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If your child is college-aged, the idea of a summer abroad will inevitably come up. And, most colleges begin the application and selection process this month! But, is a summer abroad right for your student?’

The history of study abroad

Study abroad is not a new concept. Sending girls to “finishing school” or allowing young men a “Grand Tour” was an accepted – and expected – rite of passage for the wealthy since the mid 1800’s. The concept of study abroad today, however, has much broader appeal. This is an adventure in education that is now taken frequently by students whose last name is not necessarily Carnegie, duPont or Rockefeller.

As a university-sanctioned program, study abroad actually has its roots right here in Delaware! The University of Delaware was the pioneer in the concept of study abroad for university credit, originally called the Delaware Foreign Study Plan.

According to the University of Delaware, “In 1923, America’s first study abroad program was launched at the University of Delaware when a young professor walked into the president’s office with a daring plan: to send students abroad for their junior year.” And, On July 7, 1923, eight intrepid University juniors sailed for France.

Today, most colleges and universities across the country participate in some sort of study abroad program. In fact, colleges as diverse as the University of Denver in Colorado and Elon University in North Carolina boast study abroad enrollment of over 70%. Two schools — Goucher College in Maryland and Soka University of America in California – are so committed to the study abroad program that they actually require every student to study outside the United States in order to graduate.

What are the benefits of a study abroad program? 

Although the excitement and adventure of a semester or year abroad can’t be denied, academically, there are substantial benefits for students.

Looking at the world through new eyes. Students who spend time abroad invariably gain new perspective on the world and their position in it. For business, finance or economics students, gaining first-hand knowledge of the world as a truly global marketplace makes classroom learning and required readings come alive.

Improving foreign language skills. Complete immersion in a foreign language helps students dramatically improve oral and written language skills. For students with a language major or minor, this is absolutely crucial.

Improve decision-making and problem-solving skills. Students in foreign countries learn to expect the unexpected. With a dramatically reduced “safety net” (no parents rushing to the rescue) students learn to adapt and become more resourceful – a skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Networking. For students whose interests lie in business, international relations or government service, the networking opportunities during time abroad can’t be overstated.

Is study abroad right for your student?

There are several qualities that make the study abroad experience more successful and the transition easier. Is your student:

  • Adaptable
  • Confident
  • Conversational
  • Self-starter

If you answered “yes,” your student may enjoy time abroad and learn a lot in the process. Don’t forget, however, that even the most motivated and engaged student can suffer a bout of homesickness. One suggestion: Plan a trip to visit in the foreign country if possible. And, don’t forget to pack the sunscreen or skis… study abroad isn’t all class time, you know!

About Back to Basics Learning Dynamics, Inc.

Back to Basics Learning Dynamics is the undisputed leader in 1-on-1 tutoring in Delaware and southeastern Pennsylvania for over 60 subjects. Since 1985, our commitment to a 1-on-1 teaching method has differentiated us from other educational service providers.

We serve the diverse needs of a range of students – from those who simply need some academic support, to those who are learning disabled, hearing or visually impaired, ADHD, gifted, or on the Autism Spectrum including High Functioning Autistic and Aspergers.

And, we offer a menu of services that includes the widest array of educational options in the tri-state area: 1-on-1 tutoring in over 60 subjects, translating and interpreting in 21 languages, speech therapy, occupational therapy, behavior specialists, reading specialists, ELL teachers, homebound services, and psycho-educational testing. In addition, Back to Basics offers exceptional, 1-on-1 test prep for tests including the SAT, PSAT, SAT II, ACT, GRE, PRAXIS, GED, and HSEE. Back to Basics also offers summer school, original credit, and credit recovery, plus unique enrichment options and professional development.

And, Back to Basics operates a unique Department of Education-approved 1-on-1 K-12 Private School in Wilmington, Delaware.

Photo by Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee and FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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