While many of your peers are content to take the road well-traveled, you are looking for something more. Studying abroad in High School with Greenheart Travel is an open door to endless possibilities, and we look forward to helping you take the first steps in this amazing journey.
Top 5 Reasons to Study Abroad with Greenheart Travel:
- Be Remarkable: Stand out from your peers on college and job applications
- Be a Leader: Become a leader at home and abroad through our Global Greenheart Initiative
- Be a Learner: Immerse yourself 100% in another language and culture
- Be Flexible: Choose between a 3-month, semester, or year-long program
- Be Yourself: Learn more about yourself and the world around you
We have been sending students abroad for over 25 years and are the only cultural exchange organization that incorporates social and environmental awareness into our mission. Get excited, because your time abroad will be meaningful to you and your host community for years to come.
Please read the fine print. We promise it won’t take long!
We know you are committed to the cultural exchange experience, but we will need you to sign our Conditions of Participation below in order to be accepted to the program.
BEFORE YOU GO ABROAD
You should meet with your U.S. 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. Ask your Greenheart Travel program manager for the outline of your host country’s curriculum guidelines and school system if you do not already have it.
It is important that you arrange to take the classes required for graduation, such as U.S. History, before or after your time abroad.
Curriculums are different in every country, so please be aware that a class you take abroad will not cover the same information as the same named class you would take in the U.S. For instance, in Spain “Math” includes Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry. Also please be aware that Greenheart Travel cannot guarantee specific classes as they may not be offered at your host school.
WHILE YOU ARE ABROAD
When you arrive in your host country, please record a detailed list of your class schedule. Please include subjects, amount of hours per subject, a brief synopsis of the class, and ask your teachers to sign the form. Keep one copy for your records, send one copy to your Greenheart Travel program manager, and send one copy to your U.S. high school.
Keep all the school work you complete while abroad, so you can hand it in to your teachers upon your return home.
Most host schools will not grant grades or transcripts as it is too difficult to evaluate your work due to the language barrier. However, on the first or second day at your host school, you should ask a school official if it is possible to receive grades or a certificate of attendance for your trimester/semester/year abroad.
Please keep in mind that the grading system in other countries is different than the U.S. If your host school is able to award you grades, they won’t be an exact match to what you would get in the U.S.
It is YOUR responsibility to acquire official documents confirming your academic work BEFORE you leave your host country. Greenheart Travel cannot obtain grades, transcripts, or confirmation of attendance from host schools.
If you have formed a good relationship with a teacher, community leader, local coordinator, etc., ask them for a letter of recommendation. It will be your responsibility to translate it into English and ask them to sign the translated copy. You can include this document with your college applications.
UPON YOUR RETURN HOME
Ultimately, the decision of whether to grant grades/transcripts is entirely in the hands of your U.S. high school. Schedule a meeting with your guidance counselor and teachers when you return home. Share your course material, so they can determine the credit they will grant for the work you completed abroad.
Upon request and successful completion of the academic program, Greenheart Travel will provide a list of your classes and a letter of recommendation on Greenheart Travel letterhead.
This is an opportunity for you to sit back relax and watch some foreign films! Simply watching a film in a different language (ex: French, Italian, Spanish, etc.) with English subtitles will allow you to gain knowledge about your countries culture and language. It is important to get familiar with common words and phrases in the language you are visiting since you will be spending a significant amount of time speaking with your host family and others in that country.
Buy a Travel Guide
Purchasing a small travel guide based on your host country will help you gain more knowledge about that country. Not only will it give you great places to visit, but it will also give you a great sense of the culture and what they do on a day-to-day basis. There are also many books based on different countries that discuss the values and proper etiquette when abroad. It is important to know these things, because entering into a different culture with different values can offset an experience if not known. I suggest going to the nearest Barnes and Noble store or the library to check out a book!
Try the Language
Changing the language setting on your phone and computer is another way to gain better knowledge of your host language. Again, learning common languages and phrases is important to focus on before going abroad to a country that barely speaks English.
Develop language skills before entering into your host country. It’s important to learn the language in order to communicate with people in the country who may be your classmates or new people you have just met. You can learn the language by applying to Rosetta Stone or different books and online opportunities to help you learn the language.
Try New Foods
Every country holds a different cuisine. Therefore, it is important for you to take notice on what the common meals are within that country and what time they are usually held. Sometimes other countries like Spain for example, have dinner later in the evening around nine o’clock at night. It is important for you to take notice of these differences for then you and your body can adapt to the changes more easily.
Beginning to pack will get you enthused to go abroad! Preparing for different weather scenarios while light packing will help you experience your time abroad to the fullest. Remember to pack light.
Ask Former Travelers
Get some insight from others who have gone abroad. If you know someone who has gone abroad to your country or even another country, don’t be afraid to ask questions! Those who have gone abroad want to share their experience with you and answer all the questions you have. If you don’t know anyone who has been abroad yet, ask your Greenheart Travel Program Manager and they will help put you in touch with someone who has gone abroad.
Not all money is the same! Getting to know your exchange rate and its difference to the American dollar will help you in the long run. You will be able to manage your money more carefully when studied the exchange rate. Oanda Currency Converter is a nice tool to get your started.
Your Host Family
If you are going to be living with a host family abroad, talk with your host family! Develop a relationship with your host family before you venture abroad. Getting to know the people you will be living with in advance will allow the process of going abroad to be more comfortable and exciting. They will also be helpful with any questions you have pertaining the trip.
Start brainstorming gifts to give to your host family. It is important to give a small gift from your hometown to the host family either when you arrive or before you leave. It shows them your appreciation for helping you experience a new culture!
Whether you’re spending a couple weeks or a year in another country, your experience is bound to be life-changing and full of adventures.
You will be fully immersed in the culture of your host country, living with a local family, and attending the high school of your community. Exchange students are expected to live as participating members of the family; joining them on weekend trips and helping with chores. Your host parents will trust you to inform them of your plans and whereabouts, and to come home when promised. Host families usually eat dinner together, spend their evenings together at home, or practice their hobbies. You are strongly encouraged to get involved with your host community through after school activities. Most host schools do not offer extra-curricular activities, however, community clubs and organizations typically offer a wide variety of ways to be active (sports, art, volunteer opportunities, etc). You might have the option to do something you did in your home country or you might decide to try something you have never done before. Bonding with your host family, forming friendships, and staying active are the best ways to truly appreciate your time abroad and gain a deeper understanding of your host country.
Upon your return to your home country, you will be invigorated to continue your traveling adventures and to share your own experiences!
What to Expect When You Finish the Program
Upon your return, you will need to take some time to go through an adjustment period- re-orienting yourself with your daily schedule and way of life. Often times, participants experience “reverse culture shock.” Having an eye-opening experience abroad is definitely something that will change you, and you will want to share these incredible travel stories. Sometimes the most challenging part of adjusting to life back home is not being able to express and connect with family and friends about your experiences.
You can expect to have your contact at Greenheart Travel to be in touch about a week or so after you get back (we want to give you some time to rest!) to see how your program went and how you are adjusting. We want to hear all about your experiences and help you make the transition home.
Evaluating Your Experience
We will also do a quick exit interview to evaluate your experience on the program. We always appreciate feedback from our participants to make sure we are providing the best travel program possible.
Sharing Your Stories
Want to show off your travel adventures during or after your program? We love sharing our participants’ stories, pictures and videos with our travel community, and are always looking to feature new travel writers. If you are interested in being a blogger during your program, or sharing your story and experience when you return. Don’t hesitate to contact your program manager on how you can get involved.
Stay in Touch With US!
We would love to have you stay in touch with us once your program is complete, and here are a few ways you can connect with fellow travelers:
- As a Greenheart Travel alumni, you will receive program discounts on all Greenheart Travel programs! Stay up-to-date on our latest adventures and sign up for our newsletter.
- Connect with other past, present and future volunteers via Facebook and Twitter
- Join our Ambassador team for a chance to earn a FREE volunteer program