Study abroad in Ireland and immerse yourself in the Irish culture while making international friends.
Welcome to Ireland!
Studying abroad with Greenheart Travel’s high school program in Ireland will give you a chance to live and study in one of the world’s friendliest countries. As an exchange student in Ireland, you will experience what it’s like to attend high school in the Emerald Isle and live like a local, allowing you to gain a new perspective during your academic adventure overseas.
Program at a Glance:
Application Deadline: March 15, 2024
Application Deadline: September 15, 2024
Apply early and save! Apply by June 15, 2024 and save $300 off a trimester or semester program and $500 off an academic year program.
You’ll know your exact arrival and departure dates after being placed in a host family and in a school! Program dates vary depending on region and school placement.
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 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.
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 hometown 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.
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:
*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.
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. Here’s a blog post to read more about how some alumni have transferred credits.
In Ireland, we cannot guarantee your host school will provide you an official transcript, but it is common that many Irish schools provide unofficial progress reports. In the case school will not provide official transcripts, 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.
You should meet with your U.S./Canadian high school before you leave and share the general curriculum guidelines for Ireland with your guidance counselor and/or teachers.
Because the curriculum will vary by school and we cannot guarantee 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.
Greenheart Travel will be able to provide information about the general curriculum for your age level in Ireland, but you will not know your course schedule until after you arrive in country and start attending school.
Access your High School Curriculum Guidelines for Ireland here!
Please keep in mind that the grading system in other countries is different than the US. 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. Please make sure your U.S./Canadian school understands this prior to your departure.
“When I was in the process of applying for college I wrote my main essay about what life lessons I learned in Ireland. When I actually moved into my dorm at Gustavus Adolphus College I was ready for all the emotions I would face. I had learned to cope with homesickness and how to adapt to living with complete strangers. I remembered how my shyness in Ireland had hampered my friend-making efforts in the first month so I jumped right in at college, introducing myself and finding common ground with everyone around me. I was prepared to live independently from my parents because I had earlier experience with it and had learned how to build a new support system in a strange place while still relying on my family and friends from back home.” – Emily Syverud
As a High School in Ireland student, we will support you and welcome you to the program in a variety of orientation activities.
Start your study abroad experience in Dublin! You will experience the best that this city has to offer alongside an international cohort of fellow exchange students while participating in workshops to help start your exchange student journey. During the orientation camp, program staff will share insights and experiences to help students navigate life as an exchange student and get the very best out of their cultural exchange experience.
Dates: Late August
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. 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:
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! 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.
We are more than happy to assist students in their endeavours to gain access to the activities they enjoy while in Ireland, but we cannot guarantee the availability of any particular activity in a given school. This is because the range of activities available in schools varies greatly and changes on an annual basis.
In many schools, extra-curricular sport is intensively focused on a particular sport like rugby & GAA rather than on a broad PE approach. PE class, which is compulsory at school, involves a range of team sports & general exercise.
The standard and most commonly available sports in the majority of schools are as follows:
Other sports such as handball, gymnastics, martial arts, swimming & dance may be offered in a small number of schools or as part of the Transition year programme for a 6-10 week period.
With other sports such as Horse-riding, although schools may have an ‘equestrian team’, they do not offer riding or riding facilities. Attending students who are involved outside school, represent the school in schools competitions. Therefore, unfortunately, we cannot guarantee the availability of this activity. The less common sports are best pursued in local sports centres or clubs.
Boarding schools and host families are generally very helpful in facilitating students in their extra-curricular interests.
The cost of travel to and from the school regularly to pursue extra-curricular activities lessons, or sports training is not included in the program fee.
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 Ireland. 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.
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.
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 more than 90 days will be required to obtain a student visa to Ireland. It is the students’ responsibility to obtain this visa, but Greenheart will provide you guidance and the proper documentation you’ll need to apply.
Airfare to/from Ireland is NOT included in the cost of the program.
Yes! Our in-country partner staff or your host family will be eagerly waiting for you when you arrive! They’ll then take you to your new host town.
You are not permitted to travel on your own during the program. There may be opportunities to travel through the program and/or through your school, but you must be accompanied by an approved chaperone to travel. Some schools will offer optional field trips.
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!
You will be required to have a local Irish phone number. Please make sure that your U.S. phone is “unlocked” as to accept a SIM card from Ireland! We give you tips and advice for communication while abroad during your program.
All host families (and most every person) in Ireland have internet in their homes. There is also 4G internet widely available throughout the country.
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 Ireland 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 National office and international partner office should be informed of your family’s plans.
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.
We cannot take already graduated student’s on our High School Study Abroad in Ireland program.
On a case by case basis, we can accept already graduated students for High School programs in Argentina, Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, and England.
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.
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 application fee, 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 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 to Ireland!
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 is a 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 Ireland through some student’s photos. Make sure to also check out #greenhearttravel on Instagram for more!