IUHPFL is a demanding experience on every level: academic, personal, social, emotional and physical. It is not for the faint of heart, and it may not be right for everybody.
Accepted students are placed in one of twelve sites in eight countries depending on their language of study. Each site has been intentionally selected to offer a rounded host culture experience that offers impressions of daily life, history, business, nature, activities, entertainment and excursions.
Life-changing Summer Abroad
Because it is nearly impossible to describe with mere words what students experience and how their lives change during and after the summer abroad, this section is dedicated to testimonials and visual impressions of IUHPFL.
Maintaining Sports and Music While Abroad
Many prospective IUHPFL students are involved in extra-curricular activities, including sports and music. They are often part of a school team or band and must maintain a rigorous schedule to excel in their chosen activities. IUHPFL is set up to support students while they are abroad. Accepted IUHPFL students who are athletes or musicians are encouraged to disclose such information on their acceptance materials. This way IUHPFL can better accommodate their wishes. Music students have the option of bringing their instrument abroad or renting one onsite. Potential costs for either option, however, must be covered by the student or guardian.
Onsite, instructors will work with host families and local gyms, coordinate with other students who pursue similar activities and facilitate that students have time to practice while still participating in all IUHPFL-related activities. Students are advised to discuss their summer plans with their coaches to ensure they receive training or practice guidelines.
According to IUHPFL alumni testimonials, it is hard to quantify the impact IUHPFL has on the lives of its participants. Successful participants achieve language skills that far surpass results from regular classroom settings and often catapult language capabilities to a fifth semester college level* — but this is just one program benefit. In addition, student confidence and maturity increase considerably while their sense of world understanding and other cultures expand. Friendships forged abroad, with host families and fellow participants, last a lifetime; something to which alumni from the sixties and seventies can attest.
As such, the value of IUHPFL is difficult to measure. One thing is clear: in the evermore global world of the 21st century, knowing and speaking a second language well and being able to relate to a foreign culture are highly sought-after skills. No classroom, two-week cultural vacation or camp can provide the meaningful life-changing experience IUHPFL offers.
In addition to increased proficiency in their target language, IUHPFL students develop lifelong skills related to independent thinking and relationship building. Students learn to navigate and communicate in a foreign country. They truly immerse and live the language.
Teachers report that their students return with a deep understanding of what culture really means. Students come to the realization that there is more than one way of doing things, that humans in other countries often have similar needs and wishes.
*According to research conducted at Indiana University, Bloomington