Life in a foreign country is very enticing. And, it is a great opportunity to take the plunge for any high school student. Fortunately, programs are available to allow high school students to spend summer in another country as an exchange student. However, there are various things different from your usual environment in a new country. Here are things you won’t regret knowing before going abroad as an exchange student.
Other people speak English too
Before boarding the plane, you are obviously going to worry about the problem of a language barrier in the new country. Well, more people today speak English than you can imagine. People in other countries have local dialects but speak English too. This is the official language in many countries across the globe and the mode of communication in schools and universities.
However, it pays to research your destination country and to learn a few phrases in the local language. Although you are likely to meet students speaking more English than their local language, knowing some local phrases will help you appeal to natives more. Knowledge of the local language will make you not appear a foreigner especially when stranded and need assistance to find your way.
A Smile and nod does wonders
Enrolling for any of the high school study abroad summer programs has immense benefits to your academic and professional career. However, you have to keep in mind that you are on your own in a foreign country. You are likely to face situations where you have no idea about what is happening around you. Never fear to ask around for assistance or ask the host family to introduce you to the new things you might not have an idea bout.
When talking to a stranger for assistance, a smile will make them give you a warm welcome. Additionally, a simple laugh with a nod during a group conversation is enough to void attracting unnecessary attention. Understand how to behave through various situations including when you have to answer a confusing question. A smile when facing a perplexing situation will give you the confidence to sail through.
You live in a new environment
As an exchange student, you are to live with a host family. So, you have to be prepared to adjust to the new environment. It might take you a few days before you become confident to pick a snack from the kitchen without asking. However, you have to understand how to behave in different situations. This is very important to ensure that you get along with the host family.
Do some chores, spend time having meals as a family, and try talking to them in their language. This is very important to enhance bonding and to improve your knowledge of the local language. Life is not the same in all countries but having an open mind makes settling in easier. This requires understanding the little things that differ from life in your home country.
Know what works for you
As noted above, it is very important to adjust to the new environment. This requires knowing what works for you. Ensure to collect as much information as possible about the host country before boarding the plane. Equally important is strictly adhering to rules and regulations from the exchange company. However, this is your time to discover the unknown. So, never hesitate to indulge in things that keep you happy and motivated as long as you don’t cross the line. The rule of thumb is to look for things that will keep you happy.
It is okay to feel homesick for some time but this doesn’t have to ruin your experience. This is a wonderful moment for self-discovery and to make own decisions. You have to embrace any moments with the prospect of helping you make the most of this experience. Study abroad is an ideal moment for emotional maturity to ensure that by the time you get back, you understand what you are to do in college.
Make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
High school study abroad will give you a chance to make own decisions. To make the most of this experience doesn’t require making huge plans regularly. Saying yes more than saying will allow you to make the most of this experience. However, sometimes you have to say no to going out just to spend more time indoors with your host family. Utilize any moments to explore the city with a friend and check out local attractions you have been learning about in class.
Spending summer as an exchange student abroad is a wonderful experience. It offers an opportunity to explore the world, learn a new language, and to get immersed in a foreign culture. Making the most of this experience requires having an open mind and to know what works for you.