Choosing the right high school abroad program can feel like a daunting task, but we’re here to help! We’ve created a guide high school abroad program with 10 unique categories to help you narrow down your search and find the perfect fit for your needs.
If you’re a high school student, there’s no better time to explore the world than now! High school study abroad programs offer a unique opportunity to travel, learn about new cultures, and meet people from all corners of the globe.
Don’t wait until after graduation to see the world – take advantage of these unique programs and start your journey today. You can experience a new culture, learn a different language, and meet people worldwide!
Wait, is it possible to study abroad in High School?
If you’re wondering if it’s possible to study abroad for a semester or year during high school, the answer is YES! There are many great study-abroad destinations worldwide where high school students can find meaningful experiences.
While program costs and opportunities for financial aid vary, typically, exchange programs are one of the most affordable ways to study abroad during high school. Exchange programs also have other benefits like a built-in support system and an easier way to immerse yourself in the culture, as you’ll be living with a local family.
Studying abroad vs. a high school abroad program
There are some key differences between studying abroad during high school and during university. When you’re in high school, you will likely be more dependent on the resources available through the program. High school is also more structured while schooling, so it’s essential to find the correct program for a successful experience.
Some high schoolers choose to study abroad during summer vacation because it’s a shorter time commitment than programs offered to college students, which are typically a semester or year in length. It’s important to find a program that fits your budget, goals and studies, and we’re here to help you every step of the way!
How did we pick these programs?
At Go Overseas, we want our community members to find the programs that fit their travel goals the best! To do this, we looked at the ratings that each program got and compared them to the reviews that have been left by community members. The more positive and highly-rated reviews there were, the more confident we felt about giving our stamp of approval!
Lastly, we relied on our own industry knowledge to recommend programs that are both vetted by you, the community members, and us, the experts. We feel confident that the programs included are the best of the best.
Best program for seniors: Travel For Teens
Program length: 7-30 days
Price point: $$$
What’s included: accommodation, in-country transportation, all breakfasts and dinners, excursions and activities
Diverse activities and immersing yourself in the culture are two things you can expect to experience daily on this trip.
Lots of walking, around 25,000-30,000 steps per day.
Our Travel Programs for Older Teens are designed to help students make the most of their summer vacation, whether they’re looking for a cultural immersion experience or want to add some adventure to their trip.
For many teen students summertime is the perfect opportunity to explore new places and learn more about themselves and the world around them. We offer a variety of different programs that allow teenagers to travel independently, while still having the support of our experienced staff. This way, they can focus on enjoying their experience and discovering all that they can about the destination – without having to worry about the logistics.
Travel for Teens is a global travel company that has over 25 years of experience in helping teen aged students and young adults discover different parts of the world. The company offers a wide range of programs that are designed to meet the needs of 11th and 12th grade students. Older teens who participate in these programs often find that they gain more independence and confidence while traveling.
This incredible journey gave me so many wonderful experiences and memories that I will always treasure. I still keep in touch with other students that were on the trip with me – we went from being strangers from different parts of the country to becoming lifelong friends.
Best program for adventure travel: Action Quest
Program length: 17 or 21 days
Price point: $$$
What’s included: accommodation, all meals, scuba and sailing certifications, wetsuits and gear
Past participants have commented on how much they appreciate the care and attention of the staff. They also mention how well-organized the program is, which makes it easier to navigate and enjoy.
Action Quest provides an opportunity to live aboard a yacht and sail around the British Virgin Islands while studying marine biology. The program is pricey, but students can earn certificates. The 100% overall rating means that participants will have a great experience.
Action Quest is the perfect way to get out of your comfort zone while still being in a safe and guided environment – perfect for those interested in studying marine biology or wanting to learn to sail or scuba dive. 17-21 day long summer sessions are available, with scholarships to boot! Past reviewers mention how Action Quest helped them take the leap and challenge themselves in new ways, all while under the careful watch of those who know what they’re doing.
“Action Quest has been an amazing opportunity and I really wish that everyone could have the chance to experience it for themselves. It has everything you could possible want – from diving and sailing, to marine biology – and the people you meet are incredible. You won’t find a better group of people anywhere else.”
Best program for visiting multiple countries: MEI International Academy
Program length: semester
Price point: $$$
What’s included: accommodation, breakfast and dinners, in-country transportation, roundtrip airfare from Toronto, airfare between destination countries
A 10:1 student-to-staff ratio at our school means you’ll get plenty of personal attention from your professors.
A variety of tours we offer take you to famous UNESCO heritage sites.
If you want to have a successful study abroad experience, you’ll need to be prepared to wake up early. Night owls beware! A more comprehensive study abroad program like MEI International Academy can provide you with the opportunity to learn about the countries you’re visiting and form deeper connections with the people you meet along the way. Over the course of your 60-day program, you’ll travel to 5 different countries and have plenty of chances to learn and explore.
Our program alums have found great success in forming connections with fellow students – something that they say was made easy thanks to the diverse curriculum offered which allowed them to learn about topics such as world issues, international business, and economics. Additionally, the opportunity to travel to multiple locations including but not limited to China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand (with the option of also experiencing Australia and Bali if you choose the second-semester!) was invaluable in providing first-hand experience that simply can’t be found in a classroom.
MEI offers an acclaimed semester program in Europe that will introduce you to Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany, and Italy. You’ll study world history, leadership, and human dimensions while experiencing each country firsthand.
”Journey has been full of wonderful experiences and I have made great friends along the way. This experience has changed my life in many ways and allowed me to explore parts of our world that I never thought possible. From scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef to visiting the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat, MEI is the perfect mix of travel and high-quality education”
Best program for language learning: CIEE
Program length: 4-39 weeks
Price point: $$
What’s included: roundtrip airfare, in-country transportation, accommodation in a homestay, all meals at the homestay, medical insurance, placement in a local high school, activities and excursions, 24/7 support, visa assistance
Being placed in a local high school as an exchange student means you will be fully immersed in the language and culture.
The certificate of learning you receive can be used as part of your college applications.
The short-term summer program is very structured and for some, this might not be the best option because they’re looking for a trip that is more flexible. For semester or yearlong programs, you may be the only foreign student in the school and while this could be overwhelming at first, it’s also a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture.
Spain is one of the most popular study abroad destinations in Europe for good reason – it’s a country with a rich history and interesting culture that can be explored in depth, and it also boasts some of the best beaches in Europe! If you’re looking for a place to spend your summer months, Spain should definitely be at the top of your list!
CIEE’s High School Study Abroad program in Spain gives students a chance to immerse themselves in Spanish culture for two weeks. Students will have the opportunity to learn about the country’s history, architecture, and art through visits to museums and other cultural sites. They’ll also get to explore the local neighborhoods and enjoy some free time with their new friends.
CIEE offers programs that range in length from 4 weeks during the summer to 39 weeks during an academic year.
“I was able to travel to 5 countries and meet loads of new people. I got really close with my host family and they treated me like one of their own. My Spanish improved so much and CIEE were there to help me every step of the way if I needed anything.”
Best program for Southeast Asia: Travel For Teens in Thailand
Program length: 10-26 days
Price point: $$$
What’s included: accommodation, all meals, in-country transportation, activities and excursions, filtered water
- Earn up to 20 hours of community service credit.
- The excursions are varied and allow you to see large portions of the country.
After much consideration, students have decided that they would prefer a direct flight to Chiang Mai over the optional group flight. This is because free time is structured and limited to defined areas on the group flight, and students want the freedom to explore on their own time.
Thailand is a country with a little something for everyone. Those looking to explore local cultures and history can find plenty to do, from floating markets to elephant rides through the jungle. For those seeking adventure, there are options like white water rafting down the rapids of northern Thailand or jungle exploration in Khao Yai National Park. And for those who just want to relax, there are plenty of beaches perfect for a day in the sun!
The Thailand program at Travel for Teens is the perfect way for high school students to immerse themselves in a new culture and learn about the world around them. The program is designed to give participants an authentic experience, from living with a host family to exploring ancient temples and everything in between.
On this unique educational experience, students will travel to various parts of Thailand, including Bangkok and Chiang Mai, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the local culture through fun activities such as cooking classes, dance lessons, traditional Thai massage therapy, temple visits and more! By immersing themselves in the culture, students will come away from this trip with a wealth of knowledge about Thailand that they couldn’t have acquired by simply reading about it in a textbook.