How You Can Study Abroad in High School (Even if You’re Short on Funds)
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Studying abroad is an amazing opportunity, but many high school students never even consider it. Help broaden your students’ horizons by ensuring they have a basic understanding of what is involved and how they might be able to spend some time in a different country while still in high school. You can also help them discover if any of these grants and scholarships apply to them.
When I was in high school, I loved to travel, and I planned to pursue a college education abroad. I had already visited Europe and was excited to go back during the summer with a school trip. At the beginning of my senior year, I heard that a friend had been in Spain for a semester. I was amazed — who knew that you could study abroad while in high school? I wish someone had told me about these opportunities!
There are many reasons to go abroad in high school — cultural exchange, volunteer opportunities, and language immersion, to name a few. My friend was committed to becoming fluent in Spanish, and going to Spain was the beginning of her journey.
Have you ever wanted to go abroad for a semester or a summer, but were unsure how to afford it? Luckily there are tons of travel grants and scholarships out there!
The Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) creates opportunities for students to go abroad to study or teach. They also support summer work and travel exchanges, as well as volunteer opportunities. Exchange programs are available for high school students in Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, and Sweden. The CIEE’s Global Navigator Scholarships will help you get there: Merit-based scholarships will cover 10 percent of the tuition cost, whereas those based on a combination of merit and financial need can cover 20 to 100 percent of the tuition costs.
Rotary International is known for its exchange programs. Students ages 15 to 19 can be sponsored by a club for a full school year or for shorter, nonacademic programs. Room and board is usually provided, so students would need to cover only round-trip airfare, travel insurance, and spending money.
Greenheart Travel has programs for teens to study abroad in any of 19 countries, learn a language at a two- to four-week language camp in one of nine countries, or volunteer abroad in two countries. The organization offers, among other things, a full scholarship award (including airfare) for a trimester at a high school abroad, a two-week summer language camp, or a two-week volunteer program in Costa Rica.
The Farther Foundation supports students from economically disadvantaged circumstances to participate in educational travel experiences. High school students from Chicago are eligible to apply for up to $4,000 for education programs. The foundation’s website lists 75 international programs, 35 language programs, and 64 cultural immersion programs, as well as many domestic ones.
The U.S. State Department offers many scholarships for high school students. The National Security Language Initiative will cover all costs for a summer or full-year program to study Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Hindi, Korean, Persian (Tajik), or Russian (the Turkish program is currently suspended). The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study program provides merit-based scholarships to live and study in a Muslim culture for an academic year; there are 13 countries to choose from, though prior French skills are required to go to Morocco or Senegal. The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for high school students provides a full merit-based scholarship for study in Germany, and no previous German skills are required.
AFS-USA offers high school and study abroad programs in more than 40 countries and has a helpful tool for searching scholarships by state, too.