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What to Expect

CIEE Global Navigator High School Summer Abroad

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  • Group photo of high school students studying abroad in Santiago de los Caballeros

Your Guide to Supporting Your Teen on Program

Your teen is ready to step out and explore the wonders of a new country, culture, and academic field. You must feel very proud!  

A successful high school summer abroad experience for our participants begins with our partnership with parents and guardians. From the application process until your teen's return, you are an essential part of their journey, and we need your help preparing your teen for studying abroad and setting expectations.

Below is a step-by-step guide for your teen’s adventure. 

Steps to Help Your Teen Have a Successful Summer Abroad 

Step 1: Applying to a Program

  • Check out our high school summer abroad programs. We have a variety of topics to focus on and 35+ destinations around the world.
  • Explore our high school study abroad scholarships for summer abroad programs. They are based on Academic Merit or Financial Need + Merit. Each year, we award more than $6 million to high school students.
  • Once your teen decides to open an application, they must choose their top 3 programs. If applying for a high school study abroad scholarship, a Language & Culture program should be included as 2 of the top 3 program choices as more than 90% of our funding goes towards Language & Culture programs.
  • Review and sign the CIEE Terms & Conditions of their application electronically. Your teen’s application cannot be submitted without your contact information and signature.
  • Your teen can’t travel without a valid passport book (a passport card is only valid in Canada and Mexico). If your teen doesn’t have a passport, or it’s expired, help them submit their passport application with U.S. Department of State or your country’s consulate as soon as you can.

Parent Tip: If you are listed in your student’s application as the Primary Emergency Contact, you’ll receive regular communication from CIEE directly to your email at every step of the process. 

Step 2: Getting Accepted & Completing Pre-departure Tasks

  • If your teen is accepted on program, you and your teen will receive an acceptance email.
  • To confirm your teen’s participation, be sure to pay the program deposit within the deadline (typically 10 days from acceptance but fewer days if we are near full enrollment). You will have to pay the final program balance by April 15.
  • Pay attention to major deadlines on specific pre-departure tasks and complete them through your Parent Portal.
  • Book your teen’s flight through Flightfox (required). You can choose chaperoned group flights or individual flights.
  • Assist your teen with completing consent forms required for their program.
  • With your teen, attend the Online Pre-Departure Orientation hosted by CIEE approximately a month before your program or during the month of May.
  • Help your teen keep track of deadlines by printing their pre-departure tasks checklist and posting them on the fridge!

Parent Tip: If you are listed on your student’s application as the Primary Emergency Contact, only you will have access to the Parent Portal using your email address. 

Step 3: Preparing Your Teen for Travel Day!

  • Speak with your teen about highs and lows that may come with traveling abroad and remind them to abstain from life-altering decisions and prohibited activities on program.
  • To provide your teen the opportunity to fully immerse themselves and grow more independent, commit to limiting your direct communication with each other to only once a week during program. This includes texting, calling, video chatting, and emails. Help them understand they should go to their local CIEE staff and Program Leaders with any questions/concerns. Read more about student safety on program.
  • Create a plan on how/when you will communicate. For example, your teen might check in with you when they arrive and then call or email you at the end of each week.
  • Encourage your teen to stay organized with all documents required for travel. It's a good idea to make copies or take photos of their passport and visa (if required).
  • Check your teen’s health insurance policy in the U.S. to see if it provides coverage abroad.
  • Contact your teen’s cell phone company for international data plan options so that your teen can call and text you while in transit to their destination. Most major carriers offer international data plans by the day for about $10. Once your teen arrives on program, CIEE will provide them with a SIM card for their phone or a brick phone.
  • Budget money for your teen’s snacks, meals, or baggage fees that they may incur in transit.
  • Plan for your teen to arrive at the airport early—at least 3 hours before their scheduled departure.

Parent Tip: If your teen's program is placed in a homestay, help your teen pick out a small gift for their host family that speaks to your teen’s interests or where they're from. 

Step 4: Staying in Touch With Your Teen During Program

  • Read the CIEE study center email newsletters you’ll receive each week giving you updates on your teen’s program.
  • Read the high school summer abroad blog. Program Leaders will post regularly on your teen’s program activities. Find your teen’s program blog and bookmark it!
  • Follow your teen’s destination on Instagram to see what participants are doing on site. Follow @cieeglobalnavigators on Instagram and TikTok for general posts and updates.  
  • If you have questions or need to speak with staff, CIEE’s 24/7/365 U.S. based emergency support is available at 1-866-583-0332. You can also send our U.S. based team an email at hsabroad@ciee.org or book a call during regular business hours.  

Parent Tip: Want to know what your teen’s days will be like? Watch a day in the life of a language learner with CIEE

Step 5: Welcoming Your Teen Back Home!

  • Encourage your teen to stay connected with friends they made abroad to help with reverse homesickness and reverse culture shock.
  • Help your teen research study abroad clubs in their hometown or motivate them to start a new one at their school.
  • Learn about our Global Ambassador program that helps CIEE Global Navigator Alumni keep in touch throughout the school year, provides academic enrichment opportunities, and gives alumni access to special promos!

More Information

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Have Questions?

Check out our FAQ page for more information on the application, pre-departure process, costs, and more.  

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Need Further Assistance?

For more help, call our team at 1-866-583-0332 or send us an email at hsabroad@ciee.org today.  

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Want to Schedule a Call?

If you want to schedule a call, find a time with a CIEE Enrollment Coordinator in your area on our bookings page.