explains.
Imagine how different her life would be now if she hadn’t studied abroad!
You might have already heard the phrase “travel bug.” It means that once you get a taste, you want to eat the whole cake! All of us at Greenheart Travel have the travel bug, and we see that as a good thing.
Once you see the life-changing experience of studying abroad in high school, you’ll be inspired to seek out more new and different experiences, like volunteer trips, internships, discovering new places and meeting new people.
“[Study Abroad] put my foot in the door for any job I want – I’m always the first to apply for jobs and I’m very driven, and I go out and get things done,” says Clark.
That’s an attitude that will positively affect every aspect of your life!