How to do an Exchange program in the US during high school?

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How to do an Exchange program in the US during high school?
Fabio Reis

There are several exchange programs for high school students who want to have an experience in the United States. Here's how to find yours.

High school students are looking for more and more opportunities to have an experience abroad. One common way of doing this is through exchange programs, in several different modalities. And if you're looking for more information on the subject, you've come to the right place!

Here we are going to talk about how these exchange programs work and we will answer your main questions on the subject. Here, you will see:

  1. How does a high school exchange program work?
  2. How much does it cost?
  3. Are there any scholarships for students?
  4. Is it possible to transfer American high school credits in your local school?
  5. Are there any alternatives to the exchange programs?

How does a high school exchange program work?

By definition, this type of exchange program is for students, usually between the ages of 14 and 18, who are attending high school in their countries. There are exchange programs in various countries such as England, Ireland, Canada, Australia, but the most sought after are in the United States.

The programs usually last a semester or a year, but there is also the possibility of studying for less time, as in the special winter and summer programs, during the school vacation (between December and February, or between June and August).

These programs for high school students are usually organized by professional agencies, which have partnerships with foreign schools and, for a set up price, host student in families' homes or in students' residences, and keep up with the students while they are there, being responsible for solving any problem that shows up.

How much does it cost?

Prices can vary widely depending on how long the student will stay in the US, the type of accommodation and even the city where the student will stay. A summer program at DePaul University (Chicago, Illinois) for high school students for 4 weeks costs about US$2,000, including housing, transportation, supplies, and tours, but not plane tickets or even life insurance, which is mandatory. On the other hand, one-year exchanges can easily cost US$40,000.

Here, it is very important to do detailed and careful research on the internet to ensure that you know the major exchange programs and can do a price comparison. It is worth remembering that not everything is limited to the price in these cases, since it is important to also consider the seriousness of these companies, what the people who have traveled with them are saying to make sure that you are in good hands.

Are there any scholarships for students?

There are a number of incentive programs that offer scholarships for students who want to study abroad for some time.

Yale University's Young Global Scholars summer program offers scholarships of up to 100% for high school students around the world who can not afford the normal value, which is above US$6,000. This is even a great opportunity for those who do not want to spend the whole year out of the country and still have a university experience in the United States.

United World Colleges (UWC) offers full and partial scholarships for students between the ages of 15 and 18 who want to study high school at one of the partner schools in different countries around the world - including the United States.

We recommend once again to do an internet search to get to know the scholarship programs for students who want to study in the United States or even in other countries because there are many possibilities. However, all these processes are time-consuming and have very specific deadlines. So it's important to start researching and getting ready early, preferably 6 months or a year before the date you want to travel.

Another tip is to see what your own country can offer you. Many countries have specific scholarships and incentives programs for high school students.

Is it possible to transfer American high school credits to your local school?

The easy answer is "yes, you can transfer credits". However, it may not be so easy, as it all depends directly on the school you attend now and also the school you are going to during the exchange program.

For students staying away for long periods of time, such as in one-year programs, it is essential to know if they can transfer their credits from the US to their local school. Because if you can not transfer them, you will end up having to go back to the school grade you were when you left the country, which may not be a good thing.

Because of the federative system, which gives great liberties to each of its states, in the United States, each state has specific laws, including in ​​education. Thus, school curricula have different rules for each location.

The main tip here is to talk directly to your school the moment you decide to join an exchange program, to know as soon as possible what the guidelines for transferring credits are in cases like this. In big schools, where it is more common for students to take exchange programs, you will probably have fewer problems transferring your credits.

Next, the most important thing is to talk to your local school as soon as you know where you are going to do the program. Talk to the agency that will take care of your exchange program and get the curriculum you will follow at your school in the USA. Knowing the subjects you will study abroad will make it easier for your school to prepare for when you return.

Are there any alternatives to the exchange programs?

As we said before, exchange programs costs can vary from US$ 2,000 (not including plane tickets nor life insurance) for one month, to US$ 40,000 (or even more, depending on the program!) for a year of study.

These amounts, however, may be beyond what you can afford. So, would there be any interesting alternative for students who still want to have an American high school experience but can't afford a traditional exchange program?

A good way out is to look for an American high school program right where you are. There are more and more international schools scattered around the world, offering the experience of studying in English with native teachers, mainly Americans and Canadians. There is even the possibility of doing American high school online, from home.

Although you will not live abroad, these programs give you a differentiated experience during high school, and proper preparation, so that you can try an exchange program in the future, or even apply for college in the United States. Why not?

Now that the questions are answered, you can prepare for your high school exchange program! And if you want to know more about a high school program, visit our site: wayamericanschool.com.