It’s all homecoming dates and stupid fights with your best friend because you promised to see that one movie together, but she went with someone else and now you might never speak again...well, probably not, but it’s still a little silly to read it, right?
High school abroad means you’ll actually have *you* time to figure it all out before your four years are up and you’re off to the races: college, your career, relationships, career changes—whatever life may have in store for you. Instead, check out a new roadmap. One that ends in you signing up for high school abroad programs.
Why high school abroad?
*WhY sTuDy AbROad iN hIgH ScHoOl?* Take a time out of the mundane rotation of homework, pop-quizzes, banal discussions about dead white men, and petty personal dramas and hop on a plane to do all of that...abroad! At least this way you’ll have more context to understand all those dead white men—or, maybe even explore thought leaders from other cultures.
You don’t want to miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn and explore and grow. Plus, the added benefits of virtually incomparable Instagram game cannot be overstated. Seriously, you’ll be drowning in likes and follows if you embark on a high school abroad program.
[We’ll do your homework for you—get matched with high school abroad programs]
Where can you study abroad in high school?
You can go anywhere your little heart desires! With six continents and 196 countries to choose from, it can get a little overwhelming to think about the great big world out there. Here are the top three most popular countries for high school abroad.
Jolly ol’ England always tops our list as the No. 1 country for high school abroad. What can we say? The brits just get it. Gryffindor’s and Hufflepuff’s alike will find so much to learn and explore across every corner of London, adventuring out on the moors in the Midlands, off into Wales, and even all the way north (you might even fancy a jaunt in Scotland or Ireland). Sam Beckett (one of those aforementioned dead white guys) said that when you tire of London you’re tired of life. What a shame it would be to tire of life at your age! That’s why high school abroad in England is the perfect remedy for your youthful, existential boredom.
If you’re looking for more than just a trip across the pond, high school abroad in Japan will give you a healthy dose of culture shock followed by a warm, brothy welcome. Can I get a (R)amen!? You can experience the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, the pristine beauty of Mt. Fuji, and explore the temples in Kyoto. Sake it to all your friends back home as you fully immerse yourself in Japanese language and culture. Slurp your noodles as loudly as you want—it’s rude if you don’t!
Skip the Starbucks this morning and go straight to the source. High school abroad in Costa Rica means only the coolest of beans go into your morning cup of Joe before you set out on the day’s adventures. Rather than drilling more vocab, put your Spanish to work on the daily as you roam the jungles and take to the beaches. You’ll love living on Tico time rather than stressing about that next AP exam and rushing to finish college applications. Take a breath and another sip of coffee. The adventure is just beginning. That’s what pura vida is all about.
What can you study abroad in high school?
Hate to be a broken record, but...ANYTHING YOUR LIL’ HEART DESIRES. High school abroad isn’t just about making the grades to graduate (though, you should still keep that in mind), but it’s about exploring your passions. What do YOU want to learn? What do YOU want to do? That should guide you through the process of choosing a program type. Here are the most popular types of programs for high school abroad:
Outdoor Adventure Programs
Move over Bear Grylls, and stop trying to get us to drink sock water—there’s a new wild... person out here! High school abroad outdoor adventure programs make the world your playground. Have you been feeling nostalgic for recess and the ability to play outside and get a little muddy? This is the perfect program option for you. Pack up your backpack, lace up your hiking boots, and hug a couple trees (just for good measure). Whether you’re a biker, climber, runner, hiker, surfer, kayaker, [insert any outdoor activity here]-er, there’s a high school abroad outdoor adventure program for you.
We recommend these:
- West Coast Connection — Read West Coast Connection reviews | Visit their site
- The Experiment in International Living — Read EIL reviews | Visit their site
You won’t miss out on mom’s cooking when you embark on a high school abroad homestay program. If you were hoping to skip out on your chores, think again! Homestays are all about really getting down to the nitty gritty of everyday life abroad. You’ll live with a host family, attend school, and really learn to live abroad. Cook dinner with your host mom after you play some futbol with your host siblings, and watch some TV with the whole family before brushing your teeth and getting ready for bed. You won’t have your comforts of home, but it will start to be home in no time. That’s the beauty of high school abroad homestay programs.
We recommend these:
- Nacel International — Read Nacel International reviews | Visit their site
- Greenheart Travel — Read Greenheart Travel reviews | Visit their site
Service Learning Trips
Mother Theresa and Angie Jolie will have nothing on you once you’re all ready to take on service learning trips for high school students. No matter what your passion project is, there is a volunteer program desperate for your helping hands. Tutor students in English, help with conservation and research projects, or lend your expertise to any number of youth education projects—sports, theatre, music, health, you name it. Giving back feels so good, and looks even better on college applications. So, what are you waiting for? Go out there and be the change you wish to see in the world, already!
We recommend these:
- GVI — Read GVI reviews | Visit their site
- Projects Abroad — Read Projects Abroad reviews | Visit their site
Couldn’t quite pick between 196 countries? You don’t have to! Well, you will have to narrow that down considerably, but the world will still be your oyster with multi-country, high school abroad travel programs. Explore entire corners of the world, entire continents, even! Take on all of East Africa, island hop in the South Pacific, taste every kind of salsa in Latin America, or take a good ol’ fashioned Euro trip. It doesn’t really matter where Carmen Sandiego is, people will only be wondering where you are on when you take high school abroad.
We recommend these:
- Travel for Teens — Read TFT reviews | Visit their site
- Youth for Understanding — Read YFU reviews | Visit their site
Language Immersion Programs
Did you bomb that last AP Spanish quiz? Bummer! Skip the quizzes and conjugations and dive into the deep end with high school language immersion programs abroad instead. That 42 minutes with Senor Diaz was never going to be enough, anyway. With high school language immersion programs you’ll be taking intensive language classes, living with a host family, and navigating a new country all in Spanish/French/Japanese/Mandarin/Arabic—you name it!
We recommend these:
- Lita Spain — Read Lita reviews | Visit their site
- Sol Abroad — Read Sol Abroad reviews | Visit their site
Student Exchange Programs
If you’ve always kind of wanted to be Fes from “That 70’s Show,” or you’re throwin’ it way back to Long Duk Dong from “16 Candles,” you might find high school foreign exchange programs don’t quite fit the bill...because they are so much better than in the movies! Skip the bright eyes and bushy tails and get right down to it. You’re not looking for a quick sojourn in a foreign country—you want to live, eat, and breathe your host culture. Good on you! That’s exactly what you’ll get to do on high school foreign exchange programs where you’re placed with a host family and enrolled in a local high school.
We recommend these:
- SPI Study Abroad — Read SPI Study Abroad reviews | Visit their site
- ISA — Read ISA reviews | Visit their site
When can you do high school abroad programs?
Great news! There’s no right time or wrong time for high school abroad. Although, you should be conscious of varying school schedules across continents. Just because you start in August, doesn’t mean everywhere else does. Here are the most common times/durations for high school abroad.
Semester or Year Long Programs
If you’re doing a homestay program, high school foreign exchange program, or high school language immersion programs, a semester or year long program will allow you to really get the most out of the experience. Skip out on this year’s petty dramas and dive into a whole world of new ones when you actually attend a high school abroad. These programs require a little more logistical legwork and a lot of cooperation between your high school and academic counselor in order to make sure you don’t miss out on any credits, but ultimately the longer you can go abroad, the better!
High School Abroad Summer Programs
This are by far the most popular, fun, and convenient, of all high school abroad programs. You’re not missing a beat at school, and you’re having the summer of a lifetime abroad? Sign us the heck up! Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun, lend a hand with service learning trips for high school students, pick up a language or two, or opt outside with outdoor adventure programs, summer makes all things possible! What time is it? Time for high school abroad summer programs, duh.
Alternative Spring Break Programs
Skip spending spring break re-binge-watching Full House and sleeping til’ noon, and opt for something a new alternative. Alternative spring break high school abroad programs are a great way to dip your toes into the waters of stellar international programs—again, without missing a beat in the classroom. This is great if you’re looking to embark on short-term service learning trips for high school students. If you’re worried about missing out on fun with friends...why not bring a couple with you?!
How can you study abroad in high school?
What do you mean? We’ve just given you everything you’ll need to find the perfect high school abroad program so you can embark on your next great adventure! Start by finding a program, reach out to providers, read reviews, BE THOROUGH, get the ‘rents on board, take all this info to your academic advisor/counselor, sign up for a program, pack your bags, and go!