Willkommen in Deutschland!
The study abroad high school program in Germany will give you a chance to live and study in a place where gemütlichkeit, or good-naturedness, is a way of life! Immerse yourself in a culture where hiking, cycling, palaces, parks, and gardens are abundant. As an exchange student in Germany, you will experience what it’s like to attend high school with your German peers and receive the wealth of cultural immersion, allowing you to gain a new perspective during your academic adventure abroad!
Program at a Glance:
- Host family accommodation provides full language and culture immersion
- Must have previous German experience
- You can choose between trimester, semester or academic year length programs
- A straightforward online application process
- Start dates available in spring or fall
*Video courtesy of Destination Germany
Application Deadline: March 15th
- Semester school dates: September – January
- Academic Year: September – June
In Germany, there are different start dates depending on the region. You will know your exact arrival and departure dates after you’ve been placed in a host family and school!
Arrival and Departure
All students are required to book flights on their own. An airport transfer upon arrival is included in the cost of the program. You will be provided with your exact arrival and departure dates after you’re placed in a host family and school, as well as the exact timeframes you should arrive/depart, so that you can start to search for possible flights. We require prior approval of a proposed itinerary before you purchase any flights.
Packaged into the Price:
- Airport pickup upon arrival
- Host family accommodation and 3 meals per day
- Comprehensive medical/accident insurance
- 3 Day Arrival Orientation* (only available to Fall participants, dependent on COVID-19 restrictions)
- Greeting and Transfer from Airport to Orientation Site
- Accommodation at Orientation Site
- Traditional German Meals
- Orientation workshops (covering school life, host family life, German culture, etc.)
- Cultural Tours of Bonn and Cologne (museums, palaces, plazas, cathedrals, etc.)
- Certificate of Completion upon successful completion of the program for use on college applications.
- $1,500 Application Fee due by the program deadline to formally apply
- $5,000 Commitment Payment due 14 days after acceptance
- Remaining balance is due 16 weeks prior to your start date. If your program starts within 16 weeks of acceptance, the remaining program balance payment will be due at the same time as the commitment payment.
So, what about credits?
The host school abroad will not provide high school credit. All credit must be granted through your home school in the U.S. or Canada. All U.S./Canadian schools have different policies.
In Germany, it is not guaranteed that your host school will provide you an official transcript. If your school will not, some host schools will provide documentation, letters, and any other materials you require upon request. You must have good behavior, attendance, and performance in order for the school to fulfill this request.
Then, you should take this documentation back to your home school as proof of your participation in the program. Your home school is responsible for awarding you credit for this program or not.
Before You Go Abroad
You should meet with your U.S./Canadian high school before you leave and share the general curriculum guidelines for Germany with your guidance counselor and/or teachers.
Because the curriculum will vary by school and it is not guaranteed you’ll take any specific classes, it is important that you arrange the required classes required for your graduation, such as U.S. History, before or after your time abroad.
You will be provided information about the general curriculum for your age level in Germany, but you will not know your course schedule until after you arrive in country and start attending school.
Once You’re Abroad
Please keep in mind that the grading system in other countries is different than the US. Most host schools will not grant grades or transcripts as it is too difficult to evaluate your work due to the language barrier. If your host school is able to award you grades, they won’t be an exact match to what you would get in the US.
What to know about attending a German high school:
- Most exchange students’ study in public schools.
- The German high school consists of Grades 10-12 and is divided into two semesters, the first beginning in August and the second ending in June.
- You will go to school from Monday to Friday, from 7:50 in the morning until around 1 o’clock. Sometimes it is longer depending on the day and the subjects chosen.
- Each session is normally about 45 minutes.
- Math, German, English, a second language (French or Spanish), Biology, Chemistry, Physics, History, Geography, and/or Social Sciences are typically taught in 10th & 11th grades.
- Three different tracks (Languages/Literature/Arts; Social Sciences; Mathematics/Sciences) are taught in 12 grade and your host school will determine your track.
Getting involved in extra-curricular activities is a great way to gain deeper insight into German culture. Every town offers a variety of clubs and activities. So do a little investigative work when you arrive to determine the best option for you!
Support and Services:
- Visa Assistance in applying for the visa ahead of arrival, including visa paperwork and extensive directions and support.
- Extensive pre-departure advice and support from your US-based program coordinators! They will be with you from your first inquiry, all the way through preparing to leave and your arrival in Germany.
- Support from in-country staff upon arrival to Germany.
- Online pre-departure cultural and logistical orientation before you leave
- 24-hour in-country and emergency support for the duration of the program, including 24-hour emergency phone numbers to reach a program manager at any time.
Additional Expenses to Budget for:
- Airfare to/from Germany
- Public transportation if required. In places where public transport is good, students will mostly be expected to use it or ride a bike. The average cost of a bus pass is 60-90 €/month.
- Extracurricular activities/sports/clubs
- Personal spending money for cell phones, clothes, toiletries, etc.
- German courses for beginners (200 euros/month)
- Textbooks are usually provided by the school, in some cases might have to be purchased.
In researching a study abroad program, you have already shown you are a leader and open-minded in your academic pursuits. These are just a few of the traits that our exchange students possess. You’re motivated to immerse yourself in another culture and flexible enough to live outside your comfort zone. You should also:
- Be between 15 and 18 years of age (at the time of travel)
- Be from the United States or Canada
- Possess a high school cumulative GPA of at least 2.75/4.0
- Be in great mental* and physical health
- Have a genuine interest in becoming a part of your host family and community
- Have at least 2 years of German language instruction or Be willing to attend a German language course during the first half of the program (not included in program fee)
- Fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before departure
*What does it mean to be in good mental health?
Moving to a new culture and staying in unfamiliar surroundings without your normal support structure can be very stressful, even to a well-adjusted student. Sending a student with pre-existing conditions on a long-term exchange program could exacerbate whatever challenges the student was previously facing. In order to ensure the safety of our participants, we must be rigorous in our pre-screening of all high school abroad applicants.
Therefore, we may not be able to accept students who have struggled with any kind of mental illness, specifically within the last 2 years and/or are reliant on medication to address their existing mental health condition. Each student will be addressed on a case-by-case basis and ultimately it is the in-country partner who holds the right to accept or decline a student based on their individual policy.
These include, but are not limited to:
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Eating disorders
- Chronic debilitating migraines
- Bipolar Disorder
All students who currently experience one or more of these conditions will be required to submit an addendum to the terms and conditions as well as a letter of support from their current mental health specialist. If the student’s mental health issue has been managed (post-medication) for over 2 years, we will still require a note from his/her relevant practitioner (psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist, etc) as part of the application process. We encourage you to discuss your specific situation with us directly, before securing these documents.
Please note that students who have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD will not be guaranteed any academic accommodations plans by the host school abroad.