Alright, pencils down. You survived finals and can’t wait to feel the warm summer sun on your skin! But on your way to embrace summer and all its sunny glory, you realize that your summer vacation plans are either non-existent or full of the basic routines of summers past. And let’s be real, summer is not the time to be basic. With twelve weeks of freedom, you’ve got plenty of room for more bold and adventurous plans. Enter: Summer study abroad programs for high school students.
You don’t need to be college student or be chaperoned by your parents to start putting stamps in your passport. If they’re a smidge overprotective and worried about you potentially going abroad, let them know that studying abroad has numerous benefits, including personal development, and earning college credits in advance. While there plenty more benefits than that, the bigger picture is that studying abroad is one of the best decisions you can make.
It’s a big world out there waiting for you, and it’s capable of teaching you way more than you could ever learn on your parents couch this summer. Whether it’s your first time traveling or you’re a more experienced traveler, we handpicked the best of the best summer programs for high school students abroad to kick your summer up several notches. So let’s get to it, shall we?
What makes these programs the “best?”
As experienced tastemakers in the world of travel, you can say we have a palette for adventure. Hungry for the most unique combinations, we at GoAbroad know the perfect recipe that take a program from being good to one of the B.E.S.T.
- Boatloads of culture. In order to be among the best summer programs for high school students, there has to be tons of opportunities to engage with local culture. No shade to the tourist life, but meaningful travel starts the ability to have rich cultural experiences. Maybe you pick up a little of the local lingo, try a local delicacy, or learn a traditional folk song. So while your abroad do it for the culture, besides, where’s the fun in doing things you can do at home?
- Excitement at every turn. A huge benefit to high school summer programs abroad is the chance to explore your passions in a place that can inspire you. Whether you take classes in fashion design in the fashion capital of the world, or hone your writing craft in the same places iconic authors and poets wrote their first draft. Take your passions to the next level and have skills without borders.
- Support 24/7. Whether you’re homesick or you just can’t figure out how to conjugate a those verbs, behind every good program is a supportive staff that’s there 24/7. Being in a new place can have its difficulties, so it’s always comforting to have people there to smooth out those road bumps and help you make the most of your time abroad.
- Transformative experiences. While we aren’t saying that studying abroad will make you a shapeshifter (darn), it’s worth saying that participating in study abroad summer programs for high school students should definitely help to transform and expand your awareness of the world around you. Whether you are volunteering to make an impact, or your program experimental activities change the way you think. The study abroad experience helps to expand your world views that ultimately help you grow into an even cooler and globally minded individual.
10 best summer programs for high school students abroad
Here’s our round up of top high school summer travel programs this year! These programs have perfect (or near perfect!) scores from past participants—a good sign that they can help you get one step closer to the summer abroad of your dreams.
Hosts of award winning high school summer programs abroad (no really), Westcoast Connection is a champion for service learning. For those bleeding hearts that love the feeling of giving back this volunteer trip to Thailand will be the ultimate opportunity. Deepen your understanding of the culture as you serve children and small communities throughout the land of smiles. Visit floating markets, an elephant park and serene temples as you rack up more than 50 hours of community service. Sign up for this trip and walk away with a rewarding experience you’ll never forget.
- Where: Ayutthaya, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Krabi, Thailand
- What: Volunteering
- More info: Read Westcoast Connection Reviews
Get to know the Korean language outside of those catchy K-Pop beats on LanguBridge’s summer study abroad programs for high school students in Korea. Live with a host family in Korea’s capital and most happening city of Seoul. Take classes at a local university and get immersed in Korean language and culture. You’ll meet other teens from all over that share your interest and passion for Korean culture. No matter what your skill level is, you are sure to improve with quality instructors as well as numerous opportunities to learn outside of the classroom. Hosted by LanguBridge this summer program for high school students is bridge to fun.
- Where: Seoul, South Korea
- What: Language Immersion
- More info: Read LanguBridge Education Centre Reviews
While API has a lot of summer programs for high school students abroad worth looking at, this program with Parsons is way more chic—and one of our all-time favorite summer art programs for high school students abroad. For the aspiring creatives, designers, photographer and those that know art is life, this program was practically designed for you. Choose your craft and study at one of the most famous art schools in the world. Live in the city of artistic legends and grow your own portfolio that is art school ready. Earn three credits from The New School, meet loads of passionate people and prepare to wow yourself and others by the pièce de résistance you’re destined to create.
- Where: Paris, France
- What: Study Fashion, Art, and Design
- More info: Read API Study Abroad Reviews
It’s lit with this page turning summer in Ireland. Write to your heart’s content as you build your skill in non-fiction, fiction, and screenwriting with Putney’s high school summer study abroad programs. Explore the city and literary landmarks to find inspiration for your own literary masterpieces. Become the next James Joyce as you write around the rolling hills and coastal mountains of the Emerald Isle. Try your luck and sign up to possibly become Ireland next literary genius or create a pot full golden memories worthy of an earmark.
- Where: Dublin, Ireland
- What: Study Literature and Creative Writing
- More info: Read Putney Student Travel Reviews
Perfect your Japanese language skills on these summer study abroad programs for high school students. Say Konnichiwa to 20 hours of weekly instruction and your international classmates as you dive into Japanese language and culture. Make your home away from home with your host family and completely immerse yourself with Japanese traditions. Regardless of your skillset, you’ll grow so much during your experience that you’ll never want to say sayonara.
- Where: Tokyo or Fukuoa, Japan
- What: Language Immersion
- More info: Read Greenheart Travel Reviews
Buck the traditional format of summer programs for high school students and trade it for a course on living the nomadic life in Mongolia. While you won’t be living the nomad life the entire trip, every activity in this trip is sure to wake up the inner nomad in you. Become a jack of all Mongolian trades and learn various skills within Mongolian culture and the arts. Study everything from the language, how to cook traditional meals, and even the art of throat singing, (YES, it is as awesome as it sounds.)You’ll be amazed by all that you’ll be able to witness in this cultural experience you’ll never forget during these high school summer programs abroad.
- Where: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
- What: Cultural and Experiential Learning
- More info: Read The Experiment in International Living Reviews
Stay in local homestays, take one-on-one and small group Italian lessons, soak up the Medieval and Renaissance history seeping from every inch of every cobblestone, eat too much pizza/gelato/you name it—yup, you’re bound to have the best summer ever if you sign up for this incredible language immersion program in the boot itself, Italy!
- Where: Tuscany, Italy
- What: Language Immersion, Homestays
- More info: Read SPI Reviews
Completing a summer course at Cambridge—yes THEE Cambridge—is sure to scoot your college application quickly to the “Admit and give lots of scholarship money to” pile. And why wouldn’t it? You’ll be amongst the greatest thinkers of our time, take classes with other highly motivated, change-seeking and worldly teens, and will have an incredible collection of memories and adventures to boot. Snag your spot now!
- Where: Cambridge, England
- What: Experiential Learning, Community Service & Volunteering, Student Exchange
- More info: Read Reach Cambridge Reviews
Everyone who's anyone is quick to spend their summer practicing their lisps and vosotros pronunciations in powerhouse Spanish cities like Madrid or Barcelona (where they actually speak Catalan!). Instead of being distracted by the hustle and bustle of an international mega-city or the temptation to revert to English, hole up in rural Spain and get a REAL, authentico summer immersion abroad.
- Where: Rural Spain
- What: Experiential Learning, Homestays, Language Immersion
- More info: Read LITA Reviews
Devote your summer to giving back in real and powerful ways. With a high school summer trip to Ghana, you’ll be taking more than pictures. You’ll be taking impactful lessons on the challenges facing real people on our planet every single day. You’ll be taking classes and lessons that highlight the complexities and nuances of international aid. You’ll be taking a deeper look into what makes you, “you.” Gain self confidence and a new perspective during your summer in Ghana with OGVO!
- Where: Accra, Ghana
- What: Community Service and Volunteering, Outdoor Education, Homestays
- More info: Read OGVO Reviews
[None Quite Right? Browse ALL Summer Programs for High School Students Abroad]
These amazing programs are ripe for top spots in the coming years—get in and experience their magic before the word gets out!
Well besides that fact that it is one of our top destinations to travel to in Africa, you should definitely consider high school summer programs abroad in this North African nation. With this trip with Morocco Off the Beaten Track you’ll be traveling in the style of its namesake. Explore and volunteer in various remote villages for a number of community service projects. While giving back practice your Arabic and French as you speak with locals, your host family, and students. Build on your leadership and language skills and enjoy every single moment of your Moroccan travels.
- Where: Across several cities and rural areas in Morocco
- What: Cultural and Language Immersion
- More info
Take your traditional vision of Summer Camp, put all of its Parent-Trap-fun in Greece, and voilà—you’ve got these summer study abroad programs for high school students with The Ranch. The Ranch offers plenty summer programs for high school students abroad that specialize in fun and Greek culture but this is the only one where you can channel your inner Olympian. Get active with tennis and aerobics, or camp out under the stars. Have endless fun and meet people from all around the world as you embrace the great outdoors
- Where: Piraeus, Greece
- What: Experiential and Outdoor Education
- More info
Tu parles français? It won’t be a question after your summer in Quebec City. Study French in the mornings with adventure filled afternoons as you navigate the French-speaking city. Nosh on poutine and make friends with locals for eight weeks French language study. Against similar summer programs for high school students a summer with Edu-Inter is parfait!
- Where: Quebec City, Canada
- What: French Language Study
- More info
Make your childhood wishes come true and join API for a summer at Hogwarts! It’s not really Hogwarts, but it’s pretty darn close! Live and study in a grand English manor where you’ll learn about England’s rich heritage and culture. Go to London to see the major sites, learn English sports, and take field trips to castles and villages. While you won’t be among wizards in training, you’ll certainly find the magic in discovering England.
- Where: London, England
- What: Cultural Immersion
- More info
Grab your shades & your besties—it’s time for summer programs for high school students abroad!
Step away from your regular summer routine and instead, step waaaay out of your comfort zone by looking at one of these amazing high school summer travel programs abroad. So ditch your couch and sit on a plane instead. We guarantee you’ll never regret going on one of these can’t miss journeys.