School Year Abroad (SYA) is committed to promoting intercultural understanding and appreciation through the immersive adventure of fully engaging with different languages and peoples. SYA guides its students through a challenging curriculum focused on developing skills and cultural competencies for an increasingly interdependent world.
While students learn much by simply taking part in an experience abroad and living with a host family, SYA designs its programs to develop four key student skills:
- Critical and Creative Thinking - The ability to develop new ideas and challenge assumptions in situations with limited information and/or language skills.
- Intercultural Competence - The ability to understand different cultures and perspectives with increasing sophistication and adapt to new situations empathetically and appropriately.
- Language Proficiency - The ability to communicate effectively in multiple languages.
- Independence and Interdependence - The ability to be self-reliant and collaborate with others in a constructive way.
SYA strives to take full advantage of our resources to provide the highest quality education. To that end, all of our programs are designed to be:
- Intentional - SYA programs are based on and designed to meet clear, achievable and observable objectives.
- Place-Based - SYA programs are intricately tied to the surroundings, people and cultures of our host countries.
- Experiential - SYA programs are explicitly active and participatory and include major involvement in the outside community.
- Intercultural - SYA programs require active engagement in the local culture, developing perspective and empathy.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement
For more than 50 years, our work at School Year Abroad has been built upon breaking down barriers — it is at the very core of our mission. We know that one of the best ways to fight discrimination and foster inclusion is with education, and that by introducing high school students to new perspectives, we prepare them for these important challenges.
With a community that extends across continents and cultures, we embrace the strength of diversity and we value the open exchange of ideas from lived experiences. We believe that the deepest learning requires collaboration among people who embody different backgrounds, beliefs and perspectives.
We also recognize that we have work to do, on both an institutional level and a personal level. SYA’s goal is to have a faculty, staff, leadership group and curriculum that reflect our student body. We want our students to thrive in communities abroad that recognize and celebrate each of their unique identities. We know this presents a challenge, and it is one we welcome and commit to as we move forward.