Parlez-vous High School?
August 25, 2022 6:33 AM   Subscribe

My US-based child would like to spend the equivalent of 9th grade and/or 10th grade taking high school in Europe. Does anyone have direct experience actually DOING this, either as a family adventure or through a structured study-abroad program? Tell me your ways!

All UK/Northern European/Western European temporary-expat high school experiences would be welcome. We would be looking for a day school or residential (eep) - not online school.

My only experience with study "abroad" is with older students, so I'm particularly interested in the attending high school/schooling aspect, not so much in the "living/working in another country for a while" aspect. What should we be looking for? What should we be wary of? Any specific programs you would recommend?
posted by nkknkk to Education (8 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
I went by myself for a year (July-July) through Youth For Understanding. It was a good program with a reasonable but not overbearing amount of structure, and the families I lived with had been thoroughly screened and were matched to the students by personality/interests as much as possible. There was someone to help us through the airports and on to whatever regional transportation was needed, and we had easy access to a local coordinator throughout the year. I'd absolutely consider hosting a student through that program myself and/or allowing my child to participate when they're older. I'd be happy to answer any specific questions about my experience: it was in 2003 but when I more recently looked into volunteering with them (except then pandemic), things seemed much the same overall.
posted by teremala at 7:04 AM on August 25, 2022 [1 favorite]


20-some years ago I spent a year in Austria through Rotary Youth Exchange. I also applied to the Congress Bundestag scholarship program to do a year in Germany, but my parents liked the structured support of the Rotary Club program, so I did that. I have a couple friends who did the Congress Bundestag program, and they had a great experience, felt really integrated with their host family and school, etc. I met a lot more kids from around the world via Rotary than they did - all the international Rotary students gathered for various trips/events during our year, which was awesome. So I feel like my experience was a bit more “global,” if that makes sense. Rotary doesn’t necessarily guarantee you an exact choice of country, but they take preference into account (I wanted German-speaking, and they made it happen).

Anyway, it was great, your kid should totally do it. 9th grade is probably too early for those programs, so they should consider waiting until 10th or 11th. I did a gap year myself because my parents wouldn’t let me go earlier.

I also did a summer abroad through the Finland-US Senate Youth Exchange program, which was a great into to studying abroad. It looks more expensive now than when I did it, but there might be other program options now (I also applied for a similar program to Japan). Tell your motivated kid to hunt around for scholarship programs and see what happens!
posted by Maarika at 7:55 AM on August 25, 2022 [2 favorites]


Rotary runs exchange programs. Check with your local Rotary Club for how to apply. It's very well run, with families and counselors ready to assist the child while in a foreign country.
posted by Enid Lareg at 8:44 AM on August 25, 2022 [1 favorite]


My kid did AFS in Hungary—changed his life! AFS programs.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:08 AM on August 25, 2022 [2 favorites]


20 years ago i spent a year in the US, through an organisation that's still active today. A year later, my parents welcomed an american high school student for a year through that same organisation. She returned home pretty much fluent in French, and my brother also improved his english a lot while she was there. This would only be relevant for France.
While i was an exchange student in the US, most of the other exchange students came through the Rotary club, especially the non-western students.
posted by PardonMyFrench at 9:10 AM on August 25, 2022 [1 favorite]


I did the same thing that PardonMyFrench did. And it was utterly life changing. I did it again through my university a couple years later (through a specific univerisyt exchange program). I lived with host families both times, and that is just unbelievably good at teaching you language and culture. I'm still in touch with both families, 20+ years later, have visited them a few times over the years.

My partner did rotary exchanges (much shorter than an academic year) and hated it. He felt like it treated kids like labor under the guise of teaching them business acumen or something. This was in the 1980s, though, so it may not be relevant now.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 9:34 AM on August 25, 2022 [1 favorite]


Seconding Ideefixe's recommendation of AFS. A couple of decades ago (how did I get so old?!) I spent a school year in Brazil and I volunteered with them for a few years afterwards. It was an amazing way to pick up Portuguese very quickly (high school classes conveniently cover many different topics, which really speeds up your vocab).

Generally, my advice would be to steer clear of for-profit student exchange programmes for any stays longer than 3-4 weeks. Volunteer host families make all the difference.
posted by wavelette at 9:43 AM on August 25, 2022 [3 favorites]


Not 9th or 11 th grade, but rather grade 11 and 12

There is a program called United World Colleges.
Canada's deputy P.M. Chrystia Freeland is a graduate of UWC Adriatic ,then Harvard and then a Rhodes Scholar.
They have a number of schools including one in Wales
Tuition normally runs 25k -40k per year.
Most students like Freeland get a 100 per cent scholarship.
first 25k scholarship per year is regardless of family income. Any balance is needs based.

But wait there's more;

if a graduate of UWC gets accepted at any one of a 100 U.S. schools includes Harvard Yale Stanford MIT etc They will get a 100 per cent free ride for 4 years of undergrad.

Full list of schools is here.

USA application info here
posted by yyz at 9:46 AM on August 25, 2022 [6 favorites]


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