Picture yourself strolling the cobblestone streets of Italy this summer, gelato in hand. Or, maybe you’re exploring the multifaceted beauty of Japan’s landscapes as you attend language classes and learn shodo (calligraphy). If you’re a nature lover, you could be sailing down the Amazon River in Brazil, encountering rainforest wildlife and swimming with pink dolphins.
Pretty nice, huh? Now, let’s take that picture and make it come to life this summer.
School has just ended, and you’ve got another academic year in the books. Rather than looking for a summer job, you’ve got bigger plans – studying abroad! While many of your friends will be away on vacation or working, you could be learning Spanish in Argentina, studying Mandarin in China, or taking on rainforest conservation in Costa Rica!
You won’t miss out on your school life at home, either. You’ll be back just in time to gush about your trip to your family and friends. Your teachers will love the real-world experience you’re sure to bring back to your classroom. Your guidance counselors and college advisors will, too – 88% of students reported gaining valuable experience for college and career from their summer abroad.
Full immersion in just a month or two
Cultural immersion is what AFS is all about. When you live within an unfamiliar culture in a concrete and meaningful way for an extended time, amazing things tend to happen. You can gain a deep connection to the people and communities with whom you’re living. And, you can begin to see how your own culture(s) influence your views, thoughts, and actions. Full immersion in language learning means communicating exclusively in the language you’re learning, in real life contexts, to rapidly absorb vocabulary and usage.
You might think that full immersion can only be achieved after many months, but that’s not the case. If you intend and commit to dive into a different culture or language, without reservation or resorting to your first language, you can have the same immersive experience in a summer.
Quickly gain language, intercultural, and personal skills
Many of our programs include both intensive language courses and full immersion homestays. Living with a host family lets you constantly practice your second language skills among local people outside your classes. Simply hearing a new language on a regular basis should help you absorb a wider vocabulary and proper pronunciation.
People who are bilingual can bridge cultures and communicate across more of the world. But the summer isn’t just for language learning – it’s also a time for developing intercultural fluency.
Multicultural experiences expand and diversify our perspectives, both on a local and global scale. By stretching outside your comfort zone, meeting new people from different backgrounds, and processing unexpected and unfamiliar information for a summer, you can improve your adaptability and creativity – “Creativity is about connecting dots… when someone enters a close relationship with a person from a different culture, they collect more dots to connect to the ones they already have.”
Many AFSers who return from studying abroad also boast of an increase in their confidence levels. They’re able to tackle a trip that might’ve seemed daunting at first and discover a newfound independence in the process. For many, this might be the first time they’ve traveled without their family or friends, so it’s an exciting new adventure!
When you’ve learned how to live abroad on your own, you’re likely to gain a greater sense of maturity and self-reliance. Obstacles will be easier to overcome because you already know you have what it takes to survive and thrive!
Focus on specific topics or goals
Summer’s also the perfect time to concentrate on particular subjects or goals while seeing more of the world. Our shortest summer options, Global Prep programs are designed to be 1 to 3-week deep-dives that mostly focus on UN Global Goals like Quality Education, Reduced Inequalities, Climate Action, Life on Water, and Life on Land. For instance, Kenya Wildlife Conservation and Masai Culture focuses on preserving and protecting Kenya’s vast natural beauty and targets eight of the UN Global Goals. If you’re interested in global citizenship, geopolitical challenges, and sustainable development solutions, our Inclusion and Equality in Hungary program invites students to participate in community service projects organized by NGO’s!
It won’t interfere with your school year AND you might even get better grades next year
It’s okay, we all have FOMO sometimes. But when you study abroad in the summer, you won’t have to worry about missing out on your school life back home! You’ll be back in time to stride confidently into a new school year. You won’t run any risk of missing essential credits.
Moreover, research suggests some students fall behind academically over summer vacations. Students who read and extend their studies in the summer do better and retain what they’ve learned during the academic year. After your summer study abroad trip, it’s likely you’ll return in the fall and get better grades as a result of keeping your brain active and pushing your limits in a new place and unfamiliar culture!
You can always go back for a semester or year before or during college
Once a global citizen, always one… AFSNext offers programs for adults 18+ to study, volunteer, teach, and intern abroad. This also includes Gap Year programs ranging from 1-48 weeks. AFSNext works with you to build a Gap Year tailored to your individual interests, skills, timeline, and budget.
So, are you ready to have an eye-opening summer? Feel free give us a call or shoot us an email at [email protected] or 1-800-AFS-INFO for help finding your ideal program.