Like Spanish? You’ll love this Summer Camp!

Spain Program Facebook Post

This camp is open to American teens between the ages of 15-17 in their third year of Spanish or preparing for the AP Spanish and Language Exam. It is a chaperoned three week camp in Salamanca Spain and offers an all-inclusive price (airfare, excursions, meals, accommodations, insurance, supervision).

How to register: Fill out a registration form here before January 1st, mail to iE-USA and you will receive notice of enrollment by email. One partial scholarship available, information is on the website.

Learn about Salamanca, Spain by watching this video! Did you know it is a UNESCO World Heritage City? Follow our blog for upcoming information, pictures and videos of Spain!

Announcing England Semester Abroad for Teens

Click for More Info

Click for More Info

Students at their first monthly excursion in the city of Bath.

Students at their first monthly excursion in the city of Bath.

Are you dying to travel and want somewhere fun, cultural, historical, and safe? Prefer to speak your own language, but learn a new accent? The iE-USA England Semester Abroad program might be for you! Students live with a British host family in the suburban residential areas of England, and take group excursions every month to the top british destinations such as the Beatles Museum and Manchester United Soccer Fields!

This program is affordable and payment plans can be set up through iE-USA. To find out more information about our program and prices, go to our website. Students should apply approximately 3-4 months in advance of the date they wish to depart. Teens who are between 16-18 are welcome to apply and will be accepted based on maturity level, transcript, willingness to adapt, and overall character.

Make your semester worth it, see the world!

The Ultimate “Am I Ready For an Exchange” Quiz

GETTINGTake the quiz below to see if you are ready to become an exchange student!

Want to add questions? Add them in the Comments section!

1. Do you have maps on your walls instead of pop singers?

2. Is your language class your favorite subject?

3. When others complain about change, do you welcome it?

4. Do you hate monotony or routine?

5. Have you ever thought about the concept “Culture”?

6. Do you hashtag #wanderlust constantly?

7. Are you friends with an exchange student?

8. When you take small trips or travel, do you wish you could learn more about daily life there?

9. Do you enjoy trying new foods?

10. Does it bore you to follow what everyone else is doing?

Results

If you responded ‘Yes’ to two questions or more, then you are ready to become an exchange student!

If you answered ‘No’ to 8 or more, then consider befriending an exchange student, reaching outside your comfort zone, or trying something new this year to test yourself.

(Disclaimer: Obviously this is just a fun game and there are many other ways to decide if you are ready for exchange!)

Travel Tips for Teens & Parents

TRAVEL RESOURCES (1)

Whether you are trying to decide on a country to travel to, or how much money to save, or even what the temperature is, the following resources will help you get the low-down on what you need to know (None of these are sponsored links, we just love them!).

  • Need a reliable currency conversion website? Try XE. It uses current and updated market rates to give you the most accurate conversion of over 20 different currencies.
  • Can’t decide what to pack, have a horrible memory, or it’s your first time traveling solo? Look to Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush for free online packing lists and planning logistics. It will even give you local temperature updates on where you are going, and suggest packing based on what activities you will do! Hint: if you are studying abroad, select “cultural break”.

Hint: Expert travelers know, you ALWAYS pack a maximum of one checked suitcase. Airlines charge many extra fees for two checked bags and often your host family or residence won’t even have room to store two suitcases! You will shop abroad, so don’t bring too many “American” clothes (t-shirts with logos, sweatshirts or sweatpants, and forget the shoes, they take up too much space!).

  • Do you learn visually or just love Pinterest? Check out this Pinterest Packing Board: Packing 101
  • Want to compare countries and learn more about where you are going? Check out Lonely Planet for the most in depth look at history, culture, climate, the people, and the food. It’s the most trusted travel resource and has information on almost every country in the world.
  • Check safety and travel advisories for your country at the Department of State website.

Hint: iE-USA does not send teens to countries with serious travel advisories and has a contingency plan in place if an advisory were to be issued.

  • Are you travelling soon and want flight updates? Did you know that there is a free App for Smartphones called FlightAware that not only tells you delays, but also your parents or friends could track where your plane is flying in real time! Google Now Cards (open a Flight Receipt in your email on your phone and it will save it) and Passbook for iPhone also work well!
  • Want to become a travel blogger on your study abroad trip? Brush up your blogging skills here: TeenBlogger

 Hint: Trying to come up with extra spending money for your trip? If you are an entrepeneur, you could use your travel blog to make money! Travel blogs typically attract more attention then ‘normal’ blogs because they are exciting! Take lots of pictures and keep your posts short but frequent, and keep a positive or humorous attitude!

A True German Experience- Emily

My host family!

My host family!

This past summer, I got the once in a lifetime opportunity to go to Europe. A study abroad program, called International Experience, found me a host family in Germany that invited me to stay with them for two weeks. None of this would have happened if it wasn’t for my Chinese host brother Andy. My family hosted Andy for the spring 2014 semester and he attended our high school. Andy was truly as joy for my family and had a huge influence on my family and his classmates. His experience inspired me to do the same, and travel. I soon had a host family in Germany from the help of iE-USA and I was on my way!

The cake my host sister made me!

The cake my host sister made me!

I went to Germany with almost no knowledge of the language, but luckily, my host sister Elli went to a bilingual school and had near perfect English. My family welcomed me to their home with a homemade cake that had my name on it in German colors and made me really feel at home.

I was also extremely fortunate to be in Germany for most of the World Cup. Read the rest of this entry

Learning about Exchange by Hosting

Exchange students all over the world experience the same emotions, excitement, and challenges of study abroad no matter where their destination is. If you or a family member are considering studying abroad in the future or even as soon as next semester, what better (free) way to learn about the adaptation process and about other cultures than by hosting a student in the U.S. first?

Host families bond for life.

Host families bond for life.

Most students’ goals are to:
1. Learn another language
2. Learn about other cultures
3. Do something unique and different
4. Travel
What some students and families don’t realize is that by hosting, you are accomplishing these goals as well! Your exchange student will teach you slang, colloquial phrases, and even grammar from their country (do you know how to say ‘Moose’ in Thai for example?). They will explain why they have different customs than yours and show you different ways to think about the world (Did you know Frozen Yogurt shops aren’t very common in Germany?). You will also see how they handle homesickness and culture shock, two things that will happen during your exchange at some point or another that you will learn to overcome.

By becoming a host family and host sibling, you are joining a ‘club’ of sorts of international volunteers that said yes to a unique experience. You never officially stop being a host sibling, ask anyone! The relationships you build, whether as a host or an exchange student, last for a lifetime. Any host family you ask has probably seen their exchange student after they return home. They’ve had chances to visit them and see the country they came from or have invited the student back to their home away from home.

These are the types of things you can also experience, by welcoming a student into your home this year, even for a short period of time.

At iE-USA, you still have time to become a host family and join the “Host Family Club”. You can apply to host a specific student that your family chooses, that will mesh well with your lifestyle, personalities, and interests. And you won’t be alone, you will have a coordinator in your local area (whichever state you are from) to give your family an orientation, check in with you and the student monthly to see how things are going, and solve any problems that may arise. Parents should make a non-binding application at www.ie-usa.org before the end of August, to find the right student.

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to make a iE student’s dream come true!

Traditions in Germany- ‘Maierle’ Guest Post

Hey you all, I’m Constanze and I’m 19. I wanted to share some traditions that are unique to Germany, that you might see if you decide to study abroad here!
I live in Bavaria in the south of Germany. One year ago I lived at my parents house, they live in a little town with around 5,200 inhabitants. This region is called “Unterallgäu” and there are many farmers and many little villages and every village has its own dialect.  There is a cute Bavarian tradition in the Region where my parents live. A boy who loves a girl puts a birch tree with colorful tapes and a heart made of wood in front of her house in the night before the 1st of May. The boys have to protect the tree the whole night until the sunrise that no other boy steals it.
 German tradition
In the morning the girls have to guess who put the tree there and they give the boys a big breakfast. This year I got one and here is a picture of it to the right.

Read the rest of this entry

Improve your Language Skills

Feel like you are not learning language fast enough at school, or they don’t offer the language you want? The best way to improve your language skills for real life application is interactive media. Videos, music, poems, and movies are all great ways to learn how language is used outside of a textbook. For example, did you know 99 Red Balloons was actually written by a German singer, in the German language? It was called 99 Luftballons, and the link to the lyrics is here. Here are some other ideas:

  • Practice singing along with songs, it will help with quick pronunciation and translating the lyrics to English will help you learn new meanings of words.
  • Read the news in a different language. Bonus, you will be able to discuss current events from other countries with foreigners or your host family. For example, Argentine news can be found here. You could also watch a Youtube news clip, such as the one here in French. Some news is even slowed down, such as this one.
  • Watch your favorite American movie, but add either subtitles or dubbing. Many movies now have multiple language options to select from.
  • Find an exchange student at your high school to speak with! They will appreciate your interest in their native language, and maybe you can teach them some fun american expressions in return.
  • Buy a book (or eBook) on Amazon that has been translated to the language you want to learn. Did you know The DaVinci code has been translated into 44 different languages? Even the series Twilight has been translated to other languages, and copies are often available on Amazon. The dystopic hit this year, Divergent, is available in Spanish here! Make sure you pick a book that you will enjoy, so that you stick with it.

Some other fun videos from other countries that will get you moving:

Italy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpaQYSd75Ak (Nun sings a famous American song on the Voice Italy!)

France: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFVDv_Jhf2w (Elle me dit, Mika with subtitles)

Argentina/Latin America: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbKLa9wk4Fc  (Whiteboard singalong with Bacilos)

Latin America: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJutxPOIeS4 (Shakira sings Fifa World Cup song)

Germany: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A06x-02MhlM (Cool German Words)

Know any other fun (and appropriate) videos or resources for free language learning? Let us know!

 

 

 

Gap Year in Belgium (Jessica)

United Nations Plaza in Brussels

While many high school seniors are eagerly anticipating the start of their college career, Jessica is gearing up for a different kind of adventure.  While her classmates celebrate their college acceptance letters, Jessica is celebrating special news of her own. Jessica is a senior, preparing for a Gap Year abroad in Belgium with iE-USA – and she just learned which family will be her hosts for her time abroad!

This article by Alexa Rosenblatt shows why some students, like Jessica, choose to take a Gap Year to travel and mature before starting college. Gap Year travel can often help improve a student’s college application. According to Rosenblatt, “During the admissions process, colleges often recognize valued skills learned during productive gap years, such as the drive to do something different, communication skills and quick adjustment to changing environments.” Blumenthal, a student returning from abroad, said, “My year was cheaper than a year’s worth of education at most schools, and was more of an education any school could have provided.” Jessica agrees with Blumenthal’s comment, “A gap year isn’t sitting on your couch for a year; it should be an opportunity to do something you never could before. It’s a learning experience.” (Blumenthal, in Rosenblatt article).

Jessica  will be attending a local high school while discovering her new ‘hometown’ of Ayvaille, near Liege. This city is famous for its rivers, kayaking adventures, and caves. But Jessica is even more excited to hear how her host family’s interests are similar to hers; her host sister is a college student close to her age who lives at home, and her host mom loves to cook cake and pastries, just like her!

iE-USA did an interview with Jessica to see why traveling abroad after high school attracted her more than heading straight to college. She said, “I always wanted to study abroad but was never able to do it with school being so busy. I wanted to do it before college, especially because they say you are better at learning languages when you are younger. So I wanted a year off that wasn’t wasted. Also, my brother is in college and did a semester abroad in Italy, but he didn’t really meet any Italians when he was doing it. I wanted to be immersed in high school life as opposed to just taking college courses abroad and living in an apartment or dorm where you don’t meet as many local people. High school kids seem friendlier.”

We asked her if she thought a gap year was for all students and she said, “You should do a gap year if you have a plan in place; something that will be enriching for you. I know a student who didn’t make good college plans and HAD to take a gap year because of that but she took a job that keeps her at home for the year, which is sad because she could be traveling or learning. If you were able to plan something ahead of time that allows you to do something you have never done before, you should definitely do a gap year.”

So what did Jessica have to say about her new host family and school abroad? “At first, waiting to hear about my host family, I was nervous. I was worried a family wouldn’t understand me, or treat me badly. But now that I found my family, they seem like such a good fit.”

She also said, “I already looked up the website for my school, and you could even see the school lunch menu, which I have to say was a step up from the American lunch of football shaped nuggets and flat patties. Their lunch seems so sophisticated, something you would actually want to eat at school. It’s the little things like that which are making this experience seem less abstract. I’m excited, not nervous now, to meet my host family, and I already started chatting with my host sister, she has Facebook!”

Read more about iE-USA Gap Year here.

Why do you go away?

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”

―Terry Pratchett

 

IMG_20140225_120431

 

Want to travel this summer or next spring? High school students can apply here

%d bloggers like this: