Study abroad opportunities give students a unique perspective


Mizuki Kai

The CIEE gives a study abroad presentation.

A large crowd of parents and students gathered in the Science Conference Center (SCC) after school on Oct. 10 for the informational meeting for the non-profit study abroad organization CIEE. In 2018, under the guidance of English teacher Elizabeth Chapman, 16 students traveled abroad to countries spanning 4 continents, from the Dominican Republic in the Caribbeans, Chile in South America, to Spain and France in Europe and China and South Korea in Asia.

“The person in charge of CIEE for Texas called me and I didn’t believe what she was saying at first because it sounded too good to be true,” Chapman said. “She suggested that we have some students apply, so we had some students go this past summer. They seemed to have some really good experiences. I applied to work as a program leader which was like the counselor for their program to the Czech Republic and really enjoyed it. We just wanted to continue promoting it here.”

The organization offered high school students three types of programs to almost 30 countries. These programs were Service and Leadership, Language and Culture, and Global Discovery. Students learn from the culture and people from these program locations, and come back with life-changing experiences that they otherwise would not have had back home.

“It was really fun because not only did I get to try new foods that I’ve never really tried before, but I also got to experience new things that I have never done before like climb the Great Wall in its entirety,” Luna Chen, a sophomore who went to Beijing, China on the Global Discovery program, said. “You get to meet so many great people on the trip there. It is such a fleeting moment but it will last a lifetime.”

Sophomore David Bournat also reflected on his month in Barcelona, Spain, which he spent immersed in the Spanish language and culture.

“I loved the experience,” Bournat said. “I made really good friends with my roommate Jonathan and we were able to travel the entire city in a month. By the end, I felt like I had lived there.”

Another alumnus of this study abroad program was sophomore Tu-Trinh Nguyen.

“I had a lot of fun and I actually think my Spanish improved,” Nguyen.

When asked whether she would recommend it to others, Nguyen said, “Yes. Ten out of ten.”

Statistically, studying abroad is proven to improve maturity, self-confidence and put a lasting impact on the student’s worldview.

“I think it is by far the best way to learn another language,” Chapman said. “I think that it helps develop a lot of leadership skills as a young person that you don’t necessarily learn in school, and it makes you more open minded.”

As thanksgiving break approached, many students had already started to plan out their summers with CIEE; in the bustling streets of Tokyo, the beautiful seas in Portugal, or with wild giraffes in the deserts of Botswana.