In a world where our youth are constantly competing against one another to be the “best and brightest,” it is increasingly important to consider ways to enhance our child’s résumé, and therefore their future opportunities.
As parents, we want our children to be well-rounded and cultured, but not while sacrificing their education and overbooking them during the school year. This is where summer opportunities come into play.
We’re bombarded with options, ranging from summer camps in the Rockies to leadership forums at prestigious universities. Sports camps, backpacking treks…if you can name it, someone is offering it. With an increasing focus on volunteer work during the college admissions and job-seeking processes, programs that allow students to give back, while also developing in other areas, are the top choices.
Global Leadership Adventures offers summer programs for teens that provide a gateway to knowledge, exploration and service for your teenager, all while expanding and enriching their understanding of the world around them. GLA programs are all held in developing countries, where students can play an active role in assisting a community in need, and they can also immerse themselves in cultures far different from their own. These programs impact students on many levels, and while the experience abroad is an eye-opening one, students also form close-knit bonds with peers and mentors, which is important in creating a broad network and support system.
Take a look at 3 reasons to make a volunteer program abroad a priority for your child this summer.
When teenagers return from nearly a month living independently in a foreign country, the first thing many parents notice is their renewed appreciation for the lives they lead and the opportunities they are given. As Grey Gondella, whose daughter visited Ghana in 2012, put it, “She returned much more confident and ready to try new things, and had matured a lot in a small space of time. My expectations were exceeded. This went much farther than merely “seeing” another culture. She was as fully immersed as possible.” Experiencing such drastically different ways of life allows students to gain a better understanding of their own opportunities, and to reflect back on the cultural borders they crossed on their summer adventure.
Experiencing what life is like in communities other than our own doesn’t only teach our children to view their own lives in a different way, but it also gives our students an opportunity to form, and learn from, a travelling community of their own! Our teenage groups form inseparable bonds with others from all over the country, working together to enact positive change in their new surroundings and having tons of fun along the way! There is no better chance to combine education, personal development and to instill a personal sense of adventure in your child than through an opportunity to travel abroad as a teenager. It is an experience they will draw from and reflect back on for the rest of their lives, and although it can be scary to imagine sending your child to another country without you, it is a life lesson they’ll appreciate even more as they mature.
International volunteer trips don’t only impact your child on a personal level. Across the globe, students and their families are looking for ways to gain an edge in an increasingly competitive educational environment, and travel experience is one area of student résumés that college admissions officers take into consideration. “What we care about is that students have done something that means something to them,” said Richard Shaw, Stanford’s dean of undergraduate admission. Additionally, Shaw added that going on a “three-to-five day experience to see what poverty looks like, as a sort of mea culpa for never having been involved in social or community issues should be avoided.” GLA’s globally-minded students stand out against other prospective college candidates due to their month-long commitment, their full and independent immersion in the local culture, and their work on a significant service project in the community.