Best High School Study Abroad Programs

High school is a period for reflection and development. It’s also a great time to start broadening your horizons through travel and hands-on study. Perhaps you’ve contemplated going to college in another nation or intend to take a gap year after graduation. You may have a wish list of nations you’d like to see once you’ve received your graduation, but what if you didn’t have to wait until then?

As a current high school student, you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in high school study abroad programs tailored just to your age group. You may learn a new language, travel to new places, and meet people from all over the world!

You might be asking if studying abroad for a semester or year throughout high school is even conceivable, and if so, how much it costs. There are, thankfully, alternatives! While program costs and financial aid options vary, high school students can find valuable experiences in some of the world’s most popular study abroad destinations.

Whether you’re looking to high school study abroad for a year, or you’d just like to spend a summer in a foreign country, you’ve come to the right place. We have a range of high school study abroad programs to give you a taste of life abroad. 

How Much Does It Cost To Enroll In A High School Study Abroad Program?

The majority of high school study abroad programs fall into one of many categories: basic academic, language study, adventure, volunteer/community service, exchanges, and special specialty travel such as photography and cookery; many are a combination of these.

The cost of these programs varies as much as the variety of options available, ranging from $2,000 for a week of community service to well over $35,000 for some year-long programs—not including flights.

Summer study abroad programs for high school students typically cost between $3,000 and $10,000 for a two- to three-week stay, not including travel.

Factors To Consider While Selecting A Summer High School Study Abroad Program

Before you select a high school study abroad program, you need to consider your academic interests and hobbies, as well as the ideal group size, destination, and budget.

Read reviews, do some research, and ask about a company’s history and safety policies.

High School Study Abroad Programs

Here are the best study abroad programs for high school students.

1. Council on International Educational Exchange

The Council on International Educational Exchange is a non-profit organization that promotes international educational exchange.

The Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) has been operational for more than 70 years and is known for its wide range of programs, which include high school and college study abroad, gap year programs, summer employment programs, vacation exchanges, teaching, and volunteer opportunities.

They have around 200 programs in roughly 50 countries. Language and culture, service and leadership, and special interest trips are among the summer abroad alternatives.

From Spanish language classes in Chile to marine ecology expeditions in Bonaire, there’s something for everyone. Some programs allow students to attend a local high school or college while also living with a host family.

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Many of the destinations are familiar, such as France, Ireland, and Mexico, as well as some that are less familiar, such as Jordan and Ghana. Students in CIEE programs range from rising sophomores to college seniors, depending on the curriculum. CIEE awards around $8 million in scholarships and fellowships each year, with over 1,000 students receiving aid.

2. Youth for Comprehension

Youth for Understanding (YFU), founded in 1951 by an American minister, offers a variety of programs for students in over 40 countries, including year-long, semester, summer, and gap programs.

Their youth programs are aimed at high school students and last anywhere from a few weeks to a year, with the majority of them including a stay with a host family.

YFU offers music, arts, sports, and theater special interest programs, as well as hosting options for families interested in hosting a foreign student.

Argentina, Turkey, Australia, and Korea are among the destinations included in their programs. Students can study mythology in Greece, participate in a French immersion program in Canada, or go on a cultural tour of South Korea during the summer.

Gap year programs also give students the opportunity to live with a host family, attend college, and/or volunteer for the year. A 3.0 GPA is required for most year and semester high school study abroad programs; a 2.0 is necessary for high school study abroad summer programs.

Students must be between the ages of 15 and 18 in order to participate in most programs. There are scholarships available.

3. Putney Student Travel

Putney Student Travel has been providing summer travel abroad programs for middle school and high school students for 65 years, with alternatives to dozens of countries.

There are no college programs available. Putney is one of the few programs on our list that accepts kids as young as sixth grade. Their middle school vacations range from 10 to three weeks in length and include Costa Rica, France and Holland, and Spain.

Language learning programs, cultural discovery, and community service trips are available to students. Students in high school can spend their summers exploring Fiji’s coral reefs, learning about farm-to-table cookery in Tuscany and Umbria, or constructing a rural schoolhouse in Tanzania.

Putney also provides pre-college summer programs in Amherst, MA, London, Paris, Florence, Madrid, Barcelona, and Shanghai for high school students.

 Students in these programs spend the summer studying and staying at a local institution, as well as exploring the city. Students in grades six through eight can enroll in middle school programs, while students in grades nine through twelve can enroll in high school study programs.

4. Student Expeditions with National Geographic

In 2008, National Geographic Student Expeditions partnered with Putney Student Travel to offer student travel programs focused on National Geographic’s objectives, with a concentration on middle and high school study abroad summer programs.

Photography, cinematography, community involvement, and wildlife preservation are among the program’s focuses. Their middle school excursions last 10 to 15 days and include Italy, Australia, and Costa Rica, among other destinations.

A tour of India, where youths attend a service with Tibetan monks and ride a camel through the desert, a photography program in Paris, and a community service project in the Dominican Republic are just a few of the options available to high school students.

Their programs are unusual in that they allow students to learn from National Geographic specialists in a wide range of subjects. With the exception of occasional community service missions, these experts, who include filmmakers, biologists, archaeologists, and photographers, participate in all of their activities.

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Students in grades six through eight can participate in middle school programs, while students in grades nine through twelve can participate in high school study abroad programs.

5. Rotary Youth Exchange

Rotary Youth Exchange is a study abroad program for high school students that allows them to stay with local Rotary clubs and families for a few weeks to a year. The local club pays a small monthly stipend and offers lodging and board with a host family.

Families of Rotary exchange students can choose to host a foreign student in their home; it is greatly encouraged but not required. Volunteer Rotarians and their families organize and supervise trips all over the world.

Students who are interested in participating in an exchange can contact a local Rotary club to learn more about the opportunities and requirements. The majority of Rotary exchanges are offered to students between the ages of 15 and 19.

The requirements differ depending on the program. Participants are responsible for their own airfare and other costs, which vary according to on the location. The cost of room and board is covered.

6. Broadreach

For the past 20 years, Broadreach has provided summer travel programs for middle school, high school, and college students. Middle school programs are available in the Caribbean, Costa Rica, and Panama, while high school and college programs are available in over 50 countries, including Cuba, Bali, Fiji, and Spain, as well as South Africa.

Marine science, language, medicine, sailing, and photography are among the topics covered in the programs, which range in length from 12 days to four weeks. For students who aren’t quite ready to venture out on their own, Broadreach provides a few parent-child trips.

Students in grades seven and eight can enroll in middle school programs; students in grades nine through twelve can participate in high school programs; and enrolled college students can enroll in college programs. Every year, Broadreach awards a number of scholarships.

7. Greenheart Travel

Greenheart Travel is known for its environmentally-conscious aim and offers a variety of programs for teenagers, including high school semester or year abroad, summer volunteer abroad, and summer language programs.

Summer programs are available in eight countries and last two to six weeks. Many European nations, as well as Argentina and Australia, are available for semester and year abroad programs. Students can study elephant conservation in Sri Lanka, go to a Japanese language camp, or live with a host family in Spain for a year.

Greenheart also has volunteer programs in Costa Rica and India that range from one to twelve weeks. To keep their promise to be environmentally friendly, a percentage of each student’s tuition is donated to carbon-offsetting projects, such as a tree-planting program in Kenya.

Students ages 14 to 18 can participate in summer and volunteer programs; students ages 15 to 18 can participate in semester and year abroad programs.

8. Where There Be Dragons

Where There Be Dragons, founded in 1993 and with by far the coolest name in high school study abroad programs, offers summer travel abroad for high school and college students to “off the beaten path” locales.

This is not a semester in Paris. Small groups (12 students to four teachers) and off-the-beaten-path destinations like Myanmar, Senegal, and Jordan are available for students to travel in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.

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In Rwanda, students can study post-genocide reconstruction, examine social justice in Guatemala, or live with a hill tribe community in Thailand. Summer programs typically last four to six weeks, whereas gap year and college programs are organized into three-month semesters.

In general, high school programs are geared for students aged 15 to 18, while semester study programs are designed for students aged 18 to 22. Age requirements, on the other hand, aren’t set in stone. There are scholarships available.

9. Experiment in International Living (EIIL)

Experiment in International Living (EIIL) is one of the oldest student travel agencies, with more than 80 years of experience. Sustainability, social transformation, language and culture, politics, and human rights are all on their minds.

 High school students can participate in summer travel programs to Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North Africa and the Middle East, Africa South of the Sahara, and Asia. A homestay is usually included in most programs, along with hotels and dorms.

Studying the art of animation in Japan, nomadic and urban cultures in Mongolia, and gender equality in the Netherlands are just a few of the special interest tours available.

The programs last three to six weeks and are offered to students in grades nine through twelve. Financial aid and need-based scholarships are available.

10. Sustainable Summer

Sustainable Summer is an environmentally conscious company that provides foreign vacation programs to prepare high school students to be environmental leaders.

Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, the Amazon, and the Galapagos Islands are among their current locations, all of which offer unique chances for teaching sustainability.

Sustainable Summer programs include nine-day “adventures” for first-time travelers, as well as 14- to 21-day “expeditions” for more experienced or ambitious students.

A quick look at their options reveals an organic summer agricultural program in Ecuador where students learn to adopt sustainable food production techniques, as well as a trip to Cuba to study cultural sustainability and urban design.

Students between the ages of 15 and 18 are welcome to participate in the programs. There are scholarships available.

FAQs On High School Study Abroad

What is the cost of high school study abroad programs?

The cost of high school study abroad programs ranges from $2,000 to $35,000.

What is high school study abroad program?

Attending high school abroad means living closely together with local high school students. You’ll experience the lifestyle, culture and traditions of your foreign country up close, and learn the foreign language fast and effectively.

What factors should I consider while selecting a high school study abroad program?

Consider your academic interests and hobbies, as well as the ideal group size, destination, and budget when selecting high school study abroad summer programs. Read reviews, do some research, and ask about a company’s history and safety policies.

What is the aim of high school study abroad program?

High school abroad programs can provide life experience, a broader viewpoint, improved language abilities, and opportunities for personal growth. Adding study abroad experience to your resume might help you stand out whether going to college, graduate school, or even pursuing a profession.


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