It's Founder's Week and Celebration of 50 Years of Coeducation

In 1964 . . .

On September 9, 1964, two teachers and the original 11 "schoolboys" set sail from Hoboken, New Jersey to Le Havre, France aboard the MS Aurelia. Their eastbound fare was $196. At $3,200, tuition covered this travel expense and most others for the year. The original school was located at the Instituto de Estudios Norteamericanos in Barcelona.Schoolboys Abroad was conceived by Clark Vaughan, a Spanish teacher at Wilbraham Academy, and SYA's first Resident Director. Vaughan took the idea to Phillips Academy Andover where Headmaster John Kemper backed the program and gave it space for an administrative office. Dan Olivier, head of the French Department at Germantown Friends School, was Vaughan's assistant in setting up the program and taught English for SYA, and Col. Edward M. Harris, a Phillips Academy Spanish teacher, was the first executive director for Schoolboys Abroad.American-based faculty members Olivier and Ted Hammond (math teacher from Phillips Academy) and their wives accompanied the first group of boys aboard the ship. Olivier was also instrumental in identifying the location for SYA France, which opened in Rennes in the fall of 1967.

This year . . .

We celebrate 50 years of coeducation. In 1970, changed its name to School Year Abroad during the historic moment when 13 female students enrolled at SYA Spain. This unprecedented move toward coeducation signaled a sweeping evolution at SYA. This moment opened doors to a lifetime of possibility and change for women, one that continues to evolve and show promise.  SYA admitted women to our campus in Rennes the following year. The rest is HERstory.

Beginning this Founder's Day, September 9, 2020,  we commemorate this historic moment with a year-long celebration of virtual programming and stories. Throughout the year we will invite the participation of alumnae/i, faculty, staff, students and parents as we honor the influence and contributions of women to SYA's past, present and future. 

Join us as we celebrate 50 years of women at SYA. 

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School Year Abroad

A personal look back from Director of Advancement Erin Ericson

This year, you will likely read many reflections and remembrances from those who lived through the events of September 11, 2001. As you can imagine, SYA’s story is somewhat unique in that September is the beginning of our school year, when students are boarding planes for their adventure abroad.

School Year Abroad

SYA alumni, faculty and others make amazing things happen in the world.


This year, the SYA Awards Committee is pleased to announce its award recipients in recognition for outstanding contributions to SYA and the greater world.

School Year Abroad

Orientation, innovated. The Immersion Unit was designed with great intentionality to help students explore their local cities through fieldwork activities.