At STS High School, we have been working with cultural exchange and offering students the chance to study a year of high school abroad for many years. We know this is a huge step for you as a parent and for your child. With our knowledge and dedication, we will help you from the first steps of the application, all the way through the entire year abroad. Your child is in good hands.
Your child’s journey
Living abroad means developing an understanding of another culture, the chance to go to school in a different country, and the chance to learn to speak a foreign language fluently. It is exciting and leads to personal growth and greater self-confidence. Learning to manage on their own at a young age is truly a skill that will be useful to your child for the rest of their life.
A year abroad is a fantastic chance to make new friends and learn more about another culture and its norms and traditions. When our high school students return home, they have more confidence, have learned a ton, and have a better understanding of the surrounding world – which is incredibly useful in today’s global world, especially if they have dreams of a future international career.
Your own journey
Sending your child on a year of high school abroad means you have to allow your child to manage on their own, and face and handle new situations and challenges. That might feel scary and different, because at home, you are always nearby. Seeing this growth will be an incredible experience for you, and you will be so proud. The change will be huge and we know from experience that your role is incredibly important for your child’s experience. See yourself as a coach – that is what being the parent of an exchange student is all about.
8 quick tips for parents:
- Be involved in the application process from the beginning. It is important to us to really get to know your child and that as a guardian, you are involved and supportive in this process.
- Support and show trust in your child. It is important that you believe this is something they can handle and that will lead to personal growth.
- Do not try to be too involved in your child’s day-to-day when they are away; let them grow on their own instead of relying on you.
- Understand that cultural differences can be challenging and stressful at first. Support your child in this area, because adapting to a brand-new life is a process. It will be tough at first, but it gets better, and it is truly worth it!
- Lower your expectations regarding performance, especially at first, because there are so many new things to adapt to and get to know in the beginning.
- Before they leave, encourage your child to communicate with their host family and local coordinator. This way, they will get to know each other a bit beforehand and it will be easier to provide support in the beginning, when everything feels new and foreign.
- Before departure, discuss your planned budget for pocket money, free-time activities and trips. Can you foresee any extra costs that might pop up that you can prepare for already now?
- Having too much contact with their home country, friends and family will make it harder for your child to adapt and get comfortable in their new home country. So try to limit your contact, and set a limit of one phone call or video chat per week, for example. If you have questions while your child is gone, you can always contact us at STS.