High School Abroad in Europe

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Want to get a head start on exploring the world? Many students wait until college (if at all!) to travel and study abroad. However, there's no reason you should wait.

Europe offers students an opportunity to be surrounded by many different languages and cultures. You can hop on a train and be in a different country in an hour! Europe is also very safe, so parents and students alike will feel comfortable and reassured while you're out there discovering the globe.

Europe is best for students who: are taking high level or AP language classes, want to learn a European language, or who haven’t traveled overseas yet and want to start off somewhere easier.

Considering how popular and how large Europe is, there are many program types available for high school students. Before deciding, take in to account how long you want to be overseas, what you want to get out of the experience. Do you want to become conversational in Spanish? Learn to cook Italian food? Make new friends at a volunteer organization? See as many places in a short amount of time? Your goals will determine what type of program you look for.

Exchange programs are great for students who want to be fully immersed in a new culture for a semester or a full year. The UK is a popular option for full semester or year long exchanges, as students are able to do their coursework in English.

While this may not be possible for everyone, options to go over the summer or over school breaks are also wonderful opportunities. Summer programs and teen travel programs are the best option for students who feel like they don’t want to or can’t miss anything at home. They are great for student-athletes or high-schoolers who hold jobs, such as babysitting or working a local internship, during the academic year. Choose one of these if you want to get some academic credit for college by enrolling in a summer course, or to see and learn as much about Europe as possible on a travel program.

Volunteering/service learning programs are alternatives to just studying overseas. These are more likely to be offered over summers and to be more immersive. Though not quite as common in Europe as other parts of the globe, there are still projects -- like English conversation or restoring an old castle -- for volunteers here.

Along the same vein, language immersion programs are wonderful opportunities to really hone your language skills in a short amount of time, and probably one of the most common reasons students head to Europe. Learn Spanish in Spain, French in France, Italian in Italy! Learning from native speakers and being immersed in the local culture is the best way to become fluent (or close to it!)

Popular Countries

Some of the most popular countries in Europe are France, Italy, Germany, and Spain. This is because it is easy to learn a new language in those places (or delve further if you’ve already started learning). Others popular, English-speaking destinations are England and Ireland.

Student visa requirements

Anything longer than that, and you'll have to apply for a student visa before leaving your home country. Start the application process at least a couple of months in advance to allow yourself plenty of time for any delays. The exact process may vary from country to country, but if you're going through a program provider they'll help point you in the right direction.

Housing

Again, due to the large number of program options in Europe, there is a high variety of housing options. These can include, but are not limited to, homestays, hotels, hostels, and dormitories. Homestays are more popular for students who want to learn another language or will be overseas for longer periods of time. They are great options for parents, too, who want their kids to be looked after by another adult!

If you're on a teen travel program, you're more likely to stay in a hotel with the other students. For summer courses at a local university, you'll likely live in one of the college dorms on campus.

Costs

While Europe is on the more expensive side for continents to study abroad in, it is not impossible. Scholarships and financial aid help make it more affordable, and summer programs or teen travel programs tend to be on the cheaper side since they are shorter in length.

As for the amount of money you'll need while you're there, typically your costs for housing, in-country travel, and excursions are usually covered in the program fee. That takes away a huge chunk of what most travelers need to budget for their trip, so you'll likely just need a little spending money (for the gelato and postcards, obviously) while there.

Again, some countries, like England and Ireland, are more expensive than others, like Spain and the Czech Republic, but estimate to have about $20 - 30 per day. You may not spend it all, but it's always better to be on the safe side.

Packing tips

Keep in mind where in Europe you are traveling to, and when. If you will be there for a semester or for a year, be prepared for seasons to change, even if you're in the Southern areas of some countries. If you'll be gone just a short time, make sure you pack lightly so its easier to travel. Also, we recommend using a backpack or duffle bag, not a suitcase, since they're easier to drag around old cobblestone streets and up stairs in elevator-less hotels (which are common in Europe).

Some necessities to not forget:

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  • Passport and extra photocopies (save one digitally!)
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Your camera
  • A light sweater (if you're visiting churches at all)
  • Converters
  • If you are staying with a host family, don't forget to bring a gift for them from home!

Health

Vaccinations are usually not necessary when traveling to Europe. However you should still make sure to visit your doctor at home before you leave to get a check up, as well as any other information he/she might suggest before leaving.

Safety

Overall, Europe is a safe place to travel, even as a teen. As a rule, you should always use your best judgment while at home and when overseas.

The most common annoyance is pickpocketing. It's fairly common throughout Europe, so make sure to keep your valuables in a safe place when you leave them and while they are on you (i.e.: zip purses, front pockets, travelers pouches), and try to avoid hanging your purse / backpack on the back of your chair while you're in a cafe. Keep it in your lap instead.

Showing 15 Programs

Italy

Greenheart Travel
Spend a trimester, semester or year studying abroad in Italy as a high school student, and live like like local while perfect...

Italy

Travel For Teens
Italy has long been considered the country of every traveler's dreams, and TFT will show you why! Our Italy directors have sp...

Italy

Abbey Road Programs
Western Civilization is a unique educational journey in time that gives our students an opportunity to learn first-hand about...

Switzerland

Wilderness Adventures
Spend four incredible weeks hiking from Chamonix, France to Zermatt, Switzerland! You will complete portions of both the Tour...

Iceland

Westcoast Connection
Our global adventure programs are targeted towards high school students in 11th and 12th grades, usually 16-17 years old. The...

Ireland

The Experiment in International Living
Begin in the historic city of Cork. Get to know your group and see a performance of Irish song and dance at an arts center. T...

France

SPI Study Abroad
SPI Study Abroad's high school French immersion program in Biarritz gives students the opportunity to truly experience France...

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...

England

Summerfuel
Oxford is a magical place, loved not just for its longstanding traditions, venerable buildings and academic reputation. It is...

Italy

Art History Abroad
If you are between 17 and 22, AHA's 2-4 weeks courses are a brilliant way to pass some of the summer while doing something wo...

France

Global Works
Immerse yourself in the French language and culture via our French in Action or out France Language and Leadership programs!

Spain

Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)
For more than a language course, travel to Valencia—the perfect place for a full Spanish experience. Program Highlights: - Im...

France

CIEE Global Navigator High School Study Abroad
Accelerate your French with four weeks of language immersion in the bustling, beautiful, and student-friendly city of Toulous...
Atlas Workshops
Travel abroad with Atlas Workshops on a Global Innovators High School Summer Trip. On each trip, we investigate a real-world...

Spain

Sol Abroad
Learn Spanish in one of the most ancient and diverse cities in Spain . . . ¡Granada! Explore the narrow, cobblestoned streets...