It is a big step for a student and their family to decide to go away to study abroad, especially when the student is a teenager and it’s their first time away from home.

An academic year abroad in a state school is a great opportunity for those who would like to stretch themselves further academically, build their confidence and have a wonderful experience that will certainly stand out on a college application.

We thought we might list the best benefits of taking an academic year abroad, wherever in the world you may go. (The UK is the most cost effective and convenient destination for European students as it is close and EU students are eligible to join a state school as well as a private one).

So here is our top 5 benefits. Maybe you would like to add more in the comments below:

1. You become a student of the world

Studying abroad is a great way to meet people from all over the world. Although, being in a state school is typically 90% English children and schools do not accept many international students as the demand for places locally must be met, the chance to meet and immerse in a new culture is a chance not to be missed as it is rare. For a European student to be accepted into a state school, they must have an excellent level of English as well as be academically capable. It is a privilege to be a part of this and will open up your mind to the different ways that schools teach, cultures and families live. Most students after doing this will get the bug for travelling and might do a year abroad somewhere else in university, maybe a volunteer placement abroad after university, maybe a secondment abroad when working. More possibilities open up through the places you go and the friends you make.

2. You become independent and mature

It’s not about growing up too fast, it’s about that maturity that comes about from the self-sufficiency someone learns when they are away from home. With no parents to look over their shoulder, students need to learn to do things for themselves like take a bus, complete their homework without prompting or remember their sister’s birthday! The English education system encourages a lot of critical thinking and research which is different to a lot of cultures and students will need to learn to motivate themselves.

3. You become self sufficient

Away from home, students need to make new friends by themselves, get to know their teachers and host families. No one else is going to do it for them. This could be the push that a shy student needs to start afresh. The world isn’t the scary place that you think it is. People are patient, people are kind and seeing that first hand is the encouragement someone needs to take those first steps.

4. You learn to academically challenge yourself further

If a student is already academically bright and perhaps not finding age appropriate lessons challenging anymore, then a year abroad is the perfect solution. Not only are they still learning their academic subjects, but they are also doing it in their second language – a challenge by anyone’s standards. Also many state schools focus on particular disciplines like arts or sports or science, meaning that picking the right state school means that you can stretch your learning further in your desired discipline and learn from some very experienced and accomplished teachers.

5. Your confidence will grow

How can it not? You have challenged yourself, you have put yourself out of your comfort zone, thrived from your own internal resources. You could do anything!

inlingua Cheltenham have a small number of state schools who they work with who are happy to accept students from the European Union. You can find out more about the programme in our brochure, or contact us for further information.