Every year thousands of young adults, enter exchange student programs to advance their studies, improve their personal development as well as the opportunity to travel abroad.  Although there are many critically acclaimed foreign exchange programs, it is important to choose the best option for you.

A summer abroad program generally lasts for 3 months (although some may be as short as 2 weeks). A semester abroad is approximately 5 months long, while a full school year exchange program will be 2 semesters for a total of 10 months.

One way to assess your readiness for a 10 month program may be to try either a summer study abroad program or a high school semester abroad program. A summer or semester program may offer just enough time and learning experiences to determine if you can handle a 10-month high school exchange student program.

For students considering a shortened exchange student program, there are some vital questions to answer in choosing between a high school semester abroad or a summer abroad program.

During the summer months, what do you prefer to do with your time?

With a summer abroad program, one should expect to spend a lot of time doing homework and studying. While there will be opportunities for you to sight-see and tour your new cities landmarks, the main reason you are at your new home is to study. Individuals who need a break from school might consider a semester abroad program instead.

Is your personality best described as outgoing?

Students who are more extroverted may find that a summer abroad program is the right amount of time for them to test the waters of a full school year foreign exchange program.  On the other hand, the semester abroad may not be long enough for the introvert to adapt or benefit from the exposure of a high school exchange student program?

Have you ever been away from home more than two-weeks?

Adolescents, teenagers and young adults who have never been away from home for a long period of time, may have a difficult time adapting to a semester long exchange student program.  Consequently, a summer abroad program may be enough time for you to learn a new culture, enhance one’s education and personal development.