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Has anyone sent their college aged child abroad for a year of study?

Has anyone sent their college aged child abroad for a year of study?

Sep 19th, 2005, 04:58 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,618

To answer your original question,we had a good experience with American Youth Abroad (AYA). My (rising senior) did a 4 week program in Germany this past summer -- they found him a family to stay with, and helped with orientation, enrolled him in language school, and such.

They have short and long-term programs in many countries for high school students.

capxxx is offline  
Sep 19th, 2005, 06:37 AM
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I think it would indeed be a rare 18 year old who knew exactly what he/she wanted to do in life. I always thought that was what college was for, to have time to figure it out (said only partly kidding).
suze is online now  
Sep 19th, 2005, 11:49 AM
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There is a lot of pressure on young kids to select a career very early, and attend a school that will help them obtain that objective. If you really want to be a CPA, you pick a school that has appropriate majors, rather than a school that offers only technology.

I think kids should resist that pressure, even when it comes from their parents, and go to a good liberal arts school, where they will be able to become a well rounded person, make an informed choice as to what they want to be, and train for that objective in a graduate program. Expensive, yes, but certainly a plan that has worked well for many many years.

I take a little offense at those who state or imply that our military forces make enemies for us. Our politicians, and the twits who elect them, are the ones who make us enemies. And I am really curious about the many reasons kswl has, but apparently cannot express, for thinking military service is inappropriate in a case where he or she doesn't even know the party involved.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Sep 19th, 2005, 12:08 PM
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..don't we all agonize over our kids just as I am sure my parents worried about me. I really think the gap year is a good alternative for someone who needs a bit more time to get his act together (noticed I said he..I have all boys so I think this is a habit). I am not sure that travel is necessarily the answer though it maybe one of the answers. I think it should be financed primarily through your son and not you as I think this again is one of life's lessons. I wish I had a gap year..my travelling came later, but I did have a not so wonderful summer job before college which was the motivation needed for the next 4 years. A neighbor is a corporate lawyer and he dropped out after 2 years of a BA as he felt it was irrelavent. His uncle found him a job in a steel factory- he found out that education was very relavent and he has recently been made a senior partner..so don't give up hope, but my advice is to make him financally (at least in part) responsible for his upkeep during this year. In addition, the year should have some specific goals and objectives.
travelbunny is offline  
Sep 19th, 2005, 03:09 PM
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Just wanted to let you all know I spent 11+ commissioned years in the USN
(8 1/2 on active duty) - most fun and best job ever.
Had the Navy paid a living wage, I might have stayed.
mikemo is offline  
Sep 19th, 2005, 03:18 PM
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AND, yes, DD went to the international school in Zermatt, Switzerland for a sophomore semester in secondary school.
mikemo is offline  
Sep 19th, 2005, 04:27 PM
Original Poster
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I take a little offense at those who state or imply that our military forces make enemies for us. Our politicians, and the twits who elect them, are the ones who make us enemies.

Hey clevelandb- Hope you aren't referring to my comment. I agree. When I said that we're making more enemies than we could kill I was referring to political decisionmakers, not the military. I don't want my kid involved in the killing of said enemies regardless of who is making the decisions.
amwosu is offline  
Sep 20th, 2005, 07:12 AM
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kswl is offline  
Sep 20th, 2005, 09:41 AM
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amwosu: Personally I think your son needs your help more now than ever in his life. He is very fortunate to have such caring parents.

As for success in college, I've found (during the short time when I was teaching in a university) that a kid with average brains and MOTIVATION would succeed in college, whereas a brilliant kid would fail for lack of motivation. So, brains plus motivation is the prescription you are looking for in your son's case.

Brains he seems to have. To motivate him in college, talk with him on what he is really interested in and start taking college tours to see which college offers a program that would sound interesting to him. He's playing computer games because he is bored. If he finds a college program that is interesting to him (as interesting as his band activity), then he will get up every morning at 6 am just to do what he's interested in.

High school has a pretty set educational program; that, too, adds to his boredom.

So, my suggestion is to find him a college program where he will be fully engaged in his studies and he'll find himself challenged by new ideas and new thoughts. Don't pick a college for its name.

If he is as smart as you have made him out to be, have him take more than the normal load of college courses. Keep him busy.

The job situation can go both ways. If a kid has to work in college, grades may suffer. But, it may also give him some sense of financial responsibility. This is your call.

I disagree with the idea of having him go into the military. The military trains kids to OBEY ORDERS and a professional soldier's profession is? Killing. As a nation, we need soldiers for our defense. But for a smart kid he needs to have his brain stimulated, he needs to be fed new ideas. IMHO, we need people who can conduct peace more than we need people who can conduct war.

Gap year, smap year. Have him do this year AFTER college. Lots of kids do that too and by then they have chosen a major and are working in an area of their interest. Then it's on to graduate school with greater maturity. And he can support himself then.

The summer after graduation from high school, have him volunteer to work somewhere where he can see how hard life can be - like in a Katrina devastated area - he'll learn about life and maturity pretty fast in this kind of environment.

Good luck! You've got a great kid! Give him every chance and every break you can!
easytraveler is offline  
Sep 20th, 2005, 09:45 AM
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What about sending him to Europe or to one of the other ideas that you suggessted for the summer before his freshman year of college?

keggy is offline  
Sep 20th, 2005, 11:45 AM
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I was one of those underachievers. I don't think sending me abroad would have been a good solution in my situation. But everyone is unique. I was in one of the 'go to school or get a job' families so I went to school.

Other suggestions for him:

-Americorps. This wasn't around at his age and it might have been a good choice for me. Only know about it from official papers and a friend of a friend.

-Get involved in a local chapter of Habitat for Humanity now. Spend next school year rebuilding the gulf coast. Since he likes building computers, he might like building homes or electrian stuff.

-Next year is mid-term elections -- get him to volunteer with a campaign. Someone who can run the computer systems should be welcomed with open arms. This might work with a one semester delay to college instead of a whole year. Also will meet a number of college students with similar views this way. They might encourage school in ways you can never (sorry mom).
ncgrrl is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2005, 04:34 AM
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Amwosu, I looked for the name of the program in Oxford but could not find it--sorry! However, I believe I found it through this organization, GoAbroad, that publishes an email newsletter that is free for the asking. It lists and is constantly updating many different programs, both full-year and summer. You can contact them at: GoAbroad.com Newsletter [[email protected]]

Hope it will provide information. K
kswl is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2005, 05:10 AM
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I think this is a classic case of what's different between the mentality in the US and say in the UK.

In the UK, all of my friends, myself included took a year out before going to university, I also took a year out after university. It was the best thing I could have done.

It taught me so much about myself, as I had to find jobs, accommodation etc as I travelled around Europe, US & Canada. These skills and experiences have certainly helped me in my career.

I also met many great people who have since become life long friends.

For me life's too short and goes too quickly, you get caught up in things and its difficult to stop and change direction. One or two years away from study is nothing and if I was an employer looking at your son's resume I would certainly look favourably at it as it shows initiative, self reliance and spirit rather than the blah blah resumes I so often read.

I'm a little surprised that you still call your son a child, as in fact he's an adult (I don't know US school system but I assume he's around 18) and therefore let him decide what he wants to do.

That's my two penneth

Geordie is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2005, 06:03 AM
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Evelyn Waugh was once asked if he minded sending his children to the continent for their education. He responded "No, it's just their coming back that bothers me."

Seriously, if your son was to take a year off it might be wise to encourage his taking a job. Perhaps some experience at what could happen to him in the workforce without an education might help inspire some motivation.

Good luck.

Powell is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2005, 08:27 AM
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amwosu -

You say your son is a brass player? Has he ever considered performing with a drum corps? As a recent college grad/drum corps vet/travel nut, I would love to chat with you more about this! It definitely let me get away on my own for a bit and kinda made me grow up and take more responsibility, while doing something I absolutely love. Shoot me an email: [email protected]

- CJ
kalikiana is offline  
Sep 24th, 2005, 05:54 AM
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I may be dating myself, but is "Up With People" still around? I had several friends that took a year off post high school to travel with this international music program. The program, at the time, was huge and had several groups of 60 or so young people traveling to different parts of the world promoting international relations through music. The group had an excellent music/dance program that was almost always sold out in every venue it visited.
Kennedy3 is offline  
Sep 24th, 2005, 06:53 AM
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Echoing what Powell said. A friend of ours had son in high school. That son was direction less.

At high school graduation he took a job (He was not allowed a job at the family firm). Within 90 days his description of his coworkers was basically 'worthless bigots with terrible attitudes and lives to go with it'. His family told him to stay at that job until the fall semester (a year). He went into to college with enthusiasm and has continued to apply himself and to succeed. And he had some college money of his own.
Sep 24th, 2005, 09:09 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 329
"Hey, does anyone just want to have the pleasure of hosting a surly messy teenager that likes to play internet computer games for a year or so?"

At least you still have a sense of humour!!

We have a son 19 years old who sounds alot like yours. I think making inquiries in order to have ideas and options to present to him makes sense and in no way means you're trying to control the outcome.

This is a pivotal time and a year overseas is too long. We have a responsibility as parents to still guide them, and it would be next to impossible to have much influence from that distance.

Working for a year at a ski resort, only lets them learn how great it is to make money, party and have few responsibilities. Even kids who work part time in bars usually find it has more appeal than school!

Our son is going into his third year of university (we're in Canada), but this year, for the first time, he seems quite enthusiastic about his courses. There are all those boring general courses to get through first!

But we need to remember that a college experience teaches them so much more than academics.

We were prepared for some ups and downs, but have always felt ANY academic experience was better none. It's simply too easy for them to fall by the wayside once they leave school.

We had great success providing a semester abroad experience for our daughter in Italy, but it was for extra high school credits, so the pressure (and expense) was not as great. It was an amazing life altering experience, and she is now in graduate school studying history, hoping to study eventually in the UK.

Last summer we sent them to London and Paris together for 2 weeks and now they both want to find work that will allow them to travel. Motivation!

I think you're on the right track with everything you're doing and exploring. Maybe look into the idea of 3-6 months of doing high school credits in Europe, not for the academic credit, but for the incredible opportunity for self-discovery---- with much less pressure.

Good luck!!
TobieT is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 06:44 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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My daughter just got back from 6 mo. in Italy and all I can say is WOW--what a great experience for her! It's really going to make a positive impact on her entire life, I'm sure. Right now I can hear the "Italian rap" music (it's really qutie good), but she has a great love for opera and art and the people of Italy as well. Is fluent in Italian and has made friends that she's going in touch with (including a marriage proposal which she has rejected!!!) I'm telling you, I wish I had gone to Italy (or Spain or France) in colleage (instead of Mexico). I'd say, go for it!
artlover is offline  

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