Studying Abroad can be a scary thing because it takes you away from everything you know, and, depending where you go, you may not even understand any of the language. But I believe studying abroad is an experience of a lifetime that can change you forever. If it’s just for a summer, a semester, or a full year I think it’s worth taking the leap. The experiences and knowledge you will gain from this time will help you grow and open you up to all sorts of new and exciting things. I know I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t gone to Japan as a high school student, and I wouldn’t give up that experience up for the world.
I have had the luck to study abroad twice, to different places in Japan (Hyogo & Tokyo), so from my perspective the experience of studying abroad as a high school student and college student feel very different. College was a lot of fun, but as a high school student I feel like I was much more integrated into my surroundings. When you’re younger I think you’re generally more reliant on those around you, but as a college student you have more independence. I also did not have a host family during my year in college, so I had almost full autonomy. Each has their pros and cons, but I hope that everyone can someday have the chance to experience life abroad. There’s nothing like it.