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The Experience

Study and live in the lively German culture as your language skills grow by the day.

Watching Harry Potter and NCIS in German with your host family. Grabbing currywurst on the run. Visiting the Berlin Wall and the Brandenburg Gate. Bonding with exchange students from five different continents. These are just a few memories you might share with fellow alums. Five days a week, you’ll head to your local gymnasium (public high school) for classes with your German peers. Though all classes are taught in German, many people also speak English — which helps ease the transition.

“One of my goals before I came to Germany was to get outside and do more. I’m always seeing and doing new things here, whether it’s going for bike rides, rollerblading, or baking. I love it.”

–Asha R., CIEE High School Alumna

Students and adult with bratwurst
Find classic German street food on practically every corner.
German building
Expand your perspective by studying in a second language.


Upon arriving in Germany with your fellow participants, you will be met by CIEE staff in Berlin, where you will begin your three-day orientation. During orientation, you will participate in different workshops focusing on a variety of themes — culture, language, academics, social norms, current events — all designed to best prepare you for your experience in Germany. Additionally, you’ll see some of the best that Germany’s capital has to offer!

Activities are subject to change, but may include a visit to the Reichstag building, which houses the German Bundestag. Take an afternoon boat trip up the Spree, or enjoy wandering through Charlottenburg Palace, Berlin’s largest palace. Laugh over incredible food during group meals each evening, and get to know CIEE staff and other participants. After orientation, you will depart for your host community and spend a couple of days with your host family before starting school.

“In my last week of being in Germany, I had such a meaningful conversation with one of my best German friends. He said that even in the short time he had known me, he saw me change and grow as a person, and I remember telling him that this exchange ‘has made me into a person I am really happy to be.’ I am so lucky to have connected with so many people — people I wouldn’t have ever been friends with in other circumstances. I have a wonderful second family, a best friend in Germany, and people I love in almost every part of the world.”

–Sophie R., CIEE High School Abroad Alumna

The Destination

Diverse regions, rich culture, and history — you’ll find it all in Germany.

The landscape of Germany is as diverse as its customs and dialects. Make one unique corner of the country your own by studying abroad in high school with CIEE for a semester or a full year.

Picture navigating the intricacies of chemistry taught in German at the local high school. Joining your classmates for a pickup game of football after a long day of classes. Getting to know your host family over a hearty welcome dinner of goulash, bratwurst, and strudel.

Regardless of where you’re placed — whether in the center of Berlin or outside city limits — you’ll develop your German language skills through both coursework and conversations with the locals. You’ll immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of one of Europe’s most fascinating countries, and build independence and life skills that you can draw on for the rest of your life.

Traditional houses
Germany’s rich heritage is proudly maintained in its traditional architecture.
Looking below at a German village
Idyllic villages dot the countryside.
Boats on the Rhine
The Rhine and the sea coasts offer distinct flavors of their own.

The Take-Aways

Language Proficiency

Regardless of your level of proficiency upon entry, you’ll make dramatic strides in your language skills while immersed in the German high school experience. Return home with remarkably improved conversational skills, ready to ace the next level of German language classes in the United States.

Based on ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines, CIEE High School Abroad participants improve, on average, two language levels during the course of the program.

The CIEE High School Abroad program provides students more language contact hours in just a few weeks than the average U.S. high school student receives through high school language classes in an entire academic year — 150 hours.*

*Alice Omaggio Hadley’s Teaching Language in Context

Local Transcript

You will receive an official record of classes and grades from your local school in Germany. Credit transfer will vary from school to school, country to country, so please consult with your U.S. school guidance counselor.

Student standing in front of monument
Ready for anything.

Global Citizenship

After immersing yourself in unfamiliar practices and customs, you’ll become better equipped to interact with people from other cultures — in school, on the job, or in your personal life. In today’s interconnected global economy, intercultural skills have never been more important.

94% of participants said their intercultural understanding and knowledge improved as a result of their participation in the CIEE High School Abroad program, while 93% said their experience made them more aware of global issues.

Independence & Resilience

Come home better prepared to make transitions, take control of new situations, and appreciate challenging experiences for what they are: opportunities to learn and grow.

90% of participants said their level of independence increased as a result of their participation in the CIEE High School Abroad program.

“I learned things that aren’t taught in schools: what is really important to me, what I want out of life, and how to be more open-minded and confident.”

– Sophie R., CIEE High School Abroad Alumna

College Readiness

Studying abroad gives you the kinds of life skills that can’t be learned in a classroom — and shows college admissions reps that you’re already one step ahead in terms of initiative, maturity, and independence.

79% of participants said their experience with CIEE helped shape their college applications.

“Everyone is shocked to hear that I studied abroad when I was 15 years old. I’m shocked myself — yet, quite frankly, I’m shocked that it isn’t more common to study abroad in high school. CIEE gave me an opportunity that most people have never heard of. The program transformed me into the person I am today, with impeccable people skills and the ability to adapt to any environment. I owe a huge thanks to the CIEE program. I am proud to be a CIEE alumnus!”

- Alex A., CIEE High School Abroad Alumnus

Passion & Direction

Upon return, you’ll likely have a better sense of what you want to study in college or even pursue as a career.

86% of participants felt their experience with CIEE impacted their educational or career pursuits and goals, while 96% of participants said they regularly use the knowledge and skills they acquired while abroad with CIEE.

Sample Activities & Excursions

Discover a world of experiences, from grand castles and cathedrals to hiking, skiing, and soaking up Germany’s diverse cultures.

The largest country in Central Europe, Germany is made up of more than a dozen states, each with its own distinct culture. You’ll have a whole year or semester to discover the country — on your own, with new CIEE friends, and with your host family. From the Bavarian Alps to the streets of Berlin, there’s a range of thrilling places to explore. Castles, cathedrals, and alpine ski villages are just the start.

You might visit the 16th-century Hofbräuhaus, the 19th-century Neuschwanstein Castle, or the Cologne Cathedral, which dates from 1248. Or join CIEE staff on excursions to some of Germany’s premier destinations. The program includes one overnight trip led by CIEE staff, as well as a second overnight trip for an added cost. Possible destinations include Potsdam, Munich, Hamburg, and Hanover.

Students in front of the Brandenburg Gate
Visit the streets of Berlin and the Brandenburg Gate.
A futball game
Get your game on at a live futball match!

Meet the Staff

Nina Wineburgh

Enrollment Coordinator

Nina’s passion for international education stems from her own experience living with a host family and attending a local high school in a small town outside of Avignon, France during her sophomore year of high school.

Upon her return to the U.S. with refreshed perspectives and yearning for cross-cultural exploration, Nina continued to pursue her interest in the French language and immersive experiences.

As a French & Francophone studies major in college, she spent a semester studying and living in Nantes, France, and a semester in Rabat, Morocco, on a CIEE-led program. She is thrilled to help facilitate short and long term study abroad programs for high school students with the hope that their experiences are as transformative and inspiring as hers was.

Rachel Babich

Enrollment Coordinator

Rachel has been committed to supporting study abroad since high school, when she traveled through Europe on a cultural exchange program. Returning home with a greater understanding of her world, she sought out opportunities to see new cultures. Through studying in the South of France, living and working in Paris, and traveling to over 25 countries, Rachel has seen firsthand the power of immersive study.

Since then, she has been helping American and international students experience the transformative opportunities study abroad can bring. She is excited to help high school students and their families have a great experience studying with CIEE!

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