Live the life of an ordinary high school student, in a far-from-ordinary place.
School schedules, activities, cultures, and curricula are as diverse as the destinations themselves — which is all part of the adventure!
You’ll go to classes in the native language at a local high school, where you’ll likely be the only American. Living with a host family, you’ll experience the cuisine, traditions, and daily lives of the locals firsthand, every day. And even more opportunities to learn will be available to you, through organized activities and excursions planned to show you the highlights of your host country.
You can expect a life-changing experience that will improve your language skills and help develop your independence, resilience, and sense of self. Think of the unique essays you’ll be able to write for your college applications! Your time abroad will set you apart and give you an advantage over other students in the increasingly competitive college admissions race. In fact, alumni of this program have gone on to attend such prestigious universities as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Georgetown, New York University, and the University of California, Berkeley.
Local High School Placement
You’ll be placed in a reputable, well-established public or private high school. We have relationships with schools all over the world. You’ll attend classes in the local language and follow the normal local curriculum. Walking in the shoes of a typical teen, you’ll quickly become part of the local scene.
You may be the only American at the school, but you’ll make new friends and build relationships before you know it. Our alumni consistently tell us it didn’t take long to find a group of friends and bond with people they’ll stay in touch with for a lifetime. You’ll be the envy of your American buddies as you take on a high school experience you’ll cherish forever!
Local Host Family Placement
A carefully vetted host family, interested in welcoming a foreign student into its home, is matched with each child. The family homestay is at the heart of any exchange, so finding the right family for you is our first priority. You and your natural family will have a chance to communicate with the host family by phone or email prior to departure.
What will daily life be like? It depends on the country. In Spain, breakfast is likely a light course of toast with olive oil. In Japan, it might be an onigiri (a rice ball stuffed with fish, meat, or seaweed). In France, you’ll have a long lunch, followed by a leisurely break eating gelato in the park, followed by afternoon classes until 6 p.m. You might find yourself learning traditional dancing in Ireland, playing competitive football (soccer) in Chile, or mastering the samba in Brazil!
After school, your evenings will offer the chance to spend time with new friends or at home with your host family, enjoying dinner, conversation, and the rhythms of the family’s daily routine.
Through all of these experiences, you’ll build a home away from home with your host family and develop relationships that endure long after you’ve finished your High School Abroad program. You’ll also come away with advanced language skills, an impressive display of initiative and independence for your college applications, and the kind of intercultural proficiency so valuable in today’s global economy.
Activities & Excursions
Live and breathe the local culture every day of the week. Discover your host town and region inside and out with your new local family and friends. After school, join in optional extracurricular sports and activities. On weekends, take part in organized daytrips and excursions to hike, bike, and explore historic landmarks, cultural attractions, and places of unforgettable natural beauty.
Preparing to Study Abroad
From meeting with guidance counselors to applying for visas, the study abroad planning process has many moving parts. Every school is different, but all can agree that studying abroad offers a world of experience and new learnings. This guideline details a number of important things to keep in mind and look out for, up to a year before your intended departure.
8–12 Months Prior:Click to Open
- Discuss your study abroad interests, school policies, and how to stay on track for graduation
- Research and choose the right study abroad program for you
- Apply to study abroad program
6 Months Prior:Click to Open
- Receive acceptance to study abroad program
- Apply for a visa (if necessary)
- Talk to your guidance counselor about earning credit for your program abroad
1 Month prior:Click to Open
- Receive placement details
- Attend predeparture orientations
- Get answers to lingering questions
- Start getting excited!