Planning your School Year Abroad ! Nacel Checklist Step 1

The appeal of taking a break from school and discovering new horizons through a school exchange is a dream for many students. The choice of destinations, based on second language skills, brings up mental images full of exotic promise. The following step by step checklist will help you work out if you are ready to turn your dream into reality. Step One : STEADY ASK yourself these five questions to decide if you meet the fundamental requirements to consider a school exchange abroad.

  • Are you the right age? If you are under 13, then youll need to wait until you reach the minimum age for our programs. At 13 you can choose between Ireland, Australia and New Zealand At 14 go to Germany, Italy and Spain in Europe or Argentina, Chile, Mexico and USA private high schools in the Americas. At 15 the world is your oyster, although there are a couple of programs in the UK and France where youll have to wait until you're 16. At 17, youd better hurry as its the last year you can travel on most programs although a few are available until your 18th year.

  • Do you speak the language? Remember that in most cases your native language will not be used in a school abroad. You need to have at least two years of language study before you can consider going abroad. Think how miserable youd be were far away from home and with no-one to talk to.

  • Have you told your parents? They will have something to say about you going to study abroad! They will be your greatest ally and the most important source of support: practical, emotional and financial, as you prepare your trip and during your time away from home.

  • Have you thought about cost? Doing a high school abroad is expensive, starting at over $3,500 for one term in Chile and going up to over $20,000 for a whole year in Australia. On top of that youll need to budget for additional costs such as visas, flights, insurance, books, uniforms and more.

  • Are you ready? If you got through the first 4 questions, then ask yourself if you could leave your home, your family and friends for months at a time and go to a country where everything is different: the climate, the food, the schedule and especially the way of life. Here are some skills that will make it easier for you to adapt to having your life turned upside down:
  • Do you help out at home? Nothing will please your host family more than having a guest willing to help out with family chores. It will also bring you closer and help you integrate into family life more quickly.

  • Have you traveled before? If youve already traveled abroad and been aware of the differences with your own culture and struggled to get yourself understood, then you know what to expect.

  • Can you disconnect? Youll have a better chance of making new friends and settling into your life abroad if you dont spend your time talking to your family and friends back home. Skype may be free but it will cost you the opportunity to make the most of your new surroundings.

If you think youve made the grade come back next week to find out about step two!

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