plane-50893_1920 As a high school senior writing for MERGE Inc., I wanted to research topics that I am interested in and that would benefit others, so I have interviewed three people who have studied abroad so that you, and myself, can get a better view of what it is like to study abroad, tips they have, and any information they think would be beneficial to the aspiring study-abroad student. Our three interviewees were from different age ranges and walks of life and we are glad to present them and their information to you!



Mano del Desierto in Chile (cr to hbieser)

Our first interviewee was Maria from Chile. She studied abroad in high school when she was a junior for a whole year. Maria studied in Flagtown, New Jersey with a host family through the program Youth for Understanding. She decided to study in the US because her father realized that the US offered many opportunities, and because of the mix of people, and the chance to learn English in a multicultural, cosmopolitan area.   Here are the questions we asked her:

  1. In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of studying abroad?

For a teenager it means a lot because it isn’t just about learning a new language and living in a new place, it is about changing your whole environment. It is more of a challenge for you as a person because you are managing yourself in a new culture different than the place you are from. It makes your life different in the sense of becoming more independent. You also get a global view of different aspects of life. Living abroad and studying abroad makes you grow, understand how things happen in different places, and allows you to make new opinions about events happening all over the world. Learning English has been beneficial. It allows me to exchange experiences with more people and make more connections. It is also good for traveling all over. It has helped me a lot. I don’t think there are really cons, maybe, the fact that you have to leave your family which means a lot–especially to those are homesick or have never lived away from home. It is such a challenge, sometimes it is a challenge to even get around in your own country alone [as a teen]. It is sometimes a reason for some people to quit the program. They get homesick. When I was in the USA, I knew about people who were in my program and they had some troubles and had to go back to Chile. Another con, at least for me, was that I had to repeat one year in Chile of high school because the education was not the same in comparison to the USA. So, I had to start college later.

  1. Did studying abroad impact your career?

I think it impacted what I am doing right now. I did not have much information about my current career, but living with my host family gave me a lot of ideas of things I wanted to do later. My host family’s mom had a career that I liked at the time. Now I am a medical technologist just like her! I work in a laboratory and I analyze biological samples. In Chile it is a common career. In terms of what I acquired studying abroad helping me later on: learning English helped a lot. I did a master’s degree in Spain, so, I could speak in Spanish, but I had some courses in English. I had to write and read a lot in English. A lot of my peers asked for help with translating their Spanish papers into English because they did not have the opportunity to learn it in high school like I had.

  1. Would you study abroad again if you were able to?

Yes, definitely, even though it stresses me a bit because of the events in the world right now, so, I would probably take more consideration into where I go. I was in New Jersey when 9/11 occurred. It worried my parents because their 16 year old daughter was in a totally different country where the attacks occurred. After going to America, I lived in Spain. I like both of the countries, but they have very different aspects. I believe I would prefer to live in Spain, maybe, because it is most similar to our culture in Chile. If I could go back to the USA with my family I would definitely go back because I know the benefits of living in the USA and all of the technology in science, especially in my area, is very good.

  1. If everyone had the chance and resources, would you recommend studying abroad to every high school student?

Yes, definitely. 1000 times. If I could do it again, I would do it. Final words or comments? I think that it would be good for every child to at least have information and know that the opportunity exists. In Chile, public high schools don’t get much information about studying abroad and that is a handicap. This information should be available and more widespread for all teenagers. Perhaps even more information to families since your parents are the ones deciding with you to study abroad. You have to target families as an audience as well as the student.


Semper Opera House in Germany (cr to MoreLight)

Semper Opera House in Germany (cr to MoreLight)

Our next person is Jonathan from Germany.   He is currently a sophomore in high school and is studying in St. Petersburg, Florida through the program International Experience from January to May, and possibly extending to June. He wanted to study abroad in the US to clear up clichés and get to know the people in America. He has always wanted to visit. We asked Jonathan almost the same questions as we asked Maria.

  1. In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of studying abroad?

The pros are the people and getting to know the culture. It was a straightforward and easy process. I submitted an application and did a few interviews. It did take a long time to register and get accepted, but, the program made it so I was guaranteed to go to the US after I was accepted–my host family was found a month before I arrived because it was difficult to find one.

  1. What do you want to do when you graduate?

I am undecided but I want to do something in terms of computer science, web development, and programming.

  1. Any information about the education change from Germany to the US?

Class conversion is different—the grades in the US are a bit lower than German’s and the coursework is easier in America.

  1. Would you study abroad again if you were able to?

Yes, only if I did not have to repeat another year of school in Germany. I would probably study in America again if I did not have to repeat a grade, but I am also interested in Canada and New Zealand.

  1. If everyone had the chance and resources, would you recommend studying abroad to every high school student?


6. What are you wanting to get out of studying abroad?

How people in America study—the education.


New York skyline, USA (cr to mpewny)

New York skyline, USA (cr to mpewny)

Our last interviewee is Kari from the USA. She traveled to many countries and she went in depth to give us a great view of what it was like to study abroad.

  1. Where did you study abroad?

I did a semester in England (Newbold’s College), a couple of tours through Italy and the Middle East, and a summer program in Spain for Spanish credits all through Andrews University (I work here now). Some classes offered a travel component during Spring Break or Winter Break. I got 6 credits for my art history courses in Italy. We went to museums and went on tours, interacted with locals. For the Middle East I did an archaeological dig. It was for my art class—I did technical drawings at dig sites. I went through my school—it is a good idea to work through your school because it assures that it applies to your program and works with your financial package and courses. I also went on a trip when I was 17 overseas and I loved it—so, when I was an undergrad I also took the opportunity to study abroad. There wasn’t anything like seeing art in person so I was able to go to many locations that were small/isolated and I could interact with the locals which helped me learn about others and myself. I picked England because the university I was going to had a program there and my pastor’s kids went there and enjoyed it. My sister and I wanted to go because I was interested in England and it fit with my major (English). We did a lot of backpacking and a lot of opportunities to go out of the country for cheap. I went to a lot of locations around England while studying abroad.

"Art School of Athens"; Raphael (cr to janeb13)

“Art School of Athens”; Raphael (cr to janeb13)

My sister and I have made many long-lasting friends when we studied abroad. It is a great opportunity to meet new people and make connections.

  1. In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of studying abroad?

Pros: as a person, it deepens your experiences. I’ve been able to apply my degree in a lot of different ways. I was able to work with Palestinian refugees so you meet new people and have conversations you may not have in a classroom. It is a great opportunity to see new parts of the world and of history. Newbold was a lot cheaper than my university, so I completed courses for less. However, traveling to England was expensive, the living was similar to ours, the tuition was cheaper—in Jordan, it would have been cheaper. In terms of the cons, it can be difficult to fit it into your academic load. Your junior and senior years can get easier to work around in terms of studying abroad. A spring break or summer program would be a great opportunity for all grades.

  1. Did studying abroad change what you wanted to do in terms of your career?

Yes, I would say so. I was in my English program when I went to England. I did art history credits in Italy for my Art History major. I received a dual-degree. A lot of times professors reach out to students to take them on tours to other countries. In my school, I just heard about a tour to India. The professors often recruit students, but you can also register online. We have a lot of flyers on campus. I called the recruiter for the college and they let me know about opportunities when I was interested in studying abroad.

  1. Would you study abroad again if you were able to?

Yes. I did not study abroad in my graduate program and the reason was because of finances. I worked part time and studied part time. I couldn’t work it in my schedule. I would go back to England if I could study abroad again because there is so much to experience. The classes were very hard, but it was motivating. I would love to go Thailand too.They have a great elephant reservation!

  1. If everyone had the chance and resources, would you recommend studying abroad to every high school student?



Thank you so much for reading. We hope that you gained a lot of information about studying abroad.