The 10 Best High School Language Immersion Programs
Studying a language abroad isn't just for college students. Read on to find out the best high school language immersion programs around the world.
- High school language immersion programs help you improve your language skills while introducing you to the world of international travel.
- Whether you want to learn or improve your Spanish, French, Chinese, or Arabic, there's a program for you!
- Your language immersion experience could include a homestay, adventure travel, cultural site visits, and more -- pick your perfect program.
The earlier you start learning a foreign language, the better. High school is the perfect time to either start learning a new language or to immerse yourself completely in the study of the one you've already been learning as you work towards fluency.
High school is also a great time to start traveling the world! There's no better way to master a language than being fully immersed in a native environment, speaking that language every day. Not to mention, the earlier you start gaining experience overseas, the more you improve your chances for being admitted to a more prestigious university, for learning other languages, and for landing international jobs as you start your career in just a few years!
If you're struggling which language immersion program to choose, we're here to help. We've crunched the numbers and these are the top 10 high school language immersion programs.
- Best overall immersion program: LITA
- Best for Chinese immersion: RISH Chinese Learning Center
- Best for camp experience: Educational Camps Abroad
- Best for multi-country French immersion: MEI International Academy
- Best for excursions: Abbey Road
- Best for community immersion: Where There Be Dragons
- Best for college credit: API High School
- Best for outdoor adventure: Tico Lingo
- Best for community service projects: The Experiment in International Living
Best overall immersion program: LITA
For high school students with a true commitment to language acquisition and an adventurous spirit, LITA's A Unique Approach to Language Immersion in Spain, places students in homestays in rural areas of Spain, where you'll also participate in a volunteer internship with a local business. Alternatively, students can complete an independent research project or take language classes.
The five-and-a-half-week-long program is split into two parts: 1) three weeks of homestay and elective classes or internship and 2) two weeks of travel throughout rural Spain, focusing on art, history, and cultural experiences.
LITA offers a highly personalized experience for students and places them in homestay families chosen specifically for them. With a unique programmatic experience, LITA is the top-rated language immersion program for high schoolers on Go Overseas.
Here are highlights from the LITA language immersion program reviews:
- "Because this program is very language-focused, my Spanish improved tremendously through the course of the six-week program and I left the program speaking so much better than I ever could have imagined." -- Max
- "I remember being terrified to ask for ask for a cup of water without ice in Spanish while on the plane to Spain, but now I feel comfortable with my speaking ability enough to hold a conversation with anyone." -- Karlton
- "The experience was so well organized and personalized and the extra work put in by the directors to get to know the students made a huge difference. ... I loved my group, my counselors, and especially my host family." –- Zach
Best for Chinese immersion: RISH Chinese Learning Center
Based in Shanghai, the RISH Chinese Learning Center Full-immersion Summer Camp provides 24-7 opportunities to learn and practice Chinese paired with excursions to Hangzhou, Beijing, and Nanjing. While at the camp, you'll stay in a full board 4-star hotel on campus, ensuring both safety and convenience. Through 90 hours of Chinese lessons and 1-on-1 lessons, your language skills will soar.
Former students rave about the quality of the teachers and counselors and the close relationships they developed, many of them speaking fondly about the lifelong friendships they've developed over the course of the program.
Here are highlights from the RISH Chinese Learning Center program reviews:
- "I really enjoyed the experience, found some new people who were excited about my culture and how we spend time in our school. I even made friends faster than they I interact with people at my school. The food was amazing and it was most of time some new experience that I really enjoy. " -- Mike
- "The counselors are very helpful encouraging each one of us to speak Chinese after class in real life. I'm now no more afraid to see a person speaking Chinese in front of me." -- Leslie
- "It is a real full immersion program as they said, because I have to speak Mandarin every day with teachers, counselors, classmates and other people I met in the school. That builds up my confidence in speaking Mandarin. In the end I am able to hold longer conversation by using the vocabulary I have learnt before." -- Susane
Best for camp experience: Educational Camps Abroad
For high school students who are non-native English speakers, you can gain experience with English by participating in Educational Camps Abroad's Language and Cultural Immersion in Europe. This two-week program is open to students 13-17 and includes aspects of outdoor adventuring, language study, and programs designed to promote self-growth.
Previous participants loved the friendships they built with fellow students on the program, as well as the fun and unconventional activities that helped them learn and practice English.
Here are highlights from the Education Camps Abroad program reviews:
- "During the camp experience, you could learn about many things, such as: how to successfully work in groups, social abilities developed through physical and enjoyable activities. Not only that but also try new things like kayaking and coasteering." -- Bryan
- "What I liked the most about this trip was that I met new people who made new friends from different parts of the country and also from Wales since we went to school there, that was what I liked most about the camaraderie that we students have." -- Desiree
Best for multi-country French immersion: MEI International Academy
If you want to practice your French skills in not one but two countries, you'll love the Summer High School Language Immersion Programs in France & Switzerland through MEI International Academy. Enjoy the beauty of these two European destinations while taking your French skills to the next level.
You'll live the cosmopolitan life in Paris while also hiking through the Alps, visiting various cultural sites, and making new friends along the way. Groups have a maximum of 10 students so you're sure to form close bonds with your classmates and teachers.
Here are highlights from the MEI International Academy program reviews:
- "I climbed the Eiffel Tower, had a lesson on Lac D'Annecy, and got to swim in the Mediterranean in Nice! I will never forget this experience and I hope to one day take a program similar to this again. Had I not taken this program for he summer, I would not have grown my independence, my confidence, my sense of adventure, and my sense of daring to try new things and take new experiences in stride." -- Lauren
- "On top of this I met so many great people that made my trip even more enjoyable. From eating escargot in Paris to climbing Almendhuble in Mürren, I was forced to step out of my comfort zone and do things that I had never done before." -- Kayla
- "I made incredible new friends and the teachers were amazing. By doing this program, I think that my spoken French has greatly improved and I hope that I’ll will feel more confident doing other exchange trips or even travelling on my own." –- Jorja
Best for excursions: Abbey Road
The Abbey Road High School Immersion Program in Spain allows high school students to immerse themselves in Spanish by living off the beaten path in Cádiz. A balanced approach to study abroad, students have weekly excursion experiences to other Spanish towns and cities in the region.
Program participants are also offered the opportunity to choose electives such as art, history, and photography in addition to the intermediate and advanced level language classes.
Here are highlights from the Abbey Road High School Immersion Program in Spain program reviews:
- "The balance between activities and downtime was just right, as I improved my Spanish skills a lot and also had time to explore the city." -- Bryan
- "Abbey Road's Cádiz immersion trip gives you unbelievable freedom and puts the opportunity to drastically improve your language skills in your hands. Between the language classes and cultural studies classes, you get the opportunity to walk around the city and find the places you want to go or the things you want to do." -- George
- "It was truly a life-changing experience. Abbey Road made this experience so personal, I felt I was there with my family and friends. The homestay family was so nice to me and kept offering me different foods to taste and sharing their Spanish culture with me." -- Jamie
Best for community immersion: Where There Be Dragons
If you're a student with a true appetite for adventure and wanting an authentic experience of life in Central America, Where There Be Dragons' Guatemala Spanish Language Intensive is for you! Known for pushing participants past their comfort zone (in a good way!), Where There Be Dragons provides a safe experience to really dive into a new culture and language.
The comprehensive four- or six-week programs include one-on-one language tutoring, homestay experiences in different parts of the country, cultural experiences, adventure, and even volunteering experiences for service credits.
Here are highlights from the Where There Be Dragons High School Language Program in Guatemala reviews:
- "What an incredible experience! I can't begin to count the valuable lessons I learned and the memories I made. ... The small group environment provided opportunities to explore how we get along with other people, and our instructors facilitated sessions to allow ideas to be shared and feedback to be given." -- Sylvie
- "I learned so much about the local culture while living in homestays and my Spanish improved in leaps and bounds. Where There Be Dragons trips are not vacation-y, they can certainly be intense and challenging at times." -- Hailey
- "I learned about a forgotten Guatemalan history, I learned the Spanish language, I learned about a new culture, and in the process, I learned about myself and my place in this world." -- Anna
Best for college credit: API High School
Earn college credits and experience Spanish university life while participating in the API High School Spanish Language & Culture in Salamanca program. Regular group excursions help immerse students in the local culture and homestay experiences deepen your knowledge of Spanish.
Two- or four-week programs are available and all classes are taught in Spanish at the prestigious Universidad de Salamanca.
Here are highlights from the API High School Spanish Language & Culture reviews:
- "Salamanca is an amazing city, especially for young students studying abroad. It is small and safe, and Aspire by API gives the right amount of supervision to allow for independence while also ensuring security." -- LC
- "Throughout the month I was there I did so many things I never thought I would ever do, they made sure we soaked in the different cultural differences." -- Anonymous
- "This was a great program and I really had a great time. Being in a new country, meeting new people, being immersed in a new culture, and speaking a different language were all things that I will remember for a lifetime and have helped me even after the trip." -- Albert
Best for outdoor adventure: Tico Lingo
Tico Lingo's Teen Spanish Immersion Summer Camp in Costa Rica is a three-week immersion that offers the opportunity to improve your Spanish, stay with a local Costa Rican family in a homestay experience, go on weekend excursions, and make close new friendships with the 12 other students in the program.
Each day on the program includes four hours of intensive Spanish classes, so your language skills are sure to improve! Other program activities include volunteering in local schools, dance, yoga, cooking classes, and trips to waterfalls and volcanoes.
Here are highlights from the Tico Lingo's Teen Spanish Immersion Summer Camp in Costa Rica reviews:
- "Despite having taken Spanish classes in the US for three years, I did not feel at all confident speaking the language-- on the first day, I could barely communicate, let alone understand what my homestay family was saying! However, by the end of the program, my speaking abilities had vastly improved and I could both speak and understand with relative ease." -- Cassidy
- "I was completed immersed in the Costa Rican culture and Spanish language while living with an incredibly friendly host family." -- Camilla
- "These are definitely memories that I will take with me for the rest of my life. In my host house, there were two other girls and just down the street there were two other kids in the program." -- Riley
Best for community service projects: The Experiment in International Living
If you're interested in studying a more unconventional language, The Experiment in International Living's Jordan Arabic Language & The Middle East program is a comprehensive program for high school students in the Middle East.
In addition to the 40 hours of Arabic language class included in the program, you'll also participate in experiences focused on politics, religion, and diversity –- and live with a homestay family! You'll also complete a community service project to complete your immersion in Jordanian culture.
Here are highlights from The Experiment in International Living Jordan Arabic Language & The Middle East reviews:
- "The people, the place, everything, was absolutely amazing and I cannot begin to express my gratitude for this amazing, enlightening experience. On my trip to Jordan with The Experiment, I met so many people, both Jordanian and American, and had amazing experiences sightseeing, learning, and exploring." -- Amanda
- "This program provided a truly unique and valuable experience. Jordan is a country with experiences, viewpoints, and social structures so unique in the world, while also being a society which is overall very accessible and welcoming to outsiders." –- Ariel
- "I learned the language, culture, and history not just through lectures and class but also through first-hand experiences! The homestay is one of the most amazing parts of the trip, making you feel like you belong." -- Maggie
Best for cultural immersion: Global Works
If you're adventurous and want a truly off-the-beaten-path program, Global Works' Peru Language Immersion and Service Adventure is an excellent choice. Stay overnight in remote villages, experience indigenous cultures, visit Machu Picchu, and even go whitewater river rafting!
Service is also a big focus of the trip, and you'll earn up to 35 hours of community service credit by participating in community development projects in rural areas and practicing Spanish with Peruvian students. You'll get to live like a local in this program, so be prepared to seriously up-level your Spanish skills over the course of the trip.
Here are highlights from the Global Works Peru Language Immersion and Service Adventure reviews:
- "Every day I got to wake up in a real Peruvian house and really see what day to day life was like. ... The entire trip as a whole was eye-opening and I am very thankful for being able to go on such a trip, and am looking forward to Panama next summer." -- Jordan
- "On a trip so well structured and beautifully crafted, you can't help learning something about yourself and the world. I would recommend this trip to anyone and everyone because they really do travel, safety, learning, and adventure incredibly well." -- Ibarron
- "I will never forget my homestay family. They welcomed me into their daily lives and I learned so much about the culture. I also enjoyed answering their questions about my life and the United States as well." -- Elizabeth
Where will you improve your language skills?
There you have it! We’ve narrowed it down to the ten best high school language immersion programs based on the feedback former students shared on Go Overseas. The results are based on the real experience of program alumni so you can be confident in the honesty of their appraisals.
Now it’s your turn to choose which program is the best for you! Where will you go? Which language will you learn?