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Why is International Education Important?

So you’re considering the Spanish Summer Immersion Camp?

Find out more about the Spanish Summer Immersion Camp:

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

 

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

Make this summer amazing!

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You will be in Argentina drinking the local beverage, ‘Mate’!

This summer there are opportunities to learn Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, or French while staying with a host family in another country. You could decide to volunteer with turtles in Costa Rica or whales in Argentina, or learn how to Tango! It’s not too late to apply, even for graduating seniors. Make this summer memorable!

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Or you will be in Beijing, exploring every afternoon.

Learn more

Apply here

Resources for Belgium

Are you thinking of studying abroad in Europe? Why not Belgium? You only need to know 1-2 years or French or have an interest in learning Dutch. These resources may inspire you, or get you excited to travel to Belgium, the home of the European Union!

European Union Headquarters

European Union Headquarters

Videos: 
Belgium Beyond Expectations:  http://www.belgiumbeyondexpectations.be

Twitter feeds to follow: 

@Belgium_I_Love

@belgiuminfo

@brusselstourism

Blog post about waffles!

Waffle or "Gaufre"

Waffle or “Gaufre”

To apply for a semester, summer or year abroad in Belgium, click here

 

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