The article highlighted below, written by Patrick Stephenson, former speechwriter for the NATO secretary-general, is a good piece on the value of studying abroad in high school. He touches on several topics I think important:
- Encouraging U.S. students to study abroad: critical, in my opinion, for all the other reasons mentioned below.
- Making study abroad more accessible to a wider group of potential students. Study abroad has always suffered from only being available to those who can afford it.
- Long-term benefits from study abroad: learning another language and culture, improving one’s resume for college and future job prospects, learning about one’s own capabilities.
- Importance in a global economy of having citizens who understand the world just a bit more.
I also thought this article was, in a way, a nice tribute to the bravery and motivation of the high school students around the world who take the leap and study abroad as teenagers without really having a clue about what lies before them.
As Stephenson notes:
Studying abroad is, first and foremost, an instructive exercise in failure. . . . the lesson you learn — that initial setbacks, patience and work are the prerequisites for eventual success — is more important than an A in Calculus. That lesson can’t be taught. It must be learned firsthand. A high school year abroad is a quick and dirty way to discover just how ignorant you are. As such, it’s the door to a lifetime of learning and discovery.
You can read Stephenson’s article here: Why High School Students Should Study Abroad.