Travel Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Studying abroad is different for every student — some travel in groups while others go solo; some are excited to try new things, while others needs a little encouragement. The experiences may be different, but one thing is for sure, travelling while earning a high school credit is an adventure of a lifetime.

This week we launched our International Summers 2020 programs. We are excited to offer 25 programs in 25 countries next summer including our newest program destination, Greece! From Europe to Australia, to the Amazon, we provide opportunities for students to get out of their comfort zone and gain experiences they will carry for a lifetime.

Our former International Summers student, Jasmine, is sharing the experiences she had studying abroad solo and how it lead to new friendships and personal growth.

Jasmine with friend in cloud forest

By: Jasmine Delima-Baril

Some would describe me as a shy person. I’m usually not one to be open to people right away and I never was good at meeting new people. I liked being familiar with everything and was worried of things that were new and different. When I was registering for my Blyth Academy International Summers program, I knew that it would be the biggest step out of my comfort zone I have ever taken. I was hesitant about travelling alone, worried that I wouldn’t make friends and that I would miss home. Thankfully, those worries didn’t stop me from signing up and eventually going to Costa Rica.

There, I was transformed into a different person. Suddenly, I found it so easy to meet people. I found myself starting conversations with people I hadn’t met yet, trying and experiencing new things and gaining so much more confidence. I met people who became my family for the three weeks I was away from home. They were my best friends everyday and even since the program has ended, I still keep in touch with them. It’s amazing to see how a group of strangers at first can become so close that the tearful goodbye seemed like it was way too soon.

Going on my program improved my social skills and my confidence among so many other things and I want to encourage those of you who are reading this to try an International Summers program so that you too can benefit from it in so many ways. For those of you who are -like I had been-worried about travelling alone, here’s some of my advice:

Talk to New People

On Blyth Academy International Summers programs, the environment is so friendly and inclusive. Everyone is open to meeting new people, trying new things, and ultimately having the best month of their life! At the beginning of your program, it can be intimidating to be surrounded by people you don’t know, but everyone is super friendly and willing to make new friends. It’s important to keep in mind that sometimes you will have to make the first move and introduce yourself to new people. It can be scary at times but just take a deep breath and remember that by introducing yourself to new people, you could be meeting someone that will become your lifelong friend. The more people you meet, the more comfortable you will become.

Jasmine with friends on the beach under a rainbow
jasmine taking selfie with friends on suspension bridge in Cloud Forest


Blyth Academy International Summers take place in some of the most incredible countries in the world. Take this opportunity to explore and learn about the beautiful country you are in. During your program, you will have some time where it is up to you how you want to spend it. I encourage you to take advantage and go out and explore the city as opposed to staying in your hotel. Go to a new restaurant, visit a new place, try the country’s native foods, and experience all it has to offer.

jasmine with friends on suspension bridge in Cloud Forest
Jasmine with group of friends in front of Arenal waterfall

Make the most of your time

This program is a once in a lifetime experience to be where you are with the people you are with. Make the most of your time and appreciate every moment. Try to not be on your phone all the time. Instead, spend that time meeting new people or visiting new places. Time passes very fast and before you know it, your group will be saying its goodbyes.

For information about Blyth Academy’s 2020 International Summers programs, please click here.

Though our physical doors remain temporarily closed, the minds of our students stay open. Summer classes are continuing to meet on their regular daily schedules, in virtual classrooms with face-to-face instruction and peer interaction.  The Blyth Academy model of small class sizes, flexible scheduling and individualized approach have enabled us to remain faithful to our standards. Our commitment to ongoing and meaningful communication between school, teachers, students and families has been critical to this effort.

Although our students have transitioned into summer mode and COVID-19 restrictions have begun to loosen, we are looking ahead to what September will hold for our campuses and families.
We want to be clear - our preference and our priority is to get students back to our campuses, but we must ensure this is done in a safe and effective way. While we await official guidance from Public Health and the Ministry of Education, a "return to school" task force has been hard at work putting concrete operational plans in place for all likely scenarios. This includes a full return to campus with safeguards, a blended model of virtual and in-campus learning and the continuation of fully virtual classrooms. All scenarios will provide robust learning and live, daily instruction and interaction with teachers and peers. 
With ten campuses across Ontario, we realize that each one of our schools is a unique space and community. We will be implementing across-the-board policies on hand washing, facility cleaning and social distancing measures. Each school is also prepared to pivot individually based on the guidance of local health authorities and to best serve students and families. 
Our recent survey showed that over 80 per cent of Blyth Academy families are eager to return to campuses, and we are hard at work to prepare for this day. As September's scenario becomes clearer and more information becomes available, we will continue to communicate. 

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