By Zaid Aboobacker
KUWAIT: Many students think about moving abroad for university, but very few are aware of the options for spending their senior years of high school abroad. High school students are venturing abroad to study in different countries. This journey allows them to break away from familiar surroundings and explore diverse cultures, academic environments and new opportunities.
From traditional boarding schools to unconventional learning programs and student exchange initiatives, high school students have various opportunities to immerse themselves in global education. Moving to a different country and studying in a boarding school during your high school years will definitely make you stand out in your university applications later. You can find various possibilities to study abroad in your final years of high school by conducting a quick Google search.
Most of these schools offer boarding facilities and even financial support, if needed! Many high schools offering boarding facilities adhere to the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) curriculum. With a reputation for promoting intercultural understanding, the IBDP curriculum prepares students to be globally competent and open-minded individuals. Most residential schools offer the IBDP program, which is a two-year final year program for high school students, offered for mostly 15- to 17-year-olds, after which the student can apply for university.
The IBDP is one of the best high school diplomas for university applications, particularly US universities including the Ivy League. Some schools like UWC Adriatic and UWC Mostar have an open campus, which means facilities such as the dorms, labs and classes are spread across town, which enables students to integrate with the local community in Italy and Bosnia faster. Many of these schools often offer unique education systems like TGS (Think Global School), which makes students travel to four different countries and live with the local community for projects and studies based on their subjects of choice.
Student exchange programs are another way of experiencing life abroad, though this mostly lasts a year and you have to return and complete the rest of your high school years before going to college. It is best for young students to start building their profile/application early.
A student’s profile will be heavily influenced by your grades, extracurricular activities, internships, starting initiatives and volunteer work. Some schools, like UWC and TGS, focus more on character than grades, but they do take grades into account — just not as seriously as you might expect. Also, do make sure that the school you join has a recognized diploma, so you do not have any trouble going to your desired university.