Studying Abroad at Boarding School

Hey! I just have a few questions about what studying abroad looks like at some schools. One of the reasons I want to go to boarding school is obviously because of the amazing opportunities it has to offer, and one of those is studying abroad.

Is studying abroad accessible to freshmen/students in their first year of high school?

I noticed that most places only give studying abroad options to places like France and Italy, do you guys know any schools that have a broader option of areas, not just in Europe?

if anyone on here actually studied abroad as a boarding school student How was your experience, how much did it cost, and do you believe you actually gained from it?

I know Milton has a study abroad program in China! Also, boarding schools are not the only places that have study abroad programs many public schools do but I’m sure you have your other reasons.
I do not know what year it’s accessible in my Lps it’s from junior year maybe it’s different at boarding school.
My brother went on a study abroad program in China and he absolutely loved it, he gained so much. He didn’t have to pay because his school covered the cost (maybe it’s the same at bs) .

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That’s cool! My public high school doesn’t really have any study abroad options, so if I go there I don’t really think I would be able to do that. China sound like a really nice place to study abroad, I know the culture is really beautiful. Thanks for the info : ) I appreciate it!

I did my junior year from boarding school in Spain with, it’s a great program! They did have China and a few non- European option, but not sure about going forward with Covid…


Second the suggestion above to check out for studying abroad during your boarding school years. We know a few students who went overseas (in pre-COVID times) to France, Spain, and China. Many schools have additional summer study abroad programs, as well as programs over Spring & Winter break. For fun, check out the St George’s program on their sailing yacht Geronimo for a great adventure.


There are lots of ways to study abroad. You don’t need a boarding school. But if you do go to BS, all of the programs we looked into required it to be later in your education.


I don’t think any will allow you to study abroad freshman year - it’s too important a time for building community.

There may be opportunities to do short study/service travel trips as early as sophomore year as well as later. I think a lot of BS have these options. But if you are interested in summer programs, there are lots that are available not just through BS and depending on your family finances, you might want to have your funding available for this rather than BS tuition. It really depends on why you are interested in BS and what other options you have. Iow, if this in your dream and funds are not endless, you can spend on this kind of enrichment.

If you want to do a full year abroad, you are probably better off waiting (or doing junior year twice, once in the US and again abroad). You don’t want to miss critical foundation material because you aren’t fluent in the language. It will also help to have a bit more maturity and independence because the programs tend to require that. If your heart is set on this, you may want to seriously think about whether BS is your best option for this. It can be – but it may be easier through a school that is less built on the idea of a living learning community (which you are eager to leave for a year for a different experience. )


My DC participated in the INESLE Madrid program the summer after her 9th grade year. It was a wonderful experience. The students at PA who are on scholarship/FA also received equivalent financial assistance for all LITW (Tang Institute’s Learning in the World) trips.


Most elite prep boarding schools offer a junior year abroad through SYA (School Year Abroad).

SYA has about 44 member schools of which St. Paul’s School, Phillips Exeter Academy, and Phillips Academy at Andover are the founding (charter) members.

One of ours studied abroad for a period each year (I believe it was two weeks during Spring Break freshman, sophomore, & senior years) and participated in SYA for junior year abroad.

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I don’t think of 2 weeks abroad as “study abroad” but as travel. But it does highlight that we may not all be talking about the same thing!

I have not known lots of kids who have done SYA, but all the ones I know had a great experience.

Again, think through what you want and why. If you want language immersion with a goal of fluency, you are looking for something different than someone who wants to see art and architecture in xyz… Different time periods, different experiences.

All are valuable and educational but they aren’t the same.

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Although I understand that studying abroad for a two to three week period each Spring break may be mistakenly viewed as “travel”, in this case it was not; this was a very serious school-paid service project at a monastery on the border of France & Switzerland. The students lived, worked (manual labor),ate, and slept as did the monks–except for a couple of half-day trips sight-seeing in neighboring Switzerland which include a visit to McDonalds where all customers were greeted in four languages.

Additionally, the student did a one year abroad with SYA.

@gardenstategal : The typical “travel” trips are sight-seeing summer programs which usually include visits to several major cities.

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There is also this option if you’re at one of their participating schools (including Emma Willard, Avon Old Farms, Governors. Kent, Lawrenceville). English Speaking Union scholarship.

The destination country is the UK so not quite as exotic as France/Italy/China, and you won’t have the benefit of foreign language immersion.
It’s merit-based so doesn’t cost anything if you’re selected.

I did this many years ago, although neither my origin nor destination schools participate any longer.


St. Paul’s School offers an exchange program with Eton in the UK (which, if I recall correctly, is all male).

You probably wouldn’t be able to study abroad your freshman year. If you absolutely wanted to do this, I’d recommend taking an exchange year and then applying for sophomore year. This would also give you access to more countries. I’m not 100% about the language requirements, but I’d think that if you go to France, you need a few years of French. Same with other places.

@gardenstategal’s point about what you mean by “Study Abroad” is relevant. IMO, if there is no “study” there is no “study abroad”. In the schools I know best Study Abroad, Service Trips and Cultural Trips are separate things. Obviously, the goal/aim/hope is that the students learn a lot from any/all of them!


Many schools also participate in the Round Square program, shorter but educational trips.

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Maybe “learning abroad” would be a term more acceptable to some regarding “short term study tours”, “service projects”, “cultural tours” as they are all opportunities to learn and to grow.

Since OP has not defined “study abroad” in either of OP’s posts in this thread, it seems that all boarding school sponsored opportunities abroad might be of interest to OP.

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As some of you know, I have been a fan of Rotary International’s Youth Exchange. I was a student with one of their programs DECADES ago. This is a very well established program with scholarships$$. This is also a nice alternative for students wishing to study abroad, but not limited to exchange programs via your school or SYA.

There is another summer study abroad program for those of you interested for next year (2022) - study environment & agriculture in Greece. DM me for more information.

Thank you so much, these look like really cool oppurtunities!

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Yes, any “study abroad” program, I used that as an umbrella term. Even if it may not be for a school year, I would still love to visit other places and be able to gain any sort of experience!

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