How to Prep Your Pup for Winter

The colder months are approaching, and it’s not uncommon to lessen focus on diet and exercise, and the same goes for furry friends during the cooler seasons. To keep your pup healthy this winter, it’s important to establish proper nutrition habits – which start by feeding your pet the right type of food.

“Whether it’s the increase in holiday parties or the decrease in temperature, healthy eating routines typically fall to the wayside during winter – for humans and pets,” said Dr. Jeff Weber, veterinarian and IAMS™ spokesperson. “In addition, it’s common for pet owners to stay indoors and out of the cold weather, which can negatively affect the daily activity and exercise required for dogs.”

Despite all the distractions and temptations of the season, it’s important to keep your dog on a steady diet that includes high-quality ingredients, each serving a purpose in his or her overall health.

“I recommend looking for a dog food with high-quality ingredients,” Dr. Werber said. “I like IAMS™ dog food because it offers quality protein and essential vitamins and minerals for your furry friend to stay healthy and active during the winter months.”

To provide these benefits, Dr. Werber recommends an option like the IAMS™ diet, which can help you see the following visible differences in your dog:

  • Healthy skin and coat: A rich source of omega-6 fatty acids from chicken fat promotes excellent skin and coat health.
  • Healthy energy: A customized protein and carb mix contributes to healthy energy levels.
  • Healthy digestion: Beet pulp helps maintain intestinal health and aids his or her ability to absorb nutrients.

Heading into the colder months it’s also important to sustain your active habits. Bundle up, head outside and let a high-quality diet fuel both you and your dog to make the most of the colder months.

For more tips and information on healthy habits for your pup, visit IAMS.com/VisibleDifference. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Iams

Smart, Kid-friendly Options for After-school Snacking

Whether they’re in a club or after-school program, play on a sports team or go straight home, when the school day is done, all children have something in common — they could use a good snack!

Children need healthy fuel after school, but often can be picky about what they’ll reach for. Parents can struggle to find snacks that are portable and provide the protein and nutrition kids need, plus deliver on the flavor and fun factor that will ensure their kids eat the snack instead of tossing it in the trash.

Hungry for snack ideas? Here are some tips for choosing snacks that parents can feel good about to help keep your kids going when the school day ends:

* Pack in protein — Protein is a vital component of a balanced diet, especially for the developing bodies of young children. Choosing a high-protein snack can also help children avoid the energy crash that occurs after consuming sugary snacks. Look for protein-rich snacks like Nature Valley Protein Chewy Bars, which offer 10 grams of protein and are available in kid-friendly flavors like Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate and Salted Caramel Nut.

* Whole grains are great — Whole grains offer a host of healthful nutrients, including B vitamins, minerals, protein and antioxidants, according to HealthLine. Children can get whole grains from many sources, including whole-grain breads, but cereal can be a very kid-friendly option for whole-grain goodness. Create your own small treat bags of cereal for on-the-go snacks. Options like Cheerios are made from whole grain oats, so they pack 24 grams of whole grain per serving — about half of the recommended daily allowance.

* Drink up, drink wisely — At the end of the day, kids thirst for something to go with their snack. Before letting kids reach for a juice or sports drink, remind them that water is the best beverage for everyone, regardless of what they do after school. Nothing hydrates like H2O, but if your child doesn’t like the taste of plain water, you can find many sugar-free, lightly and naturally flavored waters to tempt their taste buds.

* Calcium is key — Young bones do a lot of growing, and calcium is essential for bone growth. Children can benefit from snacks rich in calcium — which are, coincidentally, often also rich in protein — such as cheese and yogurt. String cheese or yogurt variations like E-Z open Go-Gurt are calcium- and protein-rich snacks that are also kid friendly, and easy to enjoy on the go during the busy school year. Put a frozen Go-Gurt in your kid’s backpack in the morning and it will stay cold until after-school soccer practice.

Numerous studies show after-school activities benefit kids physically, mentally and socially. Choosing the right after-school snacks can help ensure kids get the most enjoyment and nutritional benefits after the school bell rings. (BPT)

Texas Teen Book Festival Announces 2017 Schedule

Young Adult Book Festival to Feature All-Star Author Sessions, Panels, Workshops, Book Signings, Interactive Space, Costume Contest, and More
 
The Texas Teen Book Festival announced recently the full schedule for the 2017 edition, taking place on Saturday, October 7 from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at St. Edward’s University. This year’s Festival features an exciting program with opening keynote speaker Marie Lu and closing keynote speaker Jason Reynolds; panels and sessions by award-winning authors, including Lizzie Velásquez, Tillie Walden, Jennifer Mathieu, I. W. Gregorio, Mackenzi Lee, and Julie Murphy; plus book signings, educational workshops, a costume contest sponsored by Epic Reads, and the first-ever iTent.“It is finally time to announce the 2017 Texas Teen Book Festival schedule and we can stop struggling to keep secrets!” says TTBF Festival Director Shawn Mauser. “We are so excited to announce this program that has been in the works since January. We hope to see everyone out for a celebration of reading, authors, and the teens who love them!”The jam-packed festival day will begin at 8 a.m. and features panels, keynotes, and events, including:

  • 8 a.m. – TTBF Bookstore Opens, Alumni Gym
  • 8:30 a.m. – Early Bird Signings
    • Featuring: Marie Lu, Jason Reynolds, E. Lockhart, and Stephanie Perkins
  • 10 a.m. – Official Welcome and Opening Keynote at RCC Gym
    • Featuring: Marie Lu
  • 11:15 a.m. – Panel: To Thine Own Self Be True, at RCC Gym
    • Featuring Jason Reynolds, Zac Brewer, Tillie Walden, Renée Watson, and Corrie Wang
  • 11:15 a.m. – Panel: Me + You = Fate at Mabee Ballroom
    • Featuring Kathryn Ormsbee, Mackenzi Lee, Julie Murphy, Adam Silvera, and Jenna Evans Welch
  • 11:15 a.m. – Panel: The Ties That Blind at Jones Auditorium
    • Featuring Sandhya Menon, Amy Tintera, Jessica Taylor, Peter Bognanni, and Andrew Shvarts
  • 11:15 a.m. – Badgerdog Poetry Workshop 1 at Fleck Hall, Room 314
  • 11:15 a.m. – Barrio Writers Workshop at the Library, Room 141
  • 11:15 a. m. – Book Signings
  • 12:30 p.m. – Panel: Where I Belong: Stories of Immigration, Resilience, and Hope at RCC Gym
    • Featuring Mitali Perkins, Adi Alsaid, Francisco X. Stork, and Diana J. Noble
  • 1:30 p.m. – Special Speaker at RCC Gym
    • Featuring Lizzie Velásquez
  • 2:30 p.m. – Panel: Smart is the New Black at Mabee
    • Featuring Marie Lu, Ashley Poston, Kerri Maniscalco, and Ryan Graudin
  • 2:30 p.m. – Panel: Fierce Reads at Jones Auditorium
    • Featuring Mitali Perkins, Caleb Roehrig, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Jennifer Mathieu
  • 2:30 p.m. – WNDB Educator Workshop at Library, Room 142
  • 2:30 p.m. – Book Signings
  • 3:15 p.m. – Epic Reads Costume Contest Judging at RCC Gym
  • 3:30 p.m. – Panel: Of Myth & Mystery at Mabee Ballroom
    • Featuring E. Lockhart, Stephanie Perkins, Julie Buxbaum, David Bowles, and Cory Putman Oakes
  • 3:30 p.m. – Panel: It’s Time to Save the World… Again at Jones Auditorium
    • Featuring Cindy Pon, Aditi Khorana, Erin Bowman, Lisa Maxwell, and S.J. Kincaid
  • 3:30 p.m. – Badgerdog Workshop 2 at Fleck Hall, Room 314
  • 3:30 p.m. – Educator Workshop 2: AISD Educator Book Club with Adi Alsaid at the Library, Room 142
  • 3:30 p.m. – Book Signings
  • 4:15 p.m. – Opening to Closing Note: Essay Presentation at RCC Gym
  • 4:30 p.m. – Closing Note Speaker Jason Reynolds at RCC Gym
  • 5:30 p. m. – Final Group Signing
In addition to panels and workshops throughout the day, the Festival will feature:
  • Writing workshops hosted by Badgerdog and Barrio Writers at 11:15 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Badgerdog is a writing program of the Austin Public Library Foundation for writers of all ages and skill levels, and Barrio Writers is a creative writing program that provides free college level writing workshops to teenagers in underserved communities.
  • A We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) workshop led by Dhonielle Clayton, COO of WNDB, to discuss using diverse books in the classroom at 2:30pm. This workshop is specifically programmed for educators, who will also hear about WNDB’s new app, “Our Story,” a useful book-finding tool for teachers, librarians, and students. “Our Story” offers cool content from authors as well as WNDB-themed curriculum and material perks. This event is for pre-registered attendees only, and reservations are available via the Texas Teen Book Festival website.
  • An Austin ISD Adult Book Club and an Educator Book Club Discussion with Adi Alsaid at 3:30pm. This kick-off meeting will give adult readers the opportunity to meet Alsaid and discuss his latest novel, North of Happy.
  • Additionally, this will be the first year for the iTent. This interactive space is designed to bring YA fans closer to their favorite authors and will offer opportunities to learn, create, and share. Book Talks, Zine Making, and Ask Me Anything sessions will all take place in the iTent. Full iTent schedule to be announced closer to the Festival.
TTBF is presented in collaboration with the Texas Book Festival, BookPeople, a dedicated team of librarians, and venue sponsor St. Edward’s University. The program is made possible in part by a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.TTBF remains free and open to the public thanks to generous donors, sponsors, and dozens of committed volunteers. For more information, please visit www.texasteenbookfestival.org and keep up with announcements at Facebook.com/TexasTeenBookFestival, and on Twitter and Instagram @TXTeenBookFest.

Victoria Garcia Warmly Welcomes You to the 2nd Anniversary Issue of Teen InFluential

Victoria Garcia, Contributing Writer for Teen InFluential

Victoria Garcia, Contributing Writer for Teen InFluential

Teen InFluential Celebrates its 2nd Anniversary in Leather N’ Stripes, no less.

It’s with great pleasure to welcome you, our allegiant readers, to our second-year anniversary issue of Teen Influential. It is your interest and your loyalty that have made Teen InFluential such a trend setting success. Your devotion to our family of writers is highly appreciated and we are delighted to be part of your daily Zen.

As fall is upon us, young adults across the nation will become dorm residents. Will you be one? Do not let the drab walls and oak bed frames discourage you. We have just what you need inside this exciting edition. Inside, you will learn design tips to make your dorm as chic as you. Oh, and the freshman 15? Not happening. Enjoy our quick and healthy recipes to keep you energized and strong. Maybe you are destined for love this season? With love, all things are possible and we will guide you on ways to keep your feet grounded and your heart full.

So, journey with us as we share with you, ideas that will keep your mind intrigued, your body healthy, and your lifestyle balanced. Sit back, grab your favorite latte and let’s explore the greatest version of you.  After all, you are InFluential…

Victoria Garcia,

Contributing Writer

Teen InFluential 

Back-to-School: Top Car Buying Tips for Young Drivers

Photography courtesy of (c) Sergey Furtaev – Fotolia.com.

During back-to-school season, students are often on the hunt for what may be their first car. There are many factors to consider beyond budget, and experts say this can be a difficult process to navigate.

“With hundreds of makes and models to choose from, young car buyers can find it challenging to select the best match for their new lifestyles,” says Brian Moody, executive editor at Autotrader.

There may likely be conflicting priorities between the student who will be driving the car and the parents who may be funding the purchase.

To help families select cars for young drivers, as well as prepare them for safe travels, the experts at Autotrader are sharing tips and insights.

  • Consider new vs. used vs. hand-me-down: New cars don’t typically require much maintenance, which can make them good choices for young people, who should be focused foremost on their driving. Plus, new cars have all the latest safety features. However, new cars can mean depreciation, as they lose value at a much faster rate than used cars. While a used car will likely be cheaper, it may come with more maintenance costs. Lastly, parents may consider simply giving their current vehicle to their child, assuming the car is in good driving condition.

• Prioritize Safety: The latest safety features are particularly important for those with less experience behind the wheel. Before selecting a vehicle, consider reviewing crash test ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at safercar.gov.

• Rethink Value: Value doesn’t necessarily mean buying the least expensive car. Remember to take into consideration fuel economy, resale value and practicality. Is this a vehicle that will spend more time in the shop than on the road? Also consider which services will come with the purchase. Some new cars, for example, come with free scheduled maintenance for a specific number of miles. You can also narrow down your options based on which cars are most affordable to insure.

• Technology: Young drivers today are likely going to be keen on selections with in-car technology. Voice-activated Bluetooth, hands-free calling and music streaming are just a few features that may appeal to your young driver.

To help you further navigate the car-buying landscape, visit autotrader.com/collegecars.

Whatever way you acquire your vehicle, it’s important to remember that regular maintenance will extend the life of your car. Frequently wash your car to keep the paint and finish in good condition. Check tire pressure, inspect wiper blades, the engine, belts, hoses and coolant, and check alignment and suspension. While knowing how to perform these routine tasks is an invaluable skill, you may prefer taking your car to a professional. Find a trusted mechanic near your home or campus. That way, you’ll know who to call should you have an issue down the line.

Use this back-to-school season as an opportunity to become a savvier car shopper, a safer driver and a more responsible car owner. (StatePoint)

Teentastic: 5 Tips to Make Any Space Perfect for Young Adults

Teenagers are at a point in their life where they are looking to make their own mark and find their own space. You want to give it to them, but as you start considering renovation ideas, how do you create a space your teen will appreciate?

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America knows all about satisfying the needs of teenagers from all walks of life, and since 2009, they have partnered with Lowe’s to renovate clubs to ensure they are safe and inspiring places for youth. In 2016, the two organizations expanded their partnership with Renovation Across the Nation, a $2.5 million initiative to renovate one club in each of the 50 states. This year the program will provide $50,000 each to 50 additional clubs — one in each state.

Many clubs that receive this money use it to update their facilities for today’s teens so they have a desirable place to spend time after school. As they plan for the renovations, they get input from teen members and have learned some helpful insights about what teens look for in their own space. You can use these tips as well in your own home renovation project to create a space your teen will love.

* Make it a colorful, distinct area. Teens desire their own space where they can retreat and feel inspired. Paint the room with bright, vibrant colors that add a youthful vibe and select accessories with pops of color you can swap out as their tastes or trends change.

* Incorporate creativity. Giving teens access to items like art supplies, camera equipment and musical instruments encourages them to tap into their passions. Pay attention to what they’re interested in and make sure it has a place in their new space.

* Technology is key. Teens are used to having technology at their fingertips. Flat screens, charging stations and computers are tools that help them explore the future and are key to inspiring innovation. Find ways to infuse new technology, such as mood lighting, into the space to make it feel extra comfortable and cool for your teen.

* Create an environment for studying. Teens need a space that helps them focus on studying. Warm lighting and comfy chairs or bean bags help create a quiet, welcoming space for them to relax and learn. Create a homework station and your teen will have everything they need to stay organized and focused on their studies.

* Design a space they’ll want to share with friends. As you’re designing your space for your teen, be mindful of them inviting other teens over as well. If the space can easily handle multiple teenagers, it will be a place that can help them build new friendships or strengthen existing ones. At Boys & Girls Clubs, long tables encourage group activities, but in your teen’s space it could be as simple as extra seating for their friends.

Creating a great space for your teen is possible by focusing on what makes them unique. Make the space personal and functional with these five tips, and you’ll create a space that your teenager, and their friends, can’t wait to enjoy.

To learn more about the Renovation Across the Nation grants program and in-store donation opportunities to support Boys & Girls Clubs of America at Lowe’s stores, visit BGCA.org. To find products and materials to renovate a room for your teen, visit Lowes.com. (BPT)

Texas Teen Book Festival Announces 2017 Lineup

Young Adult Book Festival Will Feature Award-Winning Authors Francisco X. Stork, E. Lockhart, Adam Silvera, and More 

The Texas Teen Book Festival announced today their 2017 lineup, featuring New York Times bestselling authors E. Lockhart, Francisco X. Stork, Adam Silvera, Stephanie Perkins, Zac Brewer, and more. The 2017 Festival will take place on Saturday, October 7 at St. Edward’s University. TTBF is in its ninth year and remains free and open to the public.

“From high fantasy to high tech to high drama, TTBF’s Class of ’17 offers a little something for everyone,” says Meghan Goel, TTBF Programming Director. “With 38 featured authors, terrific programming partners like We Need Diverse Books, and a brand-new interactive space, this is shaping up to be our best Festival yet. See you there!”

This year’s lineup will feature a wide array of notable and award-winning authors. Among others, New York Times bestselling author Adam Silvera will present his book They Both Die at the End, and E. Lockhart will discuss her latest psychological suspense novel, Genuine Fraud, which tells the story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life.

Francisco X. Stork, author of Marcelo in the Real Word and winner of the Schneider Family Book Award for Teens, will join the lineup to discuss his new fiction work, Disappeared. TTBF will also showcase international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins and her novel There’s Someone Inside Your House, as well as bestselling author of The Slayer Chronicles Zac Brewer and his latest novel, Madness.

YA-genre enthusiasts will be able to enjoy sessions and panels throughout the one-day Festival, including a panel presented by Fierce Reads, the Young Adult initiative launched by Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. The Fierce Reads panel will feature authors Mitali Perkins, Caleb Roehrig, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Jennifer Mathieu.

TTBF authors will join previously announced keynote speakers Mayim Bialik, actress, neuroscientist, and author of Girling Up: How to Be Strong, Smart and Spectacular, and Marie Lu, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling series The Young Elites and the blockbuster bestselling Legend series. At TTBF, Marie will present her latest work, Warcross. Author Jason Reynolds will be the closing keynote speaker. Reynolds will launch his narrative verse novel, Long Way Down, at the 2017 Festival.

Mayim Bialik

Mayim Bialik

The full lineup of authors and their featured books for the 2017 Texas Teen Book Festival is as follows:

  • Marie Lu (Warcross)
  • Mayim Bialik (Girling Up)
  • Jason Reynolds (Long Way Down)
  • Adam Silvera (They Both Die at the End)
  • Adi Alsaid (North of Happy)
  • Aditi Khorana (Library of Fates)
  • Amy Tintera (Avenged)
  • Andrew Shvarts (Royal Bastards)
  • Anna-Marie McLemore (Wild Beauty)
  • Ashley Poston (Geekerella)
  • Caleb Roehrig (Last Seen Leaving)
  • Cindy Pon (Want)
  • Cory Putman Oakes (Witchtown)
  • Corrie Wang (The Takedown)
  • David Bowles (Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky— Barrio Writers Sponsorship)
  • Diana Noble (Evangelina Takes Flight)
  • E. Lockhart (Genuine Fraud)
  • Erin Bowman (Retribution Rails)
  • Francisco X. Stork (Disappeared)
  • Jenna Evans Welch (Love & Luck)
  • Jennifer Mathieu (Moxie)
  • Jessica Taylor (A Map for Wrecked Girls)
  • Julie Buxbaum (What to Say Next)
  • Julie Murphy  (Ramona Blue)
  • Kathryn Ormsbee (Tash Hearts Tolstoy)
  • Kerri Maniscalco (Hunting Prince Dracula)
  • Lisa Maxwell (The Last Magician)
  • Lizzie Velásquez (Dare to Be Kind)
  • Mackenzi Lee (Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue)
  • Mitali Perkins (You Bring the Distant Near)
  • Peter Bognanni (Things I’m Seeing Without You)
  • Renée Watson (Piecing Me Together)
  • Ryan Graudin (Invictus)
  • Sandhya Menon (When Dimple Met Rishi)
  • S.J. Kincaid (The Empress)
  • Stephanie Perkins (There’s Someone Inside Your House)
  • Tillie Walden (Spinning)
  • Zac Brewer (Madness)
A program of the Texas Book Festival, the TTBF is presented in collaboration with BookPeople, a dedicated team of librarians, and venue sponsor St. Edward’s University. The program is made possible in part by a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The 2016 TTBF boasted more than 4,000 attendees and an all-star lineup representing the best in literature for teens with more than 25 celebrated authors including New York Times Best Selling authors Sabaa Tahir, A.J. Hartley, Ally Carter, Leigh Bardugo, and celebrity author, actress, and comedian Mindy Kaling.

The one-day TTBF will take place on October 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at St. Edward’s University, 3001 South Congress Avenue. TTBF remains free and open to the public thanks to generous donors, sponsors, and dozens of committed volunteers. For more information, please visit www.texasteenbookfestival.org and keep up with announcements at Facebook.com/TexasTeenBookFestival, and on  Twitter and Instagram @TXTeenBookFest.

ABOUT THE TEXAS TEEN BOOK FESTIVAL

The Texas Teen Book Festival is a one-day event that celebrates the teen reading experience by inviting fans to visit with some of the most popular and critically acclaimed young adult authors in the country. The Texas Teen Book Festival was born as the Austin Teen Book Festival in 2009, when librarian Heather Schubert partnered with BookPeople to organize a gathering at Westlake High School. Five hundred guests and sixteen authors attended the first year and the event grew every year thereafter. From 2011-2013, the Festival was sponsored by the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation, and in 2014, the Festival became a program of Texas Book Festival and was renamed the Texas Teen Book Festival. One of the largest gatherings of its kind anywhere, the annual TTBF takes place in the fall on the campus of St. Edward’s University. For more information, visit www.texasteenbookfestival.org.

Writing a Winning College Essay

Tips for letting your story shine through

For the more than 2 million students applying to colleges and universities, the task of essay writing can be a dreadful experience.

Whether applying for admission or scholarships, many students find this part of the application process to be the most stressful and daunting part of their senior year. Often without understanding how to approach the essay, students struggle with staring at a blank page and finding a compelling topic.

However, according to Howard Reichman, president of EssayDog, an easy-to-use, cloud-based platform that helps students write winning college application essays, “a college application essay is really just a story – a story colleges want to hear about you.”

“Every good story, from a blockbuster movie to a novel from your high school English class to your favorite show, has four critical elements that make it fascinating and reveal inner depth about its characters,” Reichman said. “That’s exactly what you want your college application essays to do: show the real you beyond the test scores and GPA.”

According to Reichman, every good story has these four essential elements:

  1. The initial plan
  2. The anticipated outcome
  3. The setback
  4. The discovery

Whether students use an online tool like EssayDog, which gets students started quickly by asking them to write just one sentence about each of these four parts, or they tackle the task of essay writing on their own, the next step is to round out the narrative by filling in details that let the applicant’s true character shine through.

The essays that resonate most with college admissions departments typically convey a student’s intangibles or “the Four Ps,” specifically:

  • Passion: What drives you and what do you really care about?
  • Personality: What are you like to be around? Would your friends and family be able to identify you by reading your essay?
  • Perseverance: How do you respond to challenges? What gives you strength, both intellectually and emotionally?
  • Potential: What talents, interests and goals will you bring to a university’s campus next fall? How can a college help you further develop these as you continue to grow into adulthood?

More than anything, procrastination and stress are often students’ worst enemies when they sit down to begin the essay-writing process.

“If you feel you are wasting time, switching topics or disagreeing with your parents, teachers or college counselors about the direction your essays are taking, try going back to these simple storytelling techniques to ensure you are showcasing what sets you apart from other applicants with similar grades and scores,” Reichman said.

Visit essaydog.com or find EssayDog on Facebook and Twitter to find more tips for confidently writing standout college essays. (Family Features)

3 Reasons to Study Abroad During High School

Think about how your teenager will spend their next summer vacation.

What if their months off from school could include something much bigger than the usual lineup of part-time jobs, sports practices and hanging out with friends?

Picture this: Your teenager wakes up in a different bedroom in a different country, far from home. After eating a breakfast that may consist of new and different foods and flavors, served by a caring host family, your student heads out to have amazing experiences in a new land. Whatever the day brings, your teenager will remember it for a lifetime.

What surprises many is a summer of studying abroad is not just for college students. What’s also surprising: going abroad is not just for families of means. For all high school students, there is ample opportunity to spend their summer in a new country, having an experience of a lifetime that just isn’t available at home.

Every year, more than 300,000 U.S. students study abroad, according to the NAFSA: Association of International Educators. If your high school student were among them, how would the adventure transform their lives and futures?

1. They stretch and grow.

A summer abroad is the ultimate “stretch” experience a student could have. That is, learning to communicate in a foreign language and adapting to daily life in a different culture makes students who study abroad in high school more resourceful, and helps them develop their interpersonal skills and discover new solutions to obstacles.

“Many parents see a change in their students when they return from the experience of studying abroad,” says Matt Redman, vice president of Global Navigator High School Study Abroad programs at CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange, a nonprofit that operates more than 300 study abroad programs. “They just carry themselves differently because of that boost in maturity and confidence they gain from living in a new place during their summer break.”

2. They get exposure to bigger ideas and experiences.

If going abroad is an opportunity your student wants to pursue, it’s important to understand the options and to identify goals for the program so your teenager has the experience he or she is looking for. Some programs offer daily itineraries where students visit multiple cities and see the major sites. Others are more focused and offer interaction with local people, local language lessons and a chance to live and engage with the community. While both approaches offer valuable life experiences, learning can be balanced with fun.

For example, CIEE’s Global Navigators high school programs give students an opportunity to learn and work in a field of study, such as marine science, filmmaking or global entrepreneurship in places like China, Spain or Peru. At the same time, there’s room in the schedule for exploration and fun, where students sightsee, try new activities and participate in community events.

3. It prepares them for their next steps.

After their time in a different country, the feedback from the students is nothing short of inspiring.

“Our students often talk about the new things they’ve discovered about themselves just from having these new experiences far from home,” Redman says. “Along with becoming more independent, many talk about their plans for the future. With very few exceptions, they see college as an essential part of their futures. These teens are not only excited about going to college, they know what they want from life. In having these experiences, they find their focus, and they set goals.”

It’s easy to see how focus and passion can fuel a student’s drive to excel academically. Beyond college, research suggests studying abroad also has positive effects on career prospects.

Villanova University found that graduates who spent time in a different country as part of their studies had better opportunities and a higher job placement after graduation than those who did not.

In addition to that, businesses are increasingly seeking employees who can contribute a global perspective. According to the Association of American Colleges and Universities, 78 percent of 400 employers surveyed in 2015 said students should gain the “intercultural skills and understanding of societies and countries outside the U.S.” Yet only 15 percent of employers find these qualities in recent college graduates.

Thinking about it? The opportunity is closer than you think.

Studying abroad is long associated with families of means. Look for scholarship opportunities and doors can start opening for your teenager. For example, CIEE’s Global Navigator Scholarships are based on financial need and cover anywhere from 20 percent to 100 percent of their tuition costs, making the opportunity to study abroad and experience a new culture within reach for even more families. Since 2013, these scholarships have made international study a reality for more than 3,000 students. To learn more about CIEE’s Global Navigator High School Study Abroad program and the scholarships, visit ciee.org/globalnavigators. (BPT)