Education Letter to the Editor

Studying Abroad: Gains Outweigh the Losses

January 03, 2006 1 min read

To the Editor:

Your article “Studying Abroad Can Delay Students’ Education Attainment” (Dec. 7, 2005) reminded me of my son’s experience. He applied to the AFS Intercultural Programs and was accepted as an exchange student to Australia for 1994. His school counselor warned him that he might not graduate with his class, might not earn a New York state Regents diploma, might not be able to take the SAT, and might not be accepted to college as a result.

When my son brought those concerns to us, his parents, we told him we were confident that what he would gain from living abroad for a year would far outweigh anything he might learn by staying home and attending the local high school.

He did spend a year in Australia, missing half of his junior and senior years here. He came back having grown immeasurably in many ways. And while he didn’t end up getting a Regents diploma or taking the SAT, he did go on to college and succeeded very well there.

I still recall with amusement the consternation of our local school officials when we insisted that they give our son credit for the classes he took abroad. It took weeks for them to figure out how to score his Australian grades to their equivalent (going as far as three decimal points in some cases) in a way that would not jeopardize the senior-class rankings that had already been calculated.

Donna Seymour

Potsdam, N.Y.