Living Abroad and Teens

Parent Q&A

Year abroad during high school? Jun 5, 2021 (4 responses below)
6 months abroad with family during junior year? Jan 2, 2021 (9 responses below)
  • Year abroad during high school?

    (4 replies)

    My husband and I are considering going abroad during his next sabbatical, when our son will be a sophomore in high school. Our daughter will have just graduated. We are considering Spain, Mexico, Australia, the UK, or maybe Germany. Has anyone done this? Are there ways to make the schooling transferable? Or do they have to do an independent study? I’d be very interested in advice from anyone who has done this with a high school student. 

    Hi, we are doing this right now. We moved abroad in December and my daughter is a sophomore. We were supposed to only be here (South Africa) for 6 months, but are extending for at least another year. It's been amazing for our children. They are attending an American school so the schedule stayed the same, so she won't have any issue with transferring credits, but mostly I found international schools are very well versed on students that are coming from other countries and other curriculums. There are kids who move every few years for various reasons so international schools are prepared to make sure their schooling keeps up. 


    My daughter spent a semester abroad in junior year ( pretty difficult but totally worth it)

    I guess it depends on the school he is currently enroll in. In our case, my daughter went to Bishop O'Dowd and we made an agreement. There are some requirements for graduation and maybe to completed junior year, so she took extra classes here via K-12 online school. You will need to translate and certificate all his grades but it is not a big issue. The big issue was how they account for his grades here and the fact that evaluation in the US tends to be easier, so many kids have A's....that is not that common in other countries, therefore his gpa maybe compromise to enter in college, if he lower his grades...

    We would not had done it in any other way, she had a great experience even though her grades did not allow her to get into the UC system...She graduated with honors from USF :)

    I wish I would had taken that time as well to go with her.

    Good luck!!

    Your best bet is to go somewhere with an American high school. The curriculum in other countries is likely different enough that otherwise there might be problems getting credit. For example in Germany high school is less of a course system. You have more subjects per school year but fewer time with each. But you have each subject over several years. So your child would likely end up with lots of partial credits which are of no real use.

  • Hi BPN! My husband and I find ourselves at a transition point with the possibility of traveling or living abroad for 6 months in the fall of 2021. We have a 10 and a 15 year old.  The 15 year old will be starting her junior year at Oakland Tech.  I am wondering if anyone has done this at a similar time?  We are at the very early stages but we know that we can't afford to do this AND enroll her in a private school abroad and, we also are leaning towards not settling in one place for the whole 6 months, but moving around frequently. If anyone has any knowledge to share about:

    - the possibility of independent study through OUSD for a situation like this.

    - the possibility of returning to Tech (retaining your spot) in the Spring. 

    - other options for completing A-G requirements independently and remotely.

    - whether or not this is a terrible idea in terms of preparation and chances for college.  She is a good student who wants to go to college, but is not set on highly competitive universities or anything like that. In fact, her big wishes are to go to college abroad and not be in debt for the rest of her life. She is also very young - she won't turn 16 until October of her junior year so a gap year has always been on the table for her. 

    I would also love to hear any other general advice about a venture like this with kids of this age!  Thank you!

    I’m jealous and want to go the same but husband says no! I think the travel would be an absolute advantage in the long run. I’d go for it in a heartbeat.

    You might be interested in this fb group -- families that travel with children. Lots of threads about similar questions, although not specific to Oakland Tech, or A-G (California).  Enjoy!

    Congratulations on this great opportunity! I don't have any direct advise on the immediate Junior Year issue, but there is a FaceBook Group for parents of college students studying abroad called Flown Abroad, Full-Time Version.  You will have to join the private group but there is a ton of great advice on how to prepare and what to expect for a college abroad experience.  It could help in the bigger picture planning, and if you are able to layer in some school visits into your trip it might help keep you all on path.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Sabbatical Year of Travel with 11 and 13 year olds

Sept 2002

We're considering taking a sabbatical somewhere down the road (perhaps five years or so from now) and spending the academic year traveling with our two kids (who'll be about 13 and 11) - Wondering if any other parents have had such an adventure, either with your own kids or during your childhood - any pros and cons, anything big that the kids missed out on during the year abroad, any other advice greatly appreciated. We'd be traveling in Lonely Planet style. World travelers with kids in tow

When I was 11 years old, we moved from Berkeley to Chestnut Hill, MA (suburbof Boston) so my father could do a sabatical at MIT. My sister was 14 and my brother was 8 and we all LOVED it. It was an incredible learning experience. We stayed for the school year and I will always remember it. Almost every weekend we did ''enriching'' trips around the east coast. It was very educational to see how different the east coast (and in particular a place like Chestnut Hill) was from Berkeley. katherine

I spent a year abroad with my family when I was 13-14 and it was an incredibly wonderful experience that I have carried with me always (I am now in my late 30s). Going into it, of course I was worried about all the things I would miss, but I enjoyed the adventure from beginning to end (I cried much of the way home), and found that of course I hadn't missed anything at all. My school and friends were just as I'd left them. I was the one who had changed, though, and home felt really tame. When the time comes, my husband, son and I will definitely spend a sabbatical abroad. The hard part will be choosing where to go! Good luck.