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Going to an International School

By Nvid Lada Subscribe to RSS | January 16th 2012 | Views:

Going to an international school can provide a number of wonderful benefits. It offers the opportunity to gain a different type of understanding and perspective that would be impossible to obtain within the borders of the United States. For students looking to experience these benefits, they should take care to make preparations to get the most out of their study abroad experience. Anyone can get a passport and hop on an airplane to a foreign nation - that is called a vacation. Going to an international school involves a completely different level of experience and learning than a vacation could ever provide. Here is a look at some important factors to keep in mind when going to college internationally:

Language: Unless the student is heading to the United Kingdom or Australia, odds are heavy that he/she will encounter some form on a language barrier. Having some knowledge of the base language for the country being traveled to will certainly come in handy for any student. This is not quite as important in Europe (where most citizens know some English) as it might be in Asia or South America, but knowing the local language will pay off just about anywhere.

Culture: It is critical to have some basic knowledge of the host country's cultural beliefs and idiosyncrasies. Certain types of behavior that would be considered acceptable in the United States might not be acceptable in other countries, and vice versa. Some gestures that Americans typically make have completely different meanings in other parts of the world to the point of being insulting. It is important to learn the basics before leaving for the international school and to keep the eyes open to these cultural aspects once there.

Home Connection: The most common problem encountered by international students is homesickness. Even those who are most excited about studying abroad still find that they miss their friends and family back home. It is important to make time to keep some connection back to home. Make sure to make time to talk to family and friends whenever possible. That link can keep the students grounded and help them to gain perspective on what they are learning as they connect to those back home.

School: One thing that is often forgotten in the study abroad experience is... the studying! It is critical to remember that the primary purpose of going to an international school is to still to learn - that part has not changed compared to going to school in the US. The classroom may be different and unique, but students still have to put time into hitting the books, taking notes, paying attention in class, and - yes - even taking exams. Going to school abroad is a tremendous opportunity; do not blow the school part.

Enjoyment: Now, even taking the previous point into account - still make sure to have fun! Going to a foreign nation is a unique experience that not everybody gets the chance to accomplish. Students should do their best to take advantage of it. Learn from that country's educational system, but also experience its recreational riches.

I would encourage any student who has the opportunity to study abroad to take it. It is an opportunity that likely will not come around again. But it is also a decision that requires responsibility and sacrifice. It is not all fun and games...but it is some fun and games!

Nvid Lada - About Author:
Going to an international school can provide a number of wonderful benefits.

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