Who Are SYA Students?

SYA was created to help young Americans become full-fledged citizens of the world; and for 50 years over 7,500 students have chosen to study abroad in high school with us. They've come from more than 1,100 different public, parochial and independent high schools, every state, several foreign countries and the broadest range of backgrounds.


SYA students come from all walks of life and from every corner of the country. Our students are academic all-stars and theater kids. They are athletes and artists. They are scientists and authors. They play music and do multi-variable calculus. What they all have in common is an insatiable curiosity and a willingness to go outside of their comfort zone. If you're excited about the idea of jumping into a new adventure and embarking on a journey unlike any other then, rest assured, you'll fit right in.

“SYA essentially allows you to be in a classroom at all times so you are always learning, whether you are at school, at home with your host family, interacting with locals, or traveling independently. Every moment becomes a learning opportunity and without a doubt it is because of this that I have gone from knowing basic Spanish to practically being fluent in only nine months. If you are serious about mastering another language, SYA is definitely the right program to do so.”
- James C. Spain '16, Belmont Hill School, MA

“I am grateful that News-Decoder exists as a platform to let people from all over the world and all different age groups interact and come together to find solutions to the global issues facing us today. Thank you also to SYA for participating in the News-Decoder program.”
- Ivy T. France ’16, West Anchorage High School, AK


"The host family is by far the bread and butter of SYA. It’s where you have the best experiences. On the weekends, my host family will either go see a movie, go to northern Beijing to see my host mother’s family or we might go see my dad’s parents who live out on the suburbs of Beijing. There are plenty of different things we can do. There’s never a set schedule, they’re always very spontaneous when they want to take me out."

Tahrieq K. China '16, Millbrook School, NY

"When I was preparing to come to Spain I didn't really know what to expect. However, as soon as I arrived I fell in love with the culture. One thing that I'm especially proud of was trying to take advantage of every travel opportunity that I could. I loved living a train ride away from so many different cultures and new adventures. That's what this experience was really all about for me, deepening my understanding of different cultures and seeing as much of the world as I could."
- Katie B. Spain '16, Episcopal High School, VA

“During my free time we went to all the popular sites but we also went to some of the more unknown sites for tourists which made the experience really cool because we got to see places normal Chinese people would go to see. It was very rewarding when we visited places that are a reflection of Chinese culture rather than just places that are structured for tourism.”
- Yumna N. China '16, Wardlaw-Hartridge School, NJ
Halsey Scholar, 2015-16