Lake Zurich High School Student Media

Bear Facts

Broadening Their Horizons

Emma Brumage-Kilcourse, staff writer

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While most students are excited to leave for college, some brave individuals are packing more than just suitcases, they will be packing passports to their futures.
In the last three years, only two students have chosen to go to college overseas, according to Bear Facts’ senior coverage. Adding their names to the select list of international students are Christian Schumacher, senior, who will be heading off to London this fall to study business management at Richmond University, a college for American students in London, and Bailey Recktenwald, junior, who is already planning to study in New Zealand when she graduates in May of 2018.
“I’m not nervous, really,” Schumacher, who is preparing to move approximately 3,950 miles away from home to London next year, said. “I’m probably like a lot of people [in that] I don’t really want to grow up quite yet and be alone.”
But while Schumacher thinks he’s like everyone else, he adds that living abroad will bring some life changes, like the fact, “I’m just kind of realizing that my first paycheck will probably be in a different currency.”
Schumacher first visited Richmond last year. He says a major part of why he was originally attracted to his school was the aesthetics. As he investigated the school more, however, he knew it would be the perfect place to fulfill his European dreams.
“It look[ed] like Hogwarts,” Schumacher said. “Out of all the colleges I looked at, this one was the closest to a big hub in Europe.”
Recktenwald, however, says she has not quite narrowed down her choice to one school. She started looking sophomore year, and last summer, she visited five different European colleges which made her decision to go overseas easier. While Recktenwald is looking forward to the prospect of studying overseas and experiencing “the new culture,” she says “it’s pretty nerve-wracking being that far away.”
Despite the nerves he shares with Recktenwald about moving so far away, Schumacher says experiencing another culture for college has been his dream for as long as he can remember.
“When I was a little kid, I always wanted to go to college in Europe,” he said.
His parents are supportive of him and excited for him to be experiencing new culture in college, although they are definitely disappointed that it will be more difficult to visit him, according to Schumacher.
“They never got to do anything like that in college,” Schumacher said. But he also knows that modern technology like Skype, facetime, and text will make communicating with the people he left behind much easier than it would have been otherwise.
“The reality is that I’ll see people exactly the same amount of time as I would if I went to college in the US,” he said.
One of the most important things, according to Schumacher, is visiting the school yourself before you enroll to get a feel for the campus. He had visited England when he was younger, but when he went to Richmond last summer, he was able to imagine himself living and studying on campus every day. Recktenwald went to international college fairs at different high schools in addition to exploring databases of other students who studied internationally.
Recktenwald and Schumacher both say they were surprised by the ease of finding and applying to international schools. Recktenwald used many different online databases to explore schools, and she said that many universities even use the Common Application just like American ones.
While leaving the country they have called home for eighteen years may be stressful, both students say they are excited for their future journeys.
Both students plan to live abroad for at least several years after graduation, though Recktenwald acknowledges that visa laws may complicate things – in England, for example, she said, you need to have accepted a position with a company there within a year of finishing school.
“You don’t really know what to expect until you’re there,” Recktenwald said. “It’s an adventure.”

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