When I was young, a long time ago, my parents and my school teachers thought it would be a great experience for me to take a High School Exchange Programme in Germany. I was not very sure and rather scared but everyone told me about the benefits of International travel and how important it was for teens to study abroad.
The happy ending to the story was that I went to Germany on a High School Exchange Programme. I stayed with a great host family, whose daughter went to the same school as I did. I improved my German in a very short space of time and my confidence grew. I will never forget the experience or the people.
I now realise why travelling abroad is so important and if you as a student or your parents are considering you taking a High School Exchange Programme in the United Kingdom, then read some of the benefits on why you should be doing this….
It is very daunting for anyone to attend a new school and much more so if English is not your first language. Not only will you be nervous, but you will worry that you wont be understood. All very normal reactions if you come to study abroad in the UK. However, don’t worry!.
All of these UK High Schools are very well versed in how to welcome International Students from abroad and make them feel safe and secure. On your first day you will be introduced to a “ Buddy” who will show you around the school; take you to the canteen; help you with the Timetable and generally be your friend for the first week or so. Schools in the United Kingdom are either State Schools or Private Schools. Most European students would come and study “ free” at a State School. At an English State School you need to study until you are at least 16. You can not leave full time education before this time. There are many excellent state schools so do not think that because you are not paying, that the school education system is inferior. This is simply not true! If students stay on until they are 18 it is usually because they take A levels – Advanced Levels and want to attend University. Otherwise they look for a job or go to vocational colleges.
Jackie Verrall,MD of English Language Homestays
You will also need to wear school uniform, which will feel very strange to you, but don’t worry because in no time at all you will grow to love it. After all, it takes the worry out of what to wear that day!
Your High School in England will be one looked after by the UK Education Authorities so you know that they will follow an agreed and recognised curriculum. They will have standards and performances to meet and this ensures that the school in England you study in, fits all the right criteria to help you progress in English. Lessons will include all of the important subject such as English, of course. Mathematics; Science; History; Geography; Foreign Languages and of course Sport; Music; Drama and “ cookery” for fun.
Travelling abroad can be a worry but it has some great benefits. You will of course meet other International Students at your school, who will be from mainland Europe as well as further afield countries such as Japan; China and Brazil. These teens are also as worried as you will be on your first day and it will be great to make friends with these students whilst practising and improving your English together. It could be that you will also be sharing your Host Family with another International student from your school, so you will have someone to chat to in the evening and discuss the English school uniform and homework, of course. In fact many of the International students studying in the UK say that staying and living with their Host Family was one of the best things about this Programme. The host family will ensure you are happy at school and will often attend school events as your “ English parent!”. They will make sure your have the correct Uniform and promise not to laugh when you wear it! ?
Travelling abroad is important for each and everyone of us because it makes us independent and allows us to learn about other cultures and countries. It makes us more open minded and tolerant and these are just some of the benefits of international travel.
Some teens enjoy coming to England so much that they come for an Academic year which means by the time they complete their High School Exchange or Study Abroad in England Programme, their English is almost fluent. What an achievement for these students.
High School Programmes operate throughout the UK and you can chose your area and then find your school. Of course a lot of students want to visit the larger cities of London; Edinburgh or Manchester because of the vibrant population and lifestyle in those Cities. However, if you enjoy hobbies such as surfing then you could take a High School Abroad Programme in places such as Newquay where you can learn English and surf. Other students like the location of Brighton or Eastbourne. Its on the south coast, so the weather is better and it is only a short train ride to the Capital. Weekends can be spent in the summer learning to Paddleboard on the Beach on a Saturday and then spend Sunday in London seeing the many attractions there such as Big Ben; Houses of Parliament or Buckingham Palace.
Many of these carefully selected High Schools will also offer a social programme where you can take excursions or holidays with your school and this is another benefit to travelling abroad. You get to see so many amazing places in England, and not just the location where your school is.
All in all, the High School or Study Abroad Programme in the United Kingdom is one to be recommended to encourage teens to mature; become independent; tolerate other cultures; improve their English and just keep an open mind. As you progress to higher education or University, maybe even in England you will look back on your exchange year and realise all of the benefits to be had of travelling abroad.
So don’t be shy. Approach the Education Authorities in the UK and find your favoured location and school and once you are living with your English host family, you will wonder what took you so long.