15 Ways International Travel Changes Teens for the Better

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It’s never too early to start traveling. Experiencing different places, people, and cultures will change any high school student’s worldview, career path, and relationships. Travel brings to life the history that is learned in the classroom, while also providing valuable life lessons. International travel is more than just a trip to another country; it has the potential to completely change the life of high school students forever!

Backpackers hiking in the mountains

Hiking through the mountains

Here are 15 ways high school students will be changed forever (for the better) through international travel programs

1. Their Minds Will Be Broadened.

Immersion into another culture shows students firsthand the way other people live in different countries around the world. Seeing both the similarities and the differences between a foreign land and the way they grew up will instill in them a new sense of wonder for the world and will encourage them to question and strengthen their own values.

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2. They Will Become More Employable.

Times are changing, and more and more employers are valuing global experience and looking for it on every resume. Down the road when it’s time to look for a job, international travel will help students stand out when compared to their peers who simply stayed at home.

Traveling teaches students all kinds of skills and life lessons that can’t be learned in a classroom.

Walking through Cleeve Hill, Cheltenhamm, England

Cleeve Hill, Cheltenhamm, England

3. They Will Learn to Solve Problems Better.

Not everything goes as planned while traveling abroad; flights get delayed, people get lost, and miscommunications can occur. Dealing with these kinds of challenges in an unfamiliar environment requires creativity and quick thinking, which are both critical skills for problem solving.

4. They Will Discover the Kindness of Humanity.

The world can be cruel at times, and we see a lot of hatred and violence shown across all different forms of media and news reports. Whether it’s their warm-hearted homestay mother or the nice gentleman who shows them the way to the museum, traveling can show students that there is so much more kindness in the world than evil.

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5. They Can Learn a New Language.

International travel programs are the best way to learn a new language. Constantly being surrounded by a foreign language and being forced to speak it in order to communicate will help students speed up their comprehension of the language much faster than learning it out of context within the four walls of an English speaking classroom.

6. They Will Begin to Feel Grateful for Their Life at Home.

Homesickness and culture shock are facts of life on the road, and sometimes all it takes is a little perspective to deepen our gratitude for where we’re from and the values our home culture has taught us, not to mention the modern conveniences we often take for granted.

Boy sitting on a ledge overlooking a city

Student traveler

7. They Will Appreciate Their Travel Experiences.

Reverse culture shock upon returning home is just as big of a deal as the initial culture shock many students experience during their first few days in a new country. Coming home and seeing the problems in your home country again, and realizing these aren’t problems in other parts of the world or vice versa, can spark both discomfort and inspiration. Students will start to think critically about why things “are the way they are” in their home country, and understand the diversity of life that exists across the world.

8. They Will Gain Confidence.

By being forced out of their comfort zone, students will develop increased confidence when navigating unfamiliar situations in their everyday lives. They’ll also learn how to hold strong boundaries and react if things do go wrong.

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9. They Will Make New Friends.

Traveling is a great way to meet new friends and create unforgettable memories with young people from all around the world. Some of the students who join you in traveling abroad may just become lifelong friends (and travel companions)!

Passengers boarding a flight

In flight

10. They Will Learn When to Plan, and When to Go With the Flow.

When students are on an organized program abroad, they’ll start out with a plan (or have one laid out for them by their program provider or tour guide). However, travel invites us to be spontaneous and open to opportunities for adventure as they unfold. High school students will develop the ability of being able to switch between following structured plans and going with the flow, a skill which will serve them in their future careers and creative pursuits.

11. They Will Fall In Love With Diversity.

Exotic flavors, beautiful natural sights, and vibrant people exist all around the world; students will start to seek out diversity in friends, food, and activities, even after they return home. That new Thai restaurant, the salsa dance studio down the street, and your local museum will suddenly seem incredibly exciting!

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12. They Will Discover Who They Really Are.

Traveling to a place where none of their normal activities, foods, or friends are available forces students to reevaluate who they are, even without their creature comforts. They’ll discover a deeper understanding of who they really are, independent of anything around them.

13. They Will Learn How to Stay Connected, No Matter Where They Are.

Being far away from family can be hard, so students will learn to get creative and keep in touch using all sorts of platforms. From Facebook and Skype to snail mail or starting a personal blog, students will ramp up their ability to connect with people everywhere in the world.

View of mountains from a plane window

View from the plane window

14. They Will Become Curious, Life-Long Learners.

Bored? That word won’t be part of their vocabulary anymore! Travelers know that the next interesting person is just a conversation away, and that they can learn anything new that they put their mind to, whether that’s a new custom, language, or MacGyver skill!

15. They’ll Become Known As The Adventurer Among Their Friends.

When they get back from their travels abroad, students will become the ones to inspire their friends to make the leap abroad. When friends see what a great time their peers had in another country, they’ll want to travel too, and they’ll know exactly which adventurers to ask for advice!

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