Study Abroad on the Rise with Teens - My Family Travels

When I was in college, I was lucky enough to spend a summer studying abroad with the American Institute of Foreign Study in Florence, Italy.  It was an amazing and educational life experience as I was living and learning in one of Italy’s most beautiful and culturally significant cities. 

I studied the Italian language during my class time, but as a temporary citizen of Florence, I utilized my newly acquired linguistic skills while ordering my cappuccino at the café down the street from my apartment. When I purchased my new Italian leather bag at the street market by the Duomo, I bartered with my new tongue and at the end of my stay I was able to give a visitor directions to the Pitti Palace in the city’s native language.

I certainly know firsthand how influential the study abroad experience can be and now, as an editor at, it makes me very happy to read that teens and college students are having similar journeys.

However, as the world economy continues to struggle and various sectors of the travel industry suffer, I began to fear that student travel would also be on the decline.  But that is far from the truth.

I was pleased to come across a study that proved my inclinations wrong; study abroad is bigger than ever!  Conducted in November 2009 by Open Doors, a non-profit Institute for education which tracks international enrollments for the State Department, the survey revealed that study abroad is up 8.5% in the past year! 

The survey also indicated that in the past two decades the number of students studying abroad has multiplied by four.

This is great news; however, I began wondering how students and their families were still affording such programs.  I know from experience, studying abroad is very expensive!  I was fortunate enough to land a scholarship to assist with the expenses (and it still broke the bank).

But teens nowadays are getting more scholarship support than ever before.  According to the study, this academic year the State Department will provide more than 1,700 study abroad scholarships—more than double the number that it allocated for assistance two years ago.

Finally the study also revealed the top reasons that students should consider study abroad programs:

•    There may not be as many jobs available for teenagers this summer
•    It looks great on a college application and resume
•    Students return more confident, mature and with a greater appreciation for world issues

With this new information, I highly recommend that any teen that is considering the study abroad experience go for it! 

For the latest information on how to start your journey check out, “Planning Your Study Abroad Adventure” on

Images courtesy of ASA Summer Programs,


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