High School Abroad in Asia

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Examining Asia as one region seems nearly impossible considering how many countries, cultures, and land masses it spans. One thing can be said for sure though: Asia is becoming increasingly popular as a destination for high schoolers to study, volunteer, and travel.

From Japan to China to India, there is no shortage of destinations for students to discover. As a student abroad in Asia, you’ll have the opportunity to learn a new language, make lifelong friends, and explore rich, historic cultures.

Asia is great for students who are interested in history, economics, business, languages, unique cultures, and eating delicious food.

Students interested in studying abroad in Asia have several different options:

  • A semester or full year exchange
  • A summer study abroad program
  • A study / travel program over spring, winter, or summer break
High School Exchange

Spending a semester or a full year studying in Asia often involves living with a host family. This is a great opportunity for those who are interested in learning a foreign language like Mandarin or Japanese.

High school students will have the opportunity to learn from educational systems that are structured differently than what they may be used to. There are options to spend a semester to a year studying in Asia and oftentimes students are able to apply for a direct exchange of credits.

Youth Travel Tours

High school students with time constraints can choose to participate in a travel tour geared towards youth. These programs are structured to include sightseeing at historical attractions, learning about interesting cultures, and studying various subjects.

Tours can focus on various themes like adventure, volunteering, or cooking while incorporating educational elements like language, history, art, and economics. Rustic Pathways is a notable provider who runs such tours for teens.

Summer Study Program

For those able to commit to a few months of study abroad, a summer program is ideal. High schoolers are able to study abroad with an intensive course in Asia between their regular studies at home. Many students choose to do a summer program if they are interested in beginning or deepening their studies of a foreign language like Japanese, Korean, or Mandarin. Many times, these summer programs can be partnered with universities so students receive college credit.

Student Visas

Visa requirements vary depending on which Asian country you’re visiting and what country you’re from. Generally speaking, if you’re a citizen of Canada, the UK, Australia, or the United States and are planning to stay less than 90 days, you can usually obtain a tourist visa upon entry to most Asian countries, with the exception of China. Those planning to study and stay longer than 90 days will need to look into a student visa.

All travelers to Vietnam will need to apply for a visa in advance, regardless of length of stay.

Be sure to begin research several months in advance; you may need to visit the local international embassy in your home country. If you are traveling with a program they often provide help with visa requirements and applications.

Housing

The type of study abroad program you choose in Asia will determine your housing options. Semester or year-long exchanges often provide host families for students to immerse themselves in the local culture (if you're planning on going to Japan, we recommend reading our tips for staying with a host family in Japan).

Participants in youth travel programs will typically share a hotel room with fellow travelers on the tour. High school students participating in summer programs are often given to choice to either live in university dorms with other students or live with a host family.

Finances

If you’re flying from North America, flights to hubs like Shanghai will likely cost between $800 - $1,100 USD range, while those coming from Europe can exxpect to pay between $500 to $700.

The cost of food, nights out, transportation, and additional expenses will vary depending upon your exact destination. In cheaper locations like Thailand and Cambodia you'll be spending about $20 USD a day, while more expensive areas like Singapore and Japan can cost around $40 USD daily.

Program prices vary according to country, length of stay, type of housing and what’s included. It can range from $1,000 for a two-week trip to $8,000 for a summer experience to $12,000 for a semester program.

Packing Tips

In more tropical Asian destinations like Indonesia, Thailand, and India, you'll need to pack less layers and potentially more rain gear. Depending on the time of year, you may need to pack for monsoon season. For these regions, definitely be sure to bring:

  • A solid raincoat and umbrella (which can be purchased on arrival)
  • Breathable and UPF (sun resistant) clothing
  • Sunscreen and bug repellant
  • A hat
  • Solid walking shoes for all those outdoor adventures
  • A power and voltage converter

Asian countries farther away from the equator will experience more seasonal weather. Be sure to check the weather temperatures for the time of year you’ll be visiting. You may need to pack a coat, gloves, and boots for places that receive snow, like areas in Japan, South Korea, and China.

Staying Healthy in Asia

It is recommended to receive hepatitis, yellow fever, typhoid, tetanus, and rabies vaccinations before traveling to developing Asian countries. Mosquitos in Asia can carry diseases like malaria and dengue fever, so high school students should take proper precautions such as frequently using bug repellant, covering their skin in high-risk areas, and taking preventative medication. Be especially vigilant of mosquito born diseases in India, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

In Asia, stay away from animals you don’t know and only drink bottled water. When eating food, make sure it’s properly and thoroughly cooked. Be aware that salads are sometimes washed in impure water, making them hazardous for a foreign student’s stomach. Traveler’s diarrhea is not uncommon, so be sure to hydrate and see a health professional if symptoms don’t abate after a week.

Safety Considerations

High school students traveling in Asia should have no problems if they follow general safety guidelines. As with anywhere in the world, being aware of your surroundings is an important means of keeping safe. Pickpocketing and petty theft is known to happen in more crowded, touristy areas. Stay away from local demonstrations, as they occasionally turn violent. Always follow local government laws and stay away from illegal drugs and underage consumption of alcohol.

Contributed by Alecia Weaver

Showing 15 Programs

China

That's Mandarin Chinese Language School
Between the months of June and August your Kids and Teens ( 7- 17 ) can join us at our Shanghai or Beijing campuses for some...

China

The Experiment in International Living
Travel from vibrant Beijing to the grasslands of inner China. In Beijing, deepen your understanding of China’s history throug...

Thailand

Rustic Pathways
Join Rustic Pathways in Thailand, where we’ve been running cultural immersion and service adventures for over 15 years. Thail...

Thailand

Global Vision International (GVI)
Catered towards current high school'ers or students under 18, the GVI programs across the globe contribute to a variety or pr...

Japan

Greenheart Travel
Learn and improve your Japanese skills through full language and cultural immersion on Greenheart Travel’s summer language ca...

Nepal

Projects Abroad
Travel to Nepal during your High School summer with Projects Abroad! You can have the opportunity to volunteer at a local sch...

Vietnam

Carpe Diem Education
Carpe Diem offers 3 month semesters combining service, cultural immersion, and adventure. Travel with a group of 12 other stu...

India

Where There Be Dragons
Nestled deep in the eastern end of the great Himalayan mountain range, Sikkim is a restricted Indian province that sits snugl...

China

Go Abroad China
Our high school program is specifically for high school aged international students between the ages of 13 – 18. In this prog...

Nepal

Global Works
Travel to Nepal on this adventure of a lifetime. The focus of this program is to extend much needed support and help to our p...

Indonesia

Biosphere Foundation
The International Biosphere Stewardship Program brings together teenagers from Bali and all over the world to join in a progr...

Japan

EF International Language Centers
Learn Japanese among Tokyo’s soaring skyline and fast-paced culture. EF's interactive, participation based courses will enusr...

China

SPI Study Abroad
SPI Study Abroad's Chinese immersion program in Guilin, China gives high school students the opportunity to truly experience...

China

Konall Culture Exchange
Konall Culture Exchange offers a variety of language learning opportunities for those interested in Mandarin. While studying...

Thailand

Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)
Explore the beautiful and rich culture of Thailand while volunteering. Global Leadership Adventures offer multiple Service Le...