Are you a high school student who’s fed up of classes in your hometown? Don’t pack it all in and join the circus just yet. Maybe all you need is a change of scenery, my friend. Why not shake things up with high school exchange programs abroad? If you’re confused where you’d like to go, why not consider doing a high school international exchange in the Americas?
Now, the Americas is a big place. In fact, it takes up the entire Western Hemisphere so you’re bound to find a location you like. When it comes to high school study abroad programs, you could be hanging with the cool kids in Mexico City, learning French slang in Quebec, or walking down the hallowed halls of a high school in the world’s biggest superpower, the US.
If you’re looking for a Latin American flavored high school, travel abroad in South America. This vast continent has 12 distinctive countries so choose wisely. High school travel abroad in Central America is also great for students who want to learn Spanish in any of seven manageable countries.
[Watch this: High School Study Abroad is LIT]
Ready for the ride of your life? We surveyed searches from meaningful travelers and are here to bring you the 10 best places for high school travel abroad in the Americas in 2018.
Aloha! The islands of Hawaii beckon. Why go to high school in a dull, freezing town when you could be catching the waves, climbing live volcanoes, kayaking in the warm ocean, spotting whales, or helping to save coral reefs under the sun? Study on the Big Island (Hawaii) or Maui, Oahu, or Kauai. High school study abroad programs also include community service projects so you could be helping to build homes or run day camps.
Recommended program: Go to high school abroad in Hawaii with Westcoast Connection
If you’d like to go to high school in an English speaking country that’s crazy hockey, try Canada. Explore the plains, mountains, lakes, and cities of the world’s second largest country. Most high school students choose Toronto or Ottawa but if your French is up to scratch, head further east to Montreal and Quebec City for a totally different lycée experience. Don’t forget to try the best maple syrup in the world and pack a bottle or two when it’s time to return home.
Recommended program: Go to high school abroad in Quebec with Edu-inter
If it’s one country that’s captured the hearts and imagination of high school students around the world, it’s the USA. The American high school experience has been immortalized in teen flicks like Mean Girls, Clueless, and Superbad but it’s up to you to find out the truth with high school exchange programs in the States. Popular locations for high school include New York, Chicago, and LA but don’t discount suburban towns with tons of local flair and after school activities like glee club!
Recommended program: Go to high school abroad in the US with Travel for Teens
4. Costa Rica
Craving a different kind of high school? Travel abroad in Central America to Costa Rica. This Latin American country may be small but certainly packs a punch when it comes to adventures in the rainforest and the ocean. Study Tico history and culture in the capital, San José, or uni town, Heredia. Understand what pura vida translates into while chasing waterfalls, diving into plunge pools, and sharing a meal of rice and beans with your homestay family.
Recommended program: Go to high school abroad in Costa Rica with Maximo Nivel
Want to one-up all your friends back home? Go to high school in a Communist country that was virtually off-limits since the late 1950s. Today, it’s slowly reopening itself to the world and is one of the best places to learn Caribbean-accented Spanish. Base yourself in Havana or Trinidad for serious island vibes. Didn’t get The Old Man and the Sea in English class back home? See the novel in a new light while staring at the same ocean that inspired Hemingway to write the literary masterpiece.
Recommended program: Go to high school abroad in Cuba with Carpe Diem Education
If you’re looking for a country that ticks all the right boxes when it comes to outdoor adventure time, look no further than Ecuador. For such a small nation, it’s got everything you could want in a South American country: Andes, Amazon, and the Pacific! If you want to really understand Darwin’s theory of evolution, let your high school travel abroad in South America take you to Galapagos Islands. Also, spend time in Quito, one of the world’s highest capital cities, a staggering 9,000 feet above sea level!
Recommended program: Go to high school abroad in Ecuador with GoBeyond Student Travel
7. The Caribbean
Want to get beneath the surface of some of the world’s most beautiful but also misunderstood island nations? Go to high school in the Caribbean! It’s always island time in this region sandwiched between the North and South American continents. Popular destinations for high school abroad in the West Indies include Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Puerto Rico. Use your time abroad to learn what they don’t teach you in world history or pick up a new language, whether it’s Dutch, Trinidadian Creole English, or Papiamento.
Recommended program: Go to high school abroad in the Caribbean with CCMI
Dying to learn one of the sexiest dances on the planet? Let your high school travel abroad in South America take you to Argentina, the birthplace of tango. Get fluent en español by signing up with language immersion programs in Buenos Aires, Córdoba, and Mendoza.
This Latin American giant is also perfect for exploring with the Iguazu Falls, Pampas plains, and Patagonia! If you’re vegan, be warned that Argentinians cannot be separated from their steak so you may have to look hard for meat-free meals in this country.
Recommended program: Go to high school abroad in Argentina with Sol Abroad
9. Dominican Republic
Right next to Cuba is Hispaniola, home to another lovely Spanish-speaking Caribbean nation. The Dominican Republic (DR in short) is your next high school abroad destination if you’re looking for Hispanic culture, unspoilt beaches, and the oldest colonial city in the New World. Walk the cobblestoned streets of Santo Domingo like a young Junot Diaz or explore the country’s history in Santiago de los Caballeros. Also, if you hate winter, the Dominican Republic is perfect for high school all year round because it’s always summer!
Recommended program: Go to high school abroad in the Dominican Republic with Broadreach
High school travel abroad in Central America takes you to Guatemala, the epicenter of ancient Mayan culture. Sign up for programs in Guatemala City, the largest metropolis in the region. Travel the length and breadth of this country that includes tongue-twister town names like Quetzaltenango and Chichicastenango. Also, don’t miss Antigua, a strikingly beautiful UNESCO Heritage protected colonial town.
Recommended program: Go to high school abroad in Guatemala with Where There Be Dragons
A note from GoAbroad
We’d like to thank our community for not only inspiring us daily, but for also giving us enough insight to share accurate predictions for meaningful travel in 2018.
Learn more our research methodology, recommended programs, and links here.
Find more top destinations for high school abroad
- Best Destinations to do High School Abroad Worldwide in 2018
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- Best Destinations to do High School Abroad in the Americas for 2018
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