Are you now studying German in high school, but the classes are weighing you down? Do you want to get a head start on your languages for college and maybe even major/double major in German? Take a summer or semester and study in Germany! Enhance your college application, your essays for scholarships, and gain new experiences while enjoying the lovely sites and adventures in the city of your choosing.
Studying abroad in Germany is harder than most high school programs due to their school years. Below are some options for working on your language skills, touring, and if you are willing to spend longer time abroad, you’ll find options for scholarships and programs.
- Language Immersion: If you are looking to primarily work on your German speaking skills, language schools are often the best option. Language schools are a great way to interact not only with other Americans, but students of all ages and walks of life from around the world. Many language programs are paired with homestays, so that you can continue to practice your German outside the classroom as well. These programs are great for people who want to improve their German rapidly.
- Cultural Exploration: These programs introduce you to the literary and artistic history of Germany. Spend time in museums looking at German art, or go to concerts and operas to hear the compositions of famous German musicians. Although they often include a language component, the focus here is really on experiencing all that German culture has to offer.
Planning Your Trip
Planning your summer abroad does not happen overnight. Make sure you give yourself as much pre-planning time as possible. If you want to do this next summer, you should start investigating your options now and start budgeting! The sooner you get your passport and submit forms with payments, the easier it is to reserve your spot in a program.
If you are interested in staying longer in Germany and are willing to spend a year abroad, Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange offers a full competitive scholarship to go to a German high school.
Most programs require 2.5 or 3.0 GPAs (on a 4.0 scale), a passport, and sense of adventure. The youngest age in most programs is 14, but double-check the individual programs. If you are there for three months or less, a visa is not needed, but if you are staying over three months, most of the programs help acquire a visa for longer stays in Germany. Above all, you must have a flexible open personality to fully experience another culture.
All of these programs require that you pay your own airfare and other travel expenses to get to Germany. Many of them have people who will meet you at the airport. As for living arrangements, German families open their hearts and homes to host many high school students, which is the ideal living situation to enhance your knowledge of German culture and language. Other options include boarding residences and youth hostels, depending on how long you will spend abroad.
Programs over the summer can cost from $4000 to $6000, not including international airfare. However, many programs offer scholarships or financial aid. In addition, students can fundraise for their trips.
Top Reasons to Spend a Summer Abroad in Germany
If you want to have a competitive application for college, write good scholarship essays, and get a head start on language requirements, studying abroad during the summer or for a semester is well worth the time and investment. Engineering or pre-med students often have fixed schedules for classes in college, so this is a way to guarantee getting abroad before being tied to class schedules.
For those parents who are wary about letting you go abroad, this is the first way to dip your feet in the water without having to swim on your own. Students in high school have a very good support net with these kinds of programs. Let this be your time to explore the world outside of the U.S. so you can catch the travel bug early and plan for more study abroad in college! Discover Germany, discover new friends and above all discover a new you!