How Teenagers Can Still Thrive on Overseas Experiences (despite the pandemic)

In a LinkedIn post, I published recently, I mentioned the rising incidents of ‘delicate cases’ where youngsters have struggled socially in the wake of the pandemic. My words hit home with many fellow educators who commented on the need for more travel, more personal development experiences and less screens. But will international school placements be possible while waves of Covid appear to be constantly rocking the boat? 

If we have learnt anything over the past four months it is that living with Covid may be a logistical helter-skelter, but it is possible. We are now more than aware of the fact that the ride is not over. I actually recommenced sending teenagers on overseas experiences as soon as the first wave abated in Sept 2020. It goes without saying that teenagers are still flourishing on these quests. Together we are providing strong evidence that studying abroad during a pandemic is possible and is more worthwhile than ever before.

Of course, I have always been aware of the challenges of uprooting youngsters and immersing them in a different culture for an agreed period of time. On the whole, it’s a wonderful learning adventure and a great opportunity for personal development & growth in maturity. The fact that I can play a small part in a child’s development is one aspect of my profession which I cherish.

Saying this, I must admit that one of the knock-on effects of the pandemic has been a lack of resilience in the youngsters who go abroad for schooling. In fact, for the first time in 10 years of sending students around the world for educational adventures, I have noticed an increase in the inability of some students to solve their own problems. Over-protective parents have sometimes unwillingly made the transition to living overseas more daunting for their children than it need be.

Nevertheless, it is my belief that youngsters learning a second language can still thrive on overseas experiences. This can be achieved by adequately coaching them about change, equipping them with soft tools to make friends in new places and encouraging them to set aside their screens to make the most of new experiences. 

With these goals in mind and with all the experience of organising successful overseas education experiences behind me, in 2022 I am pioneering a once-in-a-lifetime Australian Immersion adventure. I believe that foreign language acquisition is only consolidated by such periods of school abroad.

I am offering my Spanish, French & Irish clients the opportunity to send their teenagers to Australia for an immersive high school experience. A mum of four myself, I’m only too conscious of the overly-long summer holidays we have here in Spain, not only do children detach themselves from school work (making the return to school in September tough), but parents have to constantly scan all corners of the home each day searching for children attached to their screens (as I discussed in the LinkedIn post mentioned above) -– So from 10th July to- 10th Sept 2022, 15 lucky students will accompany me to Brisbane, Queensland. These dates coincide with Term 3 in the Australian school calendar; therefore, they will go to school just like an Australian teen – The program includes classroom learning with interesting practical subjects, outdoor activities, cultural experiences, and minimum screen exposure. I will be personally ensuring their smooth adaption into school and their Aussie host families and my local coordinator (and experienced nurse) will be regularly communicating progress and anecdotes to parents back home. 

Find out more by following this link. The selection process begins in early January for July 2022 intake.




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