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New Educatius report highlights importance of international experience for youth resilience
WYSE News | May 1, 2024

As the world marks Mental Health Awareness Month this May, a new report from Educatius sheds light on the invaluable role that international experience plays in building resilience and supporting the well-being of youth.

The Global Youth Resilience Index by Educatius surveyed over 4,000 teenagers aged 16-20 from 9 countries in their own language. The survey, based on the MCRI’s Adolescent Resilience Questionnaire (ARQ) and conducted by the YouGov analysis institute using CAWI methodology, found that international experience and comfort with new cultures and languages are strongly linked to higher levels of resilience among young people.

Key findings from the report include:

Multicultural and Language Comfort Boosts Resilience

  • Approximately 44.2% of participants felt comfortable expressing themselves in a non-native language. This comfort with language acquisition was associated with higher levels of resilience.
  • A significant portion of participants had traveled or lived abroad independently, indicating the critical role of cultural immersion in building resilience and preparing students for global citizenship.

Future Aspirations Tied to Resilience

  • 49% of surveyed teenagers expressed a desire to live or study abroad in the next 3-5 years. This international ambition was linked to higher resilience, suggesting that global education not only attracts resilient students but also contributes to their personal growth.

Resilient Youth Feel More Connected

Participants with stronger resilience characteristics, such as confidence and emotional insight, reported feeling better connected to their families, friends, schools, and communities. This sense of belonging and support is crucial for mental health.

“As a global exchange organization, each year we witness firsthand the transformative impact that international experiences can have on young people,” said Educatius Vice President of Communications, Carla Kearns. “This report underscores how immersion in new cultures and languages fosters resilience – a critical skill for navigating the mental health challenges facing today’s youth.”

The findings come at a crucial time, as health organizations worldwide report an alarming rise in mental health issues among adolescents. Globally, one in seven 10-19 year olds experience a mental disorder, accounting for 13% of the global burden of disease in this age group, according to World Economic Forum, 2023.

“Providing opportunities for young people to step outside their comfort zones and engage with diverse perspectives is not only valuable for their personal growth but can also be a powerful tool in supporting their overall well-being,” added Kearns.

Educatius, which has welcomed thousands of international students onto its high school exchange programs over the past 21 years, collaborated with youth mental health experts Stella Barnhälsa to develop the Global Youth Resilience Initiative to foster the resilience of international students on its programs via training, operational reviews and global research.

Member snapshot

Educatius for more than 20 years, we’ve been making dreams come true for international students. From our offices all over the world, we place students in excellent high schools and cultural exchange programs, match them with a welcoming host family and provide expert support throughout their stay. Governments in Asia, Latin America and Brazil have entrusted us with hundreds of their sponsored students, and so have parents in more than 50 countries. Through our long-term partnerships with top schools in 10 countries and best-in-class student support, students unlock the world.

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Country: USA