Along with New York, London is considered to be one of the top two premier global cities in the world. This is a place that truly has it all: historical intrigue, a flourishing arts and entertainment scene, and tremendous political and economic influence. Citizens of London come from all over the world and all walks of life, so if you are looking for a high school program abroad in one of the world’s most culturally diverse and enriching cities, then London has the right stuff for you.
High School Programs in London
There are many high school study abroad programs in London which allow students to earn academic credit for high school or even get a jump-start on college requirements. Participating in a summer school program, taking classes at an international high school, or enrolling in an exchange program during the regular school year are all ways high school students can take up life in London, and the British education system. Typically these types of high school programs in London are limited to upper classmen, and allow students to choose from a wide range of course subjects.
Other high school programs in London are more exploration oriented, using the city itself as a classroom and engaging in interactive lessons and tours throughout. You may find yourself learning about British history while touring local museums, politics while shadowing parliament, or music while attending famous concert venues. These high school programs in London are typically shorter in nature (usually lasting just a few weeks) and may or may not offer academic credit. Some student tours or cultural exploration programs in London will also take students to other locations across the United Kingdom, and even Western Europe, such as to Edinburgh or Paris!
High school programs in London are typically chaperoned by teachers or adult supervisors. Security is always a main priority for high school abroad organizations, so you need not worry about safety!
Life in London
For those not accustomed to life in the big city, London will be a tremendous growth experience. With nearly 14 million people living within the metropolitan area, it is a tremendously stimulating environment that never ceases to surprise. With such a tremendous diversity of cultural influences and potential lifestyles, it is a place where you can find your own unique niche, whatever that may be.
First you will want to see all the famous sites and attractions that make London such a popular travel destination. Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, The Tower of London, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, the list of cultural and historical landmarks goes on and on. With a huge amount of world class museums, such as the British Museum, Tate Modern, and the National Gallery, the opportunities for enriching outings never run out.
Soon you will move past the famous attractions and explore everyday life in London. This is when you will truly begin to get to know the city. The London Tube is one of the most popularly used public transportation systems in the world and can take you wherever you wish to go throughout the urban area. Use your high school program in London to explore as much of the city as possible; seemingly every neighborhood you stumble upon in London offers something new and exciting!
Scholarships & Costs
High school abroad programs can often be pricey, but there are a wide range of scholarship opportunities out there that can aid you financially. Fundraising at your school and with friends and family is another great way to help cover the costs. You would be surprised how many people are willing to donate when it comes to international travel programs!
Once you land on the ground, London is certainly not the cheapest city to live in. As a central and competitive global city, costs of everyday living can often be steep. Just be smart with your wallet! It is likely that your program will cover many of the basic costs of living, but beyond this it is important to have a budget planned out to guide your spending habits.
Accommodation & Visas
High school programs in London often give students the opportunity to live with a host family or in dormitory style living, depending on the program type. Homestays can be a great culturally immersive experience and give you the opportunity to become close with a British family. Dorms are typically utilized at boarding schools or international schools and can be a lot of fun as well (don’t worry parents – there will be supervision!).
The UK’s visa policy varies from country to country. For example, students from other European nations will not have to apply for a visa, students from India or South Africa will need to apply for a visa before entry, and students from Australia or the U.S. will only need a visa if they plan on staying for longer than six months. For more details about the specifics of England’s visa policy toward your home country, check out GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
Joining a high school program in London will be a definitive experience in your high school career. Not many high school students are ambitious enough to travel the world at such a young age, but for a select few this will be an eye opening adventure in one of the world’s most important and culturally stimulating cities. While it may be a daunting prospect to leave your family and friends behind and head out into the larger world alone, the decision will pay off as an incredible opportunity to learn, grow, and have a whole lot of fun.