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Interested in traveling abroad and practicing your language skills? 
This year, high school students of the Iowa City Community School District have the opportunity to travel to Spain, Costa Rica, and France for 10-12 days during Spring Break. In order to travel, students have to be in good academic standing in all of their classes and be enrolled in a Level III, Level IV or AP IV/V class.

On the trip, students will get to explore the major cities of the respective countries, view the important tourist attractions, wonderful museums, and historic castles. Besides these excursions, there will be plenty of time set aside for shopping, leisure, and cultural activities. It’s a great way to practice the language while interacting with the locals! Besides the obvious linguistic opportunities that such a trip offers, all the participants, even those who are not very proficient in the foreign language, will make many discoveries about both the culture and themselves. Spain and France are countries which are well-known for their unbelievable histories, fascinating art, unrivaled architecture, beautiful language, and, of course, incredible food.

Studying a language in another country is one of the most influential experiences that a teen can have. The world is instantly enlarged, and the students come home with a much greater appreciation for other cultures. Tolerance and understanding are enhanced, and the students also have an entirely different outlook on their life and customs. As a part of the program, students will travel together to several main tourist destinations as well as participate in a homestay environment with host families. The host families provide all their meals, accommodation, and entertainment. They also understand that these students have traveled a long way in order to learn new things, and they embrace the component of the program. Making new friends abroad creates a strong motivation for the continued study of the language and culture.

The cost for this trip covers transportation, living accommodations, and entrance fees to all attractions. While staying with host families, all meals will be provided. For all the travelers who have signed up to attend this unique learning program, there will be several scheduled seminars at school to prepare them for their trip abroad. Students will learn more about the target culture: the food, the people, how to take a train, money exchange and much more. Students from previous year trips will also be present at the seminars so that the current travelers can address any concerns about the trip directly with past travelers and hear what they have to say.

Ready, set, grow!
Think of travel abroad as an extension of your studies at home. Your time away should be an integrated part of your foreign language development. Travel abroad definitely challenges you on a personal level. Whether you consciously realize it or not, you develop a greater self-confidence, independence, and self-reliance. By the time you return home, you may feel like a superhero: You can do anything!

Travel abroad may be the first time you are truly away from home — all your familiar surroundings here in the U.S., as well as friends and family. While this isn't always easy, most students agree that the benefits of giving up your familiar environment for a short period of time far outweigh the reasons to stay at home. Believe it or not, if you immerse yourself in a new culture, experiment with new ways of thinking, or try a different way of living, you naturally experience some sort of personal growth. After you master your new culture and the living abroad life, you will return home much wiser and probably more impressed with yourself for having had a successful time abroad.


Changing your perspective 
If you go abroad with an open mind, then you're certain to return to the U.S. a more enlightened person. One of the major benefits of traveling abroad is its ability to broaden your world understanding and perspective on just about anything. You gain a different view of international affairs, from politics to economics to social issues. You also return with a deeper understanding and respect for your host country, knowing how another culture approaches daily life and unusual challenges.

Before you take the plunge, think about your own personal reasons for wanting to go abroad. Whatever your reasons for traveling abroad, make sure that they are not only attainable but also positive. For example, learning a second language, studying about another culture, diversifying your cultural perspective, preparing for college, or traveling to meet new people are all good reasons to travel abroad.

So, what are you waiting for? 
Talk to a language teacher now for more information and ask about the application process. The earlier you sign up for the trip, the more you save.