There are many ways that high-school students can learn more about the world by studying overseas before they begin college. Most students find studying abroad to be a wonderful opportunity to experience a different culture, learn a new language, and see the world.

If you are a student or the parent of one, consider these ways to study abroad.


4-H offers both summer and year-long international study opportunities. In the course of 40 years of providing these opportunities, they’ve accumulated over 60,000 success stories. Students as young as 12 can spend their summers staying with a family in Japan.

Often, each state has its own country where they send their students. For example, 4-H members in Texas can choose to study in Japan or Norway, while students from Japan and Costa Rica can choose to study in Texas.

Gap-Year Programs

Many programs offer students the chance to take a year off between high school and college to live abroad. Remember that AP testing can apply to schools both in-state and out of the country, so many students find that they can transfer college credit back to the United States.

AP testing can have a lot of benefits for traveling students. According to International Connections Academy, “High scores on these tests may enable students to earn early college credit. Many four-year colleges in the United States and abroad will give students credit, advanced course placement, or both, depending on the individual college’s policies.”

There are many programs, so you’ll need to do some research to find the ones that fit your personal needs the best.

High-School Foreign-Exchange Programs

Being a foreign-exchange student is a great way to live in a foreign country while you are still in high school. Students can stay with a host family while learning about the country where they chose to study. Some students go for a complete year, while others study abroad for a semester or six weeks.

Volunteer Abroad

There are also many opportunities for students to volunteer abroad. Students can choose to work in an African wildlife nursery, help teach underprivileged children in Cambodia, or assist in an orphanage in the Dominican Republic. Some programs have a place for students to live together while working on the project, allowing them to build lasting friendships.

Peace Corps

Over 23,000 people have completed a nine-month program with the federally funded Peace Corps. These students work at the grassroots level, helping to build and strengthen communities. While most programs require college graduation first, others take any student who has been accepted into college even if they have never attended a class.

Practical Considerations for Studying Abroad

Once you’ve finalized your study abroad plans, there are a few things to take care of at home. You’ll typically want to prepare for the trip by getting a physical and all the necessary travel documents. It can also be helpful to do in-depth research on the area you’ll be visiting. Look for local connections in the area and speak to other students who have studied abroad. Also, be sure to make plans for the things you’re leaving behind. If you have a car, then you will likely need to make arrangements for it. You always have the option to keep your car in storage until you return.

There are many different ways that high-school students and recent graduates can study abroad. Students strengthen their college applications, get to know more about the world around them, and help others. Get started researching the possibilities today.