Throughout my middle and high school years, I’ve been lucky enough to study in a school where languages and travels are considered important. In fact, every year, we had a school trip, some of them abroad. That is how I got the chance of going to Rome in seventh grade and Florence in sophomore year.
However, those aren’t the only possibilities we’ve had of traveling abroad; based on which language we were studying, some of us got to go to Madrid, Barcelona, Salamanca, Frankfort, Hamburg or Köln. In addition, we could all visit Australia, New Zealand, New York, Cambridge and even Norwich. Although these trips were a little expensive (depending on the destination), I went on two of them and have had amazing experiences.
I am fully aware not every school offers this but if your school does, here is why you shouldn’t turn down the opportunity of going on an exchange trip abroad:
- First of all, let’s talk about the main goal of these trips: the language. You will find yourself in a pretty scary position– alone in a foreign family and country, having to speak a language other than your own. Depending on the one you’ve chosen to improve, this can be very challenging but very beneficial. In fact, this trip will force you to speak Spanish or German, for example, because you won’t have any other choice if you want to communicate with the people around you.
- It will allow you to discover a new city, a new country, and above all, a new culture and way of life. Because you are going to spend a week or more in a local family, you will share their days, activities, and meals. This is an opportunity you don’t want to miss as it is really hard to find in most “touristic” trips.
- Another positive point is, very simply, the people. Along with a new language and culture, you will discover new people, who you might become lifelong friends with. Cohabiting with a family you don’t know might be tough at first, but as you learn to know each other, you become a member of it and the worst lies in leaving them.
- Lastly, I want to acknowledge something that can cause problems: the price. Sometimes, it can be low and other times, pretty high. However, all in all, I’ve realized one thing: it is a great opportunity. As you’re leaving with your school and receiving the services you will later offer your exchange, the price asked will be way lower than if you were to go to this city by yourself, in a hotel.
So, if you are hesitating about taking an opportunity of this kind, I only have one thing to say: Do it! And if your school doesn’t organize exchanges, remember that there are a lot of organizations out there you can rely on like EF.