Tackling Tough Transitions During Grades K-12

Understanding The Three Main Types Of Study Abroad Programs

If you are considering studying abroad as a high school student, it's important to choose the right program. Study abroad options are continually changing and expanding. They vary in location, length, cost, and goals. However, they can be broken down into three main types of programs. 

Language and Culture

Language and culture programs tend to be longer programs that allow a student plenty of time to adjust to a new place and get to know the people around them. These can include more traditional programs such as student exchanges, where a student lives with a host family and attends a foreign school, but they can also include long-term staff-led programs that focus on the cultural heritage of a specific location. The benefit of staff-led programs is that they generally involve more day-trips to various locations, which can give the student a more well-rounded view of the area. 

These programs are great if a student is studying a particular language and wants real-world experience or if a student thinks they may want to work or study abroad when they graduate high school. Most of these programs offer high school credit if the student attends a local high school. However, not all US high schools will accept foreign credits. 


Leadership programs are usually shorter programs, often just a few weeks or a month long. They tend to be staff-led and focus on a small group of students. Many leadership programs involve volunteer projects or service learning that allows students to practice planning, problem solving, and teamwork. These programs also allow longer periods for self-reflection and group discussions about life skills. 

Leadership programs often offer college credit as opposed to high school credit, which can help students jumpstart their college career. 


Programs that focus on discovery can be either short or long. Longer programs tend to involve more travel so the student can experience a wide variety of places and cultures. A good example of a discovery program is a sea program. These programs take place on a large boat, and students travel to different locations throughout a summer, semester, or full year. Since these involve quite a bit of travel, they are always staff-led. Longer discovery programs usually offer high school credit while shorter ones offer a cultural experience but no learning credit. 

Once you know which of these types of programs you are most interested in, it will be easier for you to narrow down your options and find the right study abroad program for you. Look into programs offered through schools and academies like A+ World Academy.