Home to the world's largest waterfall, countless breathtaking mountains, and picturesque beaches, as well as the origin of delicious arepas, Venezuela is a beautiful country to immerse yourself in while in high school.
Venezuela is great for students who want to master their Spanish, get connected the the local community by living with a host family, and learn more about social and political issues in South America. Unlike most other South American countries, Venezuela differs in that the culture has more of a Caribbean feel, which makes this a truly unique study abroad destination for high schoolers.Photo credit: ferjflores.
Students looking to spend time overseas in Venezuela during high school can choose from the following program types:
- Year Long Exchange Program
- Summer Program
Year Long Exchange Program
Come to Venezuela for a year and participate in a direct enrollment program at a local private high school; you can choose between a humanitarian or science track, like other Venezuelan students. Not only will your Spanish skills significantly improve by taking all of your core courses in the native tongue, but living with a host family will also give you the extra practice and knowledge about everyday life for people in Venezuela.
Though school is not in session, students can come to Venezuela for up to six weeks in the summer. While here, you'll get to live with a local host family to practice your Spanish, take day trips to different destinations, as well as participate in other types of academic, volunteer, and travel excursions.
- Caracas: the capital of Venezuela, Caracas is located in the northern mountain region and is home to many cultural and political hubs.
- Maracaibo: located in the northwest, Maracaibo is known for its strong oil industry, colorful pastel buildings, and historical landmarks.
- Valencia: capital of the Carabobo state, Valencia is known for its modernism and hub for manufacturing and business.
- Ciudad Guayana: a historical port city situated between Puerto Ordaz and San Félix, Ciudad Guayana is known for its waterfalls and lush greenery surrounding the port.
- Barquisimeto: the capital of the Lara state, Barquisimeto is known for its zoo, botanical garden, and art museums.
All students planning to spend time overseas in Venezuela must apply for a visa at least three months before their entry to the country. The tourist visa costs $30 and is good for 90 days of travel within Venezuela. Passports must also be valid for an additional six months after the student's intended departure date. Most study abroad program providers will assist students in this application process.
Venezuela also has a child mandate law, claiming that individuals who are 18 or younger and traveling alone to Venezuela must have a copy of their birth certificate as well as a written notarized letter of authorization from their parents saying they can travel alone, prior to boarding their flight.
When leaving Venezuela, travelers will be required to pay an exit fee in local currency. Most airlines include this fee in the cost of a flight. The fee sometimes changes, but it usually costs between BsF. 570- BsF. 1000, which is equivalent to $10 USD or less.
Summer and full year exchange students alike will have the chance to live with a local Venezuelan family through a homestay during their time overseas in high school. This will help the student to master their language skills, engage in real discussions about life in Venezuela, and help them to better understand the culture and native traditions.
Other programs may have the option of staying in student dormitories or shared housing.
The official currency in Venezuela is the Bolivares Fuertes. Venezuela is an extremely affordable place to travel to at the moment in comparison to the U.S. Dollar. Most restaurant bills include a service fee of 10%, but travelers can always tip taxis, waiters, and other people in the service industry as well.
Program costs vary depending on type, and duration. A six week summer program can cost you around $10,000 and a year long exchange program can cost beteweincluding airfare, meals, and tuition.
Located just above the equator, Venezuela experiences perfect weather nearly year round, with temperatures usually in the high 70s and low 80s. We recommend packing the following essentials for your time overseas in this Caribbean country:
- Bathing suit
- Shorts and t-shirts that mix and match well
- A few dressy outfits (Venezuelans rarely wear sweatpants out in public!)
- Sneakers for hiking
- Type A or B adaptors
- Hygienic products from home
- Snacks (Venezuela is currently experiencing goverment regulated shopping, so bringing your own snacks from home may alleviate some of the tension involved when shopping in a country that has shortages.)
Contributed by Danielle Ortiz-Geis
Currently, active viruses in Venezuela include malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, cholera, typhoid, tuberculosis, hepatitis, and rabies.
We recommend that travelers get vaccinated for Yellow fever, Cholera, Tuberculosis, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Rabies before coming to Venezuela. Consult your primary care practioner for advice concerning your individual itinerary, especially if you plan on traveling to more than one country.
Venezuela has one of the world's highest crime rates, according to the US Department of State as of July 7, 2016. Violent crime as a result of country-wide shortages of various necessities occur throughout the country, including the capital of Caracas.
If studying in Venezuela, we recommend taking higher safety precautions than normal. Stay away from political rallies and public demonstrations, as they can get out of hand quickly. Check on your government's website for updated travel warnings. Keep in mind, however, that government travel warnings tend to be very conservative for safety reasons.
Contact your program provider about the various safety precautions put in place to protect participants, and always keep them updated on your whereabouts throughout your trip, especially if you plan on taking part in an activity not on the program itinerary.