Overview

Willkommen in Deutschland! !

Studying abroad with Greenheart Travel’s 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 1 or 2-months, trimester, semester or academic year length programs
  • Straightforward online application process
  • Start dates available in spring or fall

What do our alumni say about their experience studying in Germany?

“Without this wonderful experience, I would be nowhere near the place I am today. Germany is an amazing country with an abundance of opportunities for anyone looking to go on exchange. Whether you are into dancing, eating, exercising, socializing, etc. there are opportunities for you. From household to household, warm arms will welcome you and generously invite you into their everyday lives. It is an amazing place to love and I would be super supportive of anyone looking to go abroad to Germany!” — Rachel Anderson, high school abroad German alumna. Read blogs Rachel wrote about her experience.

Program Dates

Dates subject to change 

1 or 2-Month Program:
Dates: August and September
Application Deadline: June 1st for a Fall program and October 1st for a Spring program

Fall Trimester:
Dates: August – November
Application Deadline: April 15

Fall Semester:
Dates: August – January
Application Deadline: April 15

Spring Trimester:
Dates: January – April
Application Deadline: Oct. 15
$300 Early Application Discount: Apply by June 24

Spring Semester:
Dates: January – June
Application Deadline: Oct. 15
$500 Early Application Discount: Apply by June 24

Academic Year:

Dates: August – June
Application Deadline: April 15

Summer Option: 
Can’t commit to going during the school year? Check out our 2-4 week summer option in Germany here.

Academic Info

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, PA, 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!

Before You Go Abroad

You should meet with your US high school before you leave and share the general curriculum guidelines of your host country with your guidance counselor and/or teachers. Please consult with them about the credits they will potentially grant you for the classes you take while abroad.

Because the curriculum will vary by country, it is important that you arrange required classes required for your graduation, such as U.S. History, before or after your time abroad. There are no guarantees that you can take certain classes at your host school. Greenheart Travel will be able to provide information about the general curriculum for your age level in your host country; however, in most cases you will not be able to sign up for specific courses until AFTER you have arrived in your host country.

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.

Throughout the year, we offer students small excursions of your choice. Additional fees apply with these excursions, but they are wonderful opportunities to explore more of Germany and meet fellow exchange students! If you are in Germany in the autumn you can opt into the Berlin trip. If you find yourself in Germany in the Spring, join the Munich trip!

Eligibility

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
  • 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)

Interested in gaining German fluency before you go? Check out our Teen Summer Language Camp in Berlin!

*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 the most 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 (High School Abroad/Teen summer Language Camp) candidates. Learn more in our FAQs section.

 

Costs

  • 1 Month Program: $6,640
  • 2 month Program: $6,930
  • Academic Trimester: $7,490
  • Academic Semester: $10,190
  • Academic Year (Fall 2016): $12,150

Prices subject to change

  • Roundtrip international airfare from designated gateway airport to Germany
  • Host family accommodations and 3 meals per day
  • Medical/Accident insurance
  • Support and counseling services from in-country staff
  • 24-hour emergency support
  • Pre-departure cultural orientation
    • Cultural Pre-departure Orientation (via Skype)
    • General Pre-departure Orientation (in-person or via Skype)
  • 3 Day Arrival Orientation* (only available to Fall participants)
    • 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)
  • Arrival Orientation with German Local Coordinator
  • Personal assistance from a Greenheart Travel program manager
  • Letter of Recommendation upon request and successful completion of the program

Accommodation

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 are volunteers and 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 like a local.

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:

  • Successfully pass a criminal background check
  • Undergo and pass an in-person interview with program staff
  • Agree to and pass a home inspection

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!

What do alumni say about their host families?

My host family was amazing and I loved the small town I was in because I wasn’t that far away from the city but the town was still small enough to make it feel like home. I really bonded with my family and now I consider my host sister just my little sister. Greenheart Travel did a good job at answering all of my questions and I’m so thankful I was able to do this. I also got to go on a couple of trips with other exchange students which ended up being two of my favorite trips. I’m really glad they offered those trips to us because I loved being around thirty other people as social and fun-loving as I.” — Morgan Tucker, high school abroad Germany alumna. Read more about Morgan’s experience on her blogs.

Can I choose where I will be placed with my host family?
No. You can choose your destination country, but you must be flexible about where you are placed within that country. We make it a priority to place students with host families that closely match your interests and personality. For this reason we work first to find a suitable family rather than a destination preference. We can never guarantee placements in any specific city or region, and we match based on compatibility with the host family. 

I know a family in my program country that would like to host me. Is that 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.

Will I be placed in a city?

No. It is very unlikely you will be placed in a 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.

Will I have a host sibling my age?

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!

What if I don’t like my host family? Can I request a new one?

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.

 

For Parents

The decision to send your teenager abroad can be difficult and there are a lot of questions to consider. We understand your concerns and the Greenheart Travel staff is there for you every step of the way! For us, it is important that parents be involved in the decision from day one.

We want to make the process of studying abroad as fun and painless as possible for you and your child, while also ensuring that it is a successful and life-changing adventure! You can learn more about our values and the services we provide to you and your child here.

Below are some of the common questions we get from parents as they consider our study abroad program:

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 cannot accept students who have struggled with any kind of mental illness within the last 2 years and/or are reliant on medication to address their existing mental health condition.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Depression
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Debilitating anxiety
  • Eating disorders

If the student’s mental health issue has been resolved (post-medication) for over 2 years, we will ask for a note from his/her relevant practitioner (psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist, etc) as part of the application process.

 

What kind of assistance will my child receive while abroad?

There is a strong network of people working together to ensure your child’s time abroad is successful. This includes the Greenheart Travel program manager in the U.S., the natural parents, the local coordinator abroad in country, the host school, and the host family. Immediate assistance will be provided by the local coordinator and/or host family according to a robust chain of communication, explained prior to departure.

 

Do you offer any scholarships, financial aid, or special discounts?

Yes. Every year we offer various scholarships for select high school program destinations. There are two Early Bird Deadline discounts offered each year as well. See our Discounts and Deadlines section for more information. If you have hosted a student for CCI Greenheart, you are also eligible for a Greenheart Host Family discount.

 

My child’s school requires service learning in order to graduate. How will they do that abroad?

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, your child will receive guidance in strategizing creative ways to give back to their community, have access to tools for tracking their impact and receive incentives for their efforts as a global leader. This is a great chance for your child to get to know the local community outside of the classroom while they study abroad.

 

Can friends study abroad together?

Our programs are based on a full, cultural immersion experience so friends are not allowed to study abroad together in the same host town. Don’t worry though; making friends in the new host country will happen quickly!

 

Can my child come home to visit or can we visit them while abroad?

No. Visits are not allowed during the high school program. If your family wishes to visit, you should plan to meet your child after your program is completed. In this instance, Greenheart Travel’s National office and international partner office should be informed of your family’s plans.

 

Does my child need to be fluent in another language?

No. One of the main goals of studying abroad is to become fluent in another language while living overseas. The host family and school will not expect your child to be fluent when they first arrive and will help them improve their language skills. As long as your child tries their best, they’ll pick up the language sooner than you might think!

 

Can my child take the SATs while abroad?

You child will not be able to take the SAT’s while abroad.  We highly recommend taking the SAT’s prior to or after the program.

 

My child has already graduated, are they still eligible?

On a case by case basis, we can accept graduated students for Argentina, Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

 

Can we speak to current high school students or alumni?

Yes! Check out our blog or your child can join our exclusive teen  programs Facebook group to talk to current and past students.