CIEE High School and Gap Year Study Abroad

CIEE Global Navigator


With CIEE Global Navigator High School programs, the possibilities are endless. As a U.S. high school student, you can study abroad from as little as three weeks in the summer to an entire semester or gap year. With more than 60 programs on five continents, you’re sure to find the perfect program to match your personal goals and interests.



Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

CIEE High School Abroad Sevilla Spain

I attended CIEE's High School Abroad program in Sevilla, Spain for the academic year of my junior in 2017-2018. I went with my brother Benjamin. We both stayed in different home stays and towns, but this experience together was so rewarding. I met some of my best friends at my Spanish high school, and still consider them best friends to this day. I was able to travel to 5 countries, and met so many new people along the way. I became very close with my host family, and they treated me like their own. I became very proficient in Spanish, and CIEE supported me along the way with any need I had. CIEE really pushed me to become immersed in the culture and my community, and always had resources for when I needed a little extra comfort.

  • Travel
  • Language Immerson
  • Growth
  • Some homesickness
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

My summer abroad in Costa Rica

This experience was very new for me, it was the first time I had been away from home for so long (3 weeks) and the first time I'd stayed in another country for that long. This experience was advertised as a study abroad program, but it felt nothing like school. It was full of learning through doing, and adventure. I gained new friends I kept in touch with months after and so many crazy memories, not only that, but I left with new knowledge about how to be more eco-friendly and encourage others to as well. Definitely all worth it.

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Climate Change Mitigation, Costa Rica & Peace

​From the staff to the selection of students, to the activities, to the endless knowledge and general hospitality, CIEE has crafted an almost flawless study abroad experience for high school students in Monteverde, Costa Rica. CIEE has formulated an educationally effective, but fun program for students to not only learn things they never knew were possible about the world but themselves. I came into this program wanting to better understand how I could make a difference in the world rather than just posting or reading about the environment on social media. I wanted to get uncomfortable and learn things way past the knowledge I held. The climate change mitigation program did all of this for me and more. I now see my role in the world and how to take action efficiently. The staff in this program taught me how to be innovative, active, and overall a better problem-solver. Every single staff member was amazing. Costa Rican values have truly made an impact on me. The group of students I lived with taught me so much in one day alone. The exchange of information and personal experiences opened my eyes to so many different perspectives. I'd classify myself as an introvert, but it was easy to talk and be free with this group. A level of comfort fell into place almost right when I met everyone. Just hanging around campus, in nature, we bonded over the littlest things. I have made lifelong bonds, gotten support from those older than me, and understand myself way more thanks to this program. I was put all the way outside my comfort zone and will forever be grateful for the opportunity. I can genuinely say that CIEE has contributed heavily to my future college endeavors and life. I already have and will continue to recommend or influence my peers to study abroad with CIEE. Experiences like this are the ones I wish I could have forever.

  • Living in nature, direct access the forest
  • wild excursions with people from all over the country
  • hands-on work
  • Far from town/active population
  • Mostly eating on campus so not getting to try out local restaurants
  • bugs
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

A Paradise Amongst the Clouds

I was so elated to learn about another culture, especially one whose main priority was preserving the beautiful greenery. This program was beyond interactive and I was able to enact real change, in my host country and in my personal habits. Monteverde's natural beauty is unmatched and the educational experience complements that, with daily hikes to learn about different epiphytes to planting trees that act as carbon sinks. The family I have created here in our close-knit group of 16 is something I have never experienced before. Whether I am playing basketball during a free moment or playing a group game in the rec room, I found this group of people from all across the U.S. to be inclusive and loving.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Definitely walking across the swinging bridges, as we were insanely high up in the clouds. The swaying of the bridge mixed with the rainforest beneath my feet had me a little frightened. However, once coming face to face with some Howler Monkeys, I completely forgot about the height I was at and was awestruck by the beauty of my surrounding.
  • Beautiful Nature and Wildlife
  • Education on Improving our Climate
  • Close community
  • Persistant rain
  • Bugs!! Bring deet
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

CIEE Santiago, Mentoring Youth

Learned a lot and made memories. I feel impacted after my time with the kids. It was fun exploring the city, the DR is a place I fell in love with. Besides working with the children, my favorite part of this trip was the beach trips. We got to spend quality time with everyone else on the trip and enjoy the nice beaches of the DR. Going to museums and learning about the history of the DR was also very interesting. The food that I ate and the host family that I stayed with was one of the best parts of this trip. Would recommend.


Displaying 1 - 9 of 15

Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose CIEE first and foremost because of their scholarship and financial aid help. As a low income Hispanic student traveling and studying abroad was a far fetched idea but CIEE’s tremendous generosity and help allowed me to experience Tokyo, Japan during my junior year of High School. Second after having read the program’s itinerary and comparing it with other programs I realized I felt that CIEE had exactly, if not more than what I was looking for and with CIEE I went to four different cities in Japan and learned a lot of the local culture, customs, food and language.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

CIEE offered meet up points and airports, set us up with a language test before we left to check our level of understanding of the Japanese language and they had a lot of webinars and were on call the entire time. My mom was very paranoid about letting me go off with strangers to such a faraway country but CIEE was kind enough to keep her updated and called her frequently until they confirmed I was safely in their hands at the Narita airport. They provided us dorms, showers, buses, food, and great tour guides. As a full scholarship recipient there wasn’t much I had to organize on my own as everything was provided for.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Please study the language beforehand, it’s a courtesy to the native people of the country as well as a courtesy to yourself because if you find yourself not knowing how to speak or communicate at least at the basic level it’s going to be difficult to navigate yourself sometimes.

Also one month goes by very quickly savor it as best as you can, I came in the program very shy and came out very confident but I feel like my shyness prevented me from fully getting to know more people and more of the city, let yourself be free mentally and you will enjoy the experience much more. I always tell my friends to not be shy with your fellow peers as you will be each other’s family for the time you are there and to trust yourself and your instincts, it’s all strange and overwhelming at first but you will adapt.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Busy but fun! Depending on the day but usually we have classes in the morning Mondays to Fridays and then after class you could either have free time and explore the city on your own or you will be put in groups and do prescheduled activities such as calligraphy, meditation, exploring parts of the cities. We also took a week off of Tokyo to visit Kyoto and Hiroshima, we did not have classes that week but we did get to explore many parts of the two cities both with the entire group and on our own. We also had three days visiting our designated host families.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I was certainly nervous but my biggest fear would have to be if I was going to be well received by others in the program and if I was going to manage to get out of my shell. I realized I didn’t have anything to worry about because by the third day I was already having a blast with everyone. I realized people aren’t so difficult to get along with and that I should let go of the fear of being reserved and how others perceived me because when I did let go it became much easier to be myself and get along with others!

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Michele Schreiner

Job Title
Program Observer
Michele Schreiner is a District World Languages Supervisor in a public school district in southern New Jersey.

What is your favorite travel memory?

Taking the group excursion to Greifswald, Germany as a wonderful opportunity for me. I was able to observe how the German Language program students and the Global Entrepreneurship students came together for one weekend.

We all traveled together by train to Greifswald, a quaint little picturesque town in the North on the Baltic Sea. We stayed at the Youth Hostel in town, which had a large open area for soccer and volleyball. It was great fun to watch the students get to know one another.

The architecture in Greifswald was beautiful and the students enjoyed the contrast between the big city life in Berlin and this adorable university town.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

As a language lover, I needed an opportunity to become a language learner again. Going to Berlin provided the perfect opportunity for me to focus my language learning skills on learning German. While in Berlin, I sought out as many opportunities as I could to utilize German with the local people. I am grateful for having had this opportunity.

Additionally, I personally needed a good refresher on my metro-taking skills. Being in Berlin was the perfect remedy for this, as the city is enormous and one often must change trains 2-3 times in order to get to a destination.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I would love to go to see the program in Valparaiso. As diverse as my school district is, there is little opportunity to meet people from Chile. I would love to see how different the Spanish language is in Chile and to see how their culture is.

The security in Berlin at the study center was quite impressive. I appreciated how hard the Program Leaders were working to keep all of their students safe. I think this type of experience is unique to CIEE.

The company hires American high school teachers who are accustomed to working with American teenagers.

The 4 Program leaders I had an opportunity to get to know worked very hard at putting together meaningful "Into the Community" programs for their students. They also impressed me with how quickly and how well they had already gotten to know the students in their charge.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Personalization. I observed how well the Program Leaders worked with the German teachers in Berlin and how well they worked with the local CIEE employees in Berlin. All of these people working well together is what makes for a wonderful experience for the students, without their even realizing how many people are working behind the scenes to make it all happen.