“If you keep your mind open,” 2015 Carmel High graduate Bryce Bishop says, “foreign exchange can teach you more than you will learn in the entirety of your high school career.”
Studying abroad is a way that students can take advantage of their education by going out into the world and gaining first-hand experiences and knowledge unlike any other.
Bishop, for instance, studied abroad in Spain for the second semester of his sophomore year. He explains, however, that this was not originally something he had considered.
“My parents didn’t really give my sister and me a choice,” Bishop explains. “However, studying abroad was probably the best thing they have ever forced me to do.”
Unlike Bishop, senior Zoee Johnston’s motivations to study abroad came from within. Johnston studied in Bellavista, Spain, for the second semester of her sophomore year.
Her love for traveling, desire for immersing herself in a new culture and hopes of improving her Spanish-speaking skills led her to embark on an education across the Atlantic.
“The benefits of studying abroad are endless,” Johnston says. “I am a much more independent person, and I am comfortable traveling to other countries.”
Although both Bishop and Johnston remark on the variety of rewards, they also mention the many challenges of being in an entirely different environment.
“Even though I already had a strong background in Spanish, the first few days of school I would come home and practically pass out because it was so exhausting trying to keep up with what everyone was saying,” Bishop says.
Johnston, who had studied and lived abroad entirely on her own, remembers that being so far from her home was often challenging at times.
CHS counselor Jeff Schatz champions the idea of studying abroad, noting that it is a useful experience for students to have that exposes them to a new culture early on in their lives.
Sophomore Megan Hungate is looking forward to studying abroad in Ireland for the second semester of her junior year. Hungate plans to reunite with family members in Ireland with whom she will be living.
“I’m hoping to gain an understanding of a new culture and discover the roots of my ancestors, while making connections with my family and friends,” Hungate explains.
Due to the variety of options available, students who are interested in studying abroad should contact their counselor for more information.