Recently I had conversations with my two oldest children about a student at their school through a high school exchange program, as well as a few friends of theirs from China who have arrived to attend American universities.
We talked about the difficulties the students faced (language and culture) but also about the benefits of coming to high school in the United States, especially for those who are considering attending a university here.
For students who are emotionally ready to handle the challenges, it would be worth considering a U.S. high school exchange program. Here are five benefits we came up with.
1. English language immersion – While many students learn English in their home schools, their language skills fall short of what is required to sit in a lecture hall and absorb information. Being immersed in the language in a learning environment is invaluable.
2. Pre-college navigation – Students at a high school in the United States can more easily learn the American college application process and have more resources — such as guidance counselors, admission officers and the like — available in person.
3. College readiness – International students studying at U.S. high schools are exposed to American-style teaching, which tends to be more participatory in nature. That can really help once students are enrolled in college. Students may do very well on placement tests, but then struggle because the classroom pace is fast, and universities require students to interact with each other inside and outside the classroom, which can be a real challenge.
4. Social assimilation – The college experience doesn’t end when class is over. Coming to high school here can prepare students to succeed socially. The transition to college can be tough for any student, but with a prior understanding of cultural norms, terms, and habits, an international student may be better able to fit into life at university.
5. Establishing residency for tuition purposes – Students will have to check on state regulations, as they vary widely, but some will allow those adult students (18 or older) who are not precluded from establishing a domicile in the United States to establish residency. This is generally based on the type of Visa that has been issued. There is the potential that a student could significantly save on tuition costs.
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