Geoffrey knew that studying abroad in high school would broaden his cultural horizons and build his independence, but the impact went far beyond that.
After traveling to Italy from Springfield, Illinois, Geoffrey explained, “I’ve learned I can do much more than I ever thought possible. This is thanks to AFS and a generous scholarship that made this incredible, awe-inspiring, unforgettable, irreplaceable, exciting year of my life possible.”
As a leader in international student exchange for more than 70 years, AFS-USA enables high school students as young as 14 years of age to immerse themselves in another country and culture, helping them become global citizens.
Most people recognize immediately that full immersion is the best way to learn a second language. And, it’s clear that international experiences are eye-opening and just fun.
At first, the myriad of other benefits of studying abroad go deeper and may be harder to spot. Studying abroad can challenge and change fundamental assumptions about how the world works. Without exposure to other cultures, it’s hard to understand how one’s own culture tacitly influences our perceptions, thoughts and communication styles. Without this intercultural understanding, it’s quite challenging to connect and cooperate with people from different backgrounds. Now more than ever, we need to work together, across typical divides.
Those who study abroad also develop skills that are essential in an increasingly globalized society, such as critical thinking, creativity, self-confidence, resilience, problem-solving skills, adaptability, global awareness and intercultural communication and collaboration. In addition, it’s impressive to have a study abroad experience on a college application.
Ultimately, for AFS-USA, the impact of study abroad is powerfully simple: fostering peace through intercultural understanding and global competence. AFS-USA is the largest organization within an international network that includes 60 partners around the globe. Each year, approximately 1,000 U.S. students travel abroad with AFS-USA, many of them with financial aid or scholarships.
Students interested in going abroad with AFS can email sfoery1@rochester.rr.com or call (585) 683-5577.