Over on our Twitter account, we follow a lot of different accounts that post lots of great information about colleges, financial aid, scholarships, the applications process, and so on. Typically, on Saturday and/or Sunday mornings, I have time to scroll through the feed and see what things I might not have caught during the week. This can be a good way to find lots of information. It can also be bad. Very bad. As in I think I’m moving (financially) in the wrong direction.
A couple of weeks ago, I saw a tweet from VolunTEEN Nation about programs to study abroad for high school students. Remember in my last post where I discussed encouraging MM’s love of travel? Yup. It came back to bite me in the bee-hind. I sent MM the link to NSLI for Youth. I honestly did not read the site as closely as I should have, although I did go through it a lot. I guess it’s more accurate to say I didn’t fully understand what I was reading. At any rate, I sent it to MM and she was off and running. I could not have imagined what I started. Actually, I think I perhaps should have realized what my adventurous
spawn daughter would do!
Armed with a laptop and a wandering spirit, MM has hatched a plan. She eventually discovered AFS and their programs. They have study abroad programs around the world, ranging from a summer language immersion course, to a full academic year abroad. Nightly, she’d come into my room and lay out her plans. Of course, since this is MM, she doesn’t do anything small or halfway. No sir. She is going in whole hog. She wants to do a full academic year abroad.
Now while this is exciting, I have had a chance to digest it and I’m reaching full on panic mode. Not at the thought of sending my dear, sweet child away for a year. No. We’ll be lucky if foreign governments don’t beg me to take this strange child back. What I’m freaking out about is 1) cost, 2) academic credit here at home, 3) cost, and 4) did I mention cost???? For example, a semester in France costs $12,750! Full year tuition costs are not posted yet, but should be soon. I’m not sure I want to know. MM, who admittedly has done a lot of reading up on this, says she saw that the full year program is actually not a lot more than the semester. We shall see. But, now you can see why I feel like I’m moving in the wrong direction. We’re supposed to be finding money, not spending it!
Being the person I am and the mom I have been, I am not ruling it out. And after a bit of worry about having lost focus on the scholarship search, I saw the silver lining. Like I said, MM has taken charge on this. She has been diligently researching the programs and narrowed it down to AFS based on structure, offerings, etc. I followed up and agree that AFS does seem to be the best fit. She set up an appointment with her school counselor to discuss what she would need to do to make certain this does not negatively impact her graduation date. MM says she reviewed curriculum for the programs she’s considering and said she’d only have to take US History next summer to make up for a missed class. She joined the company’s Facebook page to ask questions of alumni. She is also following up with me to make sure I’m attending the webinars hosted by AFS to find out more about the company and get my questions answered. So, while we have taken a break from applying for scholarships (I am still looking though!), I feel MM has been using her time wisely because she is learning to manage a process on her own and practicing her problem solving skills.
So, the next step is to see if this is even financially possible, speak personally with the school counselor, and go from there.
But, now that we have gotten to this point, I think MM owes me a scholarship application. Mom needs to be kept happy, right?
Talk to your school and look at it very closely. High School study abroads can delay graduation. My brother looked into a bunch of programs and it ended up not working out.
Not that I’m saying this wouldn’t be an awesome opportunity. I fully support and encourage studying abroad. I just don’t want you guys to miss something.
I totally agree. That’s what my meeting with the counselor will be about. I’m going to triple and quadruple check about the credits. It may be a moot point, considering the tuition.