Study tours aren't just for youngsters anymore

By Xu Lin ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-05-27 07:33:08

Study tours aren't just for youngsters anymore

Shen Lingling (center) with friends from various countries while undertaking her 12-month study tour program in Chicago. Photo provided to China Daily

Last April, 35-year-old Shen Lingling decided to quit her job and do a gap year for a 12-month study tour program in Chicago.

Most of her friends were amazed. But she found it a good way to brush up her English and have enriching travel experiences around the United States.

"My career had hit a bottleneck then. I thought it was time to take a rest and experience a new lifestyle. I want to challenge myself, so I started from my weak spot-English," says Shen, who is hunting for a new job in Shanghai. She is about to go to London to have another "learning vacation" for one month.

"I want to explore more of the world and keep learning. You can probe your self-identity again in the process and realize that you're not as knowledgeable as you thought," she says.

Shen joined the program of the Switzerland-based international-education company Education First, and spent around 200,000 yuan ($32,300) on tuition and dormitory fees in Chicago. It was worth the money, she says, because she's made great progress, broadened her horizons and enjoyed her life in the US.

"In China, a study tour is not exclusively for teenagers anymore. More and more office workers have realized the importance of foreign-language competency in their careers," says Linus Jonsson, EF's China country manager of International Language Centers.

He says the participants didn't have the opportunity to study abroad and explore the world-and themselves-when they were younger. Now they are financially independent and have sufficient time.

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