Language immersion programs for young highschoolers?
November 8, 2016 3:23 AM   Subscribe

Help me send my kid far away for a good portion of the summer...

I'm looking for suggestions and experiences with reputable language immersion programs for young teens. My son (who will turn 15 next July) will be between his first and second year of (US) high school this summer, and will have one year of German under his belt. He's doing well and seems to enjoy it, and is an independent and resourceful kid. His mother and I are looking for opportunities to send him to a German-speaking region of Europe for multiple weeks over the summer to both deepen and broaden his language acquisition, and give this already well-traveled kid some travel time away from mom & dad. His high school is small and has no established exchange programs that would support this.

I know about both PPTI* and Education First. What don't I know about, and what should I know about them?

* I traveled with PPTI nearly 30 years ago, so I have direct (albeit very dated) experience with them.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze to Education (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Check out CIEE. They have high school specific programs.
posted by zizzle at 3:39 AM on November 8, 2016

If he wants to really work on his German, the Goethe Institut is a great German-as-a-foreign-language school. They run programs for kids and teenagers in Germany and Austria. Here's the brochure with more details. I don't have any experience with the teen programs, but I've taken a couple of classes with them in Germany as an adult, and they were all great. The courses are well-organized, and the teachers are top-notch. They're very good at organizing extra curricular stuff for adults, and I imagine they'd do a good job with that for kids as well.
posted by colfax at 3:47 AM on November 8, 2016

Seconding Goethe Institut, although I only have experience with their adult programs.
posted by bluebelle at 11:20 AM on November 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

So... you could send him away for the school year (despite the hokey website, the US side is run by the State Department).

I checked with my best friend, who went on an exchange to Germany in high school. She says that the program was basically organized by a well-off local businessman--the German town had some funding to send the kids on a few side trips to other parts of Germany and the US. So definitely ask his German teacher if they know of anything that happens to exist locally--the odds increase if there's somewhere nearby randomly twinned with a German town.

The Goethe Institut are the obvious people to ask, even about programs they don't run. (I think DAAD is strictly post-high school, but they might have hints for where to look as well.)

In the US, the Concordia Language Villages seem to have a decent reputation.
posted by hoyland at 4:55 PM on November 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I traveled with The Experiment in International Living. I had an amazing experience, though it was 20+ years ago. They have trips to Germany.

I, personally would stay away from Education First- I have hosted foreign students for them, and every student I hosted had a terrible time- paid for things they didn't get, and were generally unhappy. Every single one ended up leaving (I hosted 5+ students)
posted by momochan at 5:07 PM on November 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

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