As an exchange student in England you’ll have the chance to immerse yourself in the British culture on a trimester or semester program abroad.
Studying abroad in England is an adventure that will take you out of the everyday classroom experience and into a global learning environment. Explore the historical and beautiful landscapes of Great Britain, make lifelong international friends, and have unforgettable experiences. With only around 1% of high school students studying abroad each year, this is your chance to embark on a unique academic travel adventure that will set you apart from most high school students in your class. How’s that for standing out on college applications?!
Program at a Glance:
Application Deadline: September 15, 2023
Apply early and save! Apply by June 16, 2023 and save $300 off a trimester or semester program and $500 off an academic year program.
The exact dates for England depend on the school in which students are placed. Most schools (or “colleges” as they’re referred to!) begin the first week of September in the fall and the first week of January in the spring. You’ll know your exact arrival and departure dates after being placed in a host family and in a school!
Please note: We offer a UK “Term” as the shortest length for exchange students instead of a trimester. The “Term” is generally around three months and a couple of weeks (over 90 days).
Thinking about Fall 2024? Good idea to plan ahead! Check back in November 2023 for Fall dates. You can still start your application now, though, if you’re interested!
All students are required to book flights on their own. An airport transfer upon arrival is included in the cost of the program. We will provide your exact arrival and departure dates after acceptance, 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.
Nervous about flying on your own? We recommend students and parents sitting down together to review the following resources:
For many Greenheart Travel students their first time flying is across the world to start their exchange program! You can read our alumni experiences on our blog, such as Emily’s or Madison’s blogs on their experiences flying to Japan or Rachel’s tips on what you actually need to know about flying.
Worried about the program fee?
Our goal is to help make travel accessible to everyone and we are here to help when you are deciding if this experience is financially do-able. Each year we offer scholarships for high school study abroad students! We also have a guide to fundraising your program fee, and many high school students fundraise in their hometowns ahead of their program.
We also offer discounts for applying early (plus there are many other benefits to applying early!) for each start date and for US families that have hosted an exchange student with Greenheart Exchange.
So, what about credits?
Neither Greenheart Travel nor the host school abroad provides 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. It is strongly recommended prior to departure each student confirms with the home school whether courses will be transferable or accepted. To read how previous alum have transferred credits, click here.
In England, we cannot guarantee your host school will provide you an official transcript, but students are provided performance reports. It is the student’s responsibility to request and receive any additional documentation or letters from the host school verifying completion of course work. Students must have good attendance, standing, and behavior in their host school for such requests to be fulfilled.
It is then the student’s responsibility to provide their home school with such documentation as proof of completion. The student’s home school will determine whether credit shall be awarded or not.
You should meet with your US high school before you leave and share the general curriculum guidelines for the UK with your guidance counselor and/or teachers.
Each host school has varying curricula and students are not guaranteed specific classes, but Greenheart can pass along students’ course requests to host schools (you’ll let us know during the interview!). Still, students are encouraged to arrange specific classes within their home school schedules required for graduation, such as U.S. History, pre- or post time abroad.
Greenheart Travel will be able to provide information about the general curriculum for your age level in England, and once you are placed in a school you will be assigned courses (ideally the ones you’ve requested!).
Access your High School Curriculum Guidelines for England here!
Please keep in mind that the grading system in other countries is different from the US. Many host schools will not put grades on documentation, and rather provide a pass/fail grade or written assessment of students’ performance. If your host school is able to evaluate using a grading scale, these grades may not be an exact match to grades provided at students’ home schools.
In researching a study abroad program in England, you have already shown you are open-minded in your academic pursuits, motivated to immerse yourself in another culture and flexible enough to live outside your comfort zone.
You should also:
*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 Greenheart Travel’s 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:
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.
There’s no place like London! London truly is one of the world’s most iconic capitals. You will experience the best that this city has to offer along with our leaders and other students from around the world. As we tour London we will share insights and experiences to help you get the very best out of your program.
Want a unique experience before heading to university? A gap year studying at a sixth form college in England is the perfect opportunity to challenge yourself academically, make new international friendships, and have a blast before heading to university!
Here’s a bit about why England is a great destination for gap year students:
Those are just a few examples! As long as you are no older than 18 and 6 months when your program starts, you can participate.
Can’t decide on just England, you say? You can also combine any length of time offered in England with another gap year program. Read more here!
The best way to learn about a new culture and language is to be fully immersed in it which is why all Greenheart Travel high school abroad students live with local host families. All of our host families will treat you as a member of their family. By being a part of your family’s daily life, you will learn to live (and speak British English!) like a local. In England, it is common for students to be placed with another exchange student, usually from a different country. If you apply with a friend, it is possible to place you together.
Prospective host families undergo a rigorous screening process. Participants can rest assured that only suitable host families will be selected. In fact, many of our current host families have hosted students in the past, showing what an impactful experience it was.
In order to qualify as a host family, the prospective hosts must:
Some of the requirements of the home include:
We will connect you with your host family prior to your arrival in your host country. By e-mailing and speaking with them before arriving, it will help break the ice when you finally meet in person. It will also show that you are as excited to live with them as they are to host you!
Host families have many reasons why they want to welcome you! Our host families only receive minimal compensation for housing and feeding students during their program. Many host families love the experience of cultural exchange – they learn just as much about your country as you do theirs. Many are also former exchange students and want to return the favor, or they have children who have gone or will go to study in the U.S. Having an exchange student exposes their children to new languages and cultures.
Students are placed in small to medium-sized towns around England. We do not place students in London.
Common placement areas include Exeter, Brighton, Southend-on-sea, Worthing, Bexhill, Southhampton.
If you wish to request a specific town or area, you can do so for an additional fee. Inquire here to discuss options.
Greenheart Travel welcomes travelers identifying as LGTBQ+, and is committed to helping you find the best program for you. We can provide information on the cultural norms of our destination countries and are prepared to advise you on the best programs based on your needs and interests.
No, you must be flexible about where you are placed within England. We do our best to match you with a host family that will be a great fit, and host families live throughout the country!
I know a family in my program country that would like to host me. Is this possible?
This is possible as long as we have a support network in the family’s host community and there is an available nearby host school.
It is very unlikely you will be placed in a major city. A majority of our families live in small to medium sized towns outside of major cities, and it is important you be open-minded to small town life.
No. We do not change host families based on preferences or location. However, if issues arise once you are on the program, we will handle them on a case-by-case basis and may make changes if necessary.
All students studying for more than 6 months will be required to obtain a student visa to England. It is the students’ responsibility to obtain this visa, but Greenheart will provide you guidance and the proper documentation you’ll need to apply.
Round trip airfare to/from England is NOT included in the cost of the program.
Yes! Our in-country partner staff will arrange for a taxi to pick you up at the airport and transfer your to your Host Family when you arrive!
England and the Netherlands are the only two Greenheart destinations in which students are permitted to travel on their own. Students must present an accurate itinerary and seek approval from their coordinator, school, and host family before traveling.
If you do not wish to travel on your own, there will be opportunities to travel through the program and/or through your school.
There is no guarantee that you will have a host sibling your age. Your host family may have young children, teenage children, or grown children who no longer live at home. Regardless of the age of your host siblings, they’ll be excited to welcome into the family!
Most students have their own rooms. However, houses are smaller in Europe and depending on your host family, you may be expected to share a room with a host sibling of the same gender.
You will NOT be required to have a local English phone number, but it can be helpful. If you do choose to purchase a SIM card to use in England, please make sure that your U.S. phone is “unlocked” as to accept a SIM card from the UK! We give you tips and advice for communication while abroad during your program.
All host families (and most every person) in England have internet in their homes. There is also 4G internet widely available throughout the country. Currently, the most common way to communicate while in-country would be using WhatsApp.
If you have a laptop we recommend bringing it, as it will be helpful for school and for communicating with home.
Greenheart Travel strongly recommends that all program participants be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before arriving to their destination country. If you will not be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the start of your program, please contact a Program Manager to confirm that your destination country will accept non-vaccinated participants.
All participants are required to submit a record of immunizations during the application process.
Comprehensive medical and accident insurance will be included in the cost of your program. This will cover you for most medical expenses you might incur, like prescriptions, ER visits, doctor visits, dental accidents, and hospitalizations.
If you get sick, your host family or local coordinator will help you go to the doctor.
If you have an emergency on program, we have a 24/7 emergency number you can call. Our in-country partner staff and your host family will be there to assist you. Greenheart will be in touch with your parents regarding your emergency.
Our programs are based on a full, cultural immersion experience so friends are not allowed to study abroad together in the same host town. You’re welcome to both go to England at the same time but you would not be placed together. Don’t worry though; making friends in your new host town will happen quickly!
No. Visits are not allowed during the high school program. If your family wishes to visit, they should plan to meet you after your program is completed. In this instance, Greenheart Travel’s office and international partner office should be informed of your family’s plans for pre-approval.
Greenheart Travel is proud to offer the Greenheart Club for all of our students. The Greenheart Club challenges our participants to pursue a deeper level of immersion through volunteerism. As a member of the Greenheart Club, you will receive guidance in strategizing creative ways to give back to your community, have access to tools for tracking your impact and receive incentives for your efforts as a global leader. This is a great chance for you to get to know the local community outside of the classroom while you study abroad.
You will not be able to take the SATs while abroad. We highly recommend taking the SATs prior to or after the program.
We recommend you apply a minimum of 6 months prior to your desired semester.
The sooner you can apply the better, as acceptance, gathering documents, etc. can take a long time. Read more about why applying early is a good idea.
Our final deadlines for fall start dates are March 15, and September 15 for spring departures.
Yes! On a case by case basis, we can accept already graduated students for High School programs in Argentina, Austria, England, Netherlands, and New Zealand.
We also have a list of mentors (teens and parents) that are past participants open to chatting about their experience with potential new participants. Please inquire here if you want to be put in touch with a mentor.
There are two schools within our network in England that offer IB curriculum. However, students would be required to study for 2 years (11th and 12th grade) in order to be enrolled in the IB course.
Greenheart Travel has been working with high schoolers for many years, and there are advantages of applying for this program through us:
We also have some unique offerings to our Greenheart Travel students and alumni!
Greenheart Global Impact Grants (GIGs)
Greenheart GIG Grants are funds awarded to Greenheart Travel participants to use for community development projects in their host or home country. A GIG is the opportunity to create, improve, or maintain an impactful, community-focused project abroad or at home. Grant funds could be applied to supporting women’s cooperatives, schools, community centers, or health clinics, for example. Grant winners will be featured on our website, social media, and blog. You can see our past winners on our blog here.
Greenheart Alumni Program
We created the Greenheart Travel Alumni Program to provide resources and a community to support alumni in their advancement as global leaders, and a way to celebrate and reward our participants for being ambitious, inspiring catalysts of cultural exchange!
Junior Greenheart Global Leaders Conference
Each May Greenheart offers full-ride scholarships to around 10 teen alumni to attend our annual conference in Chicago. You can see more about what Jr. GGLC is and what you could do at the conference here.
Committing to studying abroad can feel daunting, but we are here every step of the way to make the application process as simple as possible! Below are the various steps you’ll need to take to be accepted on a high school abroad program.
1. Start Your Application Here. You will be sent more information as well as the link to our application portal to begin your formal application. Once the initial form is complete, you will be connected to a High School Abroad program manager who will speak with you and a parent to go over the details of the program.
2. Submit Basic Program Information: The first step in our application portal will be basic things like your chosen start date, etc.
3. Submit your Application fee: A $1,500 application fee is required in order to apply for the program. This is subtracted from your total program fee, it’s not additional.
4. Complete Application & Documents: Provide more detailed information about yourself in Part 2 of the application. In this section, you’ll tell us more information like your work history, motivations for joining the program, travel history, and emergency contacts. You will also submit your documents (below) within your portal account.
5. Interview: After submitting your deposit, you will schedule an interview. During this interview we will ask you questions about living with a host family, adjusting to new situations and homesickness, among other things. You will also receive an overview of the next few months and what you can expect. This is done via Zoom, and at least one parent should also be in attendance.
6. You’re Accepted! Once you’ve completed all the steps, Greenheart Travel will thoroughly review your application and will contact you within 2-3 weeks about your acceptance. Then, you’ll get more information about preparation, visas, and placement.
7. Commitment Payment: Once you are accepted to the program, you will need to submit a $5,000 commitment payment within 14 days to confirm your spot on the program. We cannot start the host family matching process until we have this payment. Once you submit your commitment payment you will unlock the acceptance portion of your portal, which includes things like pre-departure videos, travel and arrival information, the Greenheart Travel Atlas, and more.
7. Book your flights, and get ready for your adventure!
In addition to completing an application, you will also be required to submit documents. You can be collecting the documents during the application process, but all documents will be due 14 days after you submit your application fee.
The following documents will be required for all destinations:
For payments, a $1,500 non-refundable fee will be due with your submitted application. This deposit will be deducted from your overall program cost. If we are able to take a last-minute application submitted after the deadline, the deposit will be $2,000.
Once you are accepted onto the program, a $5,000 commitment payment will be due within 14 days of acceptance. The remaining balance is due 16 weeks prior to your start date, or at the same time as your commitment payment, whichever comes first.
You’ve Been Accepted, Now What?
Start getting ready for your adventure! Your program manager will be in regular communication with you to make sure that you are on track in your preparations to go abroad.
Have questions or want to talk to one of the program coordinators? Set up a time to have a phone call below.
Take a glimpse into life in England through some student’s photos. Make sure to also check out #greenhearttravel on Instagram for more!