TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time

Category: Gap Years

Posted June 7, 2016, 9 a.m. by Armi Kauppila | View Comments
Embrace a foreign language with these 5 effective tips!

Are you going overseas as part of a teen summer program or gap year and nervous about getting lost in a foreign language? Think you will struggle expressing basic needs in a new environment? Afraid of getting laughed at by locals for making "easy" language mistakes? Take my advice to push yourself through it and get the most out of it. Before starting my bridge year with Global Citizen Year in Senegal, I was most excited about learning a whole new language – French. It would be tough, but I had a lot of energy so I would rock it! ...

Posted May 6, 2016, 11:06 a.m. by Nicolaus Jannasch | View Comments
3 Tips for a Great Summer Program or Gap Year

First Time Overseas? 3 Tips for a Great Summer Program or Gap Year I’ve been on the road for over a full year and during that time lived in five different Asian countries for a few months each (Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, the Philippines, and China). I just spent some time in Florida for a conference after spending two months in Mexico. So if you are going on an overseas teen program this summer or setting off on a gap year, I can help. I’ve seen a lot, done a lot, and met many, many interesting people I would never run ...

Posted May 3, 2016, 10:45 a.m. by Marie Schwartz | View Comments
Why Malia Obama’s Gap Year will Make a Big Difference

Why Malia Obama's Gap Year will make a Big Difference Dear Malia: It’s great that you’re going to Harvard but hearty congratulations on a more important long-term choice: your decision to take a gap year. While Harvard encourages freshmen to take a year off after high school, it’s not easy for most seniors to buck the typical American pattern of going straight to college. Gaps may be popular in the United Kingdom and other places but here in the United States we have yet to make it realistic for the vast majority of students. Your decision encourages us to talk ...

Posted March 10, 2016, 9 a.m. by Brian Buntz | View Comments
5 Reasons to Volunteer Abroad on Your Gap Year

There are lots of things you could do doing a gap year so why consider going overseas to volunteer? We’ve got the top five reasons right here: 1. You can get clear on what you want from college. When applying for colleges, many students have a general idea of the subjects that interest them but may not be confident they will stay interested in those topics over the course of four years. Taking a gap year generates new interests and perspectives, and reveals new abilities. Adding volunteer work into a gap year not only promotes clarity but also generates new ...

Posted March 8, 2016, 9 a.m. by Nicolaus Jannasch | View Comments
Why I Wish I Paid More Attention In Language Class

I took a trip to Germany the summer after my freshman year. I was in a German learning program along with kids from all around the world, most of them from Europe. The number of languages they spoke blew me away. The Italian girls spoke English, German, Spanish and, of course, Italian. The Serbian guys spoke a smattering of Eastern European languages. Even the primarily English-speaking UK crowd had a good handle on Spanish and French. And then there was me, the American. I spoke English, and a few sentences in Spanish and German. This was after five years of ...

Posted Feb. 9, 2016, 9 a.m. by Suzanne Shaffer | View Comments
Considering College? Don’t Forget These Other Options

When my son was a high school senior he had no idea what he wanted to do after graduation. Since he was an average student, he felt college was not in the cards. Being involved in Junior ROTC throughout high school, he opted for the military instead of college. When he left for boot camp after graduation he was confident he had made the right decision. My daughter on the other hand, knew she wanted to go to college and where she wanted to go. When she graduated, she left for college content she had made the right decision. My ...

Posted Jan. 22, 2016, 9 a.m. by Dana Elmore | View Comments
How to Choose the Perfect Gap Year

Chances are you’ve heard and read plenty of information about gap years. Perhaps you want to consider spending a year or semester outside of a traditional classroom before college but your parents aren’t sure if it’s such a great idea. So what do you do next? Follow these steps to create a plan that fits everyone’s needs and desires. 1. Ask your parents about their concerns. Before you do anything else, sit down with your parents. Make a true effort to listen to what they have to say. Do not assume that you already know what they will share. Thank ...

Posted Dec. 17, 2015, 9 a.m. by Melanie Biles | View Comments
Study Abroad in High School? Why I Took the Plunge.

Going to France was always going to be a part of my life. When I was 14, my friend Kira’s father told us over dinner about when he had studied overseas in high school. I had always dreamed of studying abroad. Having grown up with close friends from Japan, France, and India, I had loved learning about other cultures and knew that travel would be an influential component of my life. That night, as we lingered over plates of pasta and Kira’s dad painted pictures of cobblestone streets and tiny boulangeries smelling of fresh bread and melting sugar, I knew ...

Posted Oct. 30, 2015, 8 a.m. by The Experts at TeenLife | View Comments
Make the Most of Your Gap Year with a D.C. Internship

Oonagh Cavanagh grew up in a small Vermont town, hiking, camping, skiing, and loving anything that had to do with the outdoors. So when she was looking for a gap experience before college, she looked for a program where she could put her passion about protecting the environment to work. The answer was American University’s Gap Program. AU offers gap students a chance to spend a semester or year in Washington, D.C., both studying and working as an intern. “I was ready for a change of pace,” says Oonagh, who spent a semester interning at the Earth Day Network and ...

Posted July 28, 2015, 8 a.m. by Casey Adams | View Comments
Four Lessons for Teens Camping in the Outdoors

Camping means no phone. It means no bed, no TV and, probably, no shower. At first pass, camping doesn’t seem comfortable or fun. So why bother packing up and heading to a nearby campground or lake or even farther? Well, you just might come back home with a few beautiful life lessons in addition to those stunning photos you can share when you have service again. A few National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) graduates shared their camping experiences and collected a list of life lessons. Let us know what you learn from getting outside, whether it's the back country or ...

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