Four high school students studying in France hug outside by a lighted structure


SYA High school student Hannah stands outside in Paris with an umbrella. She wears all black
Extracurriculars Abroad: Aerial Yoga
Favorite SYA Class:  Art History
Favorite Food in France: Galette Complète
School You Attend: Georgetown Day School


Hannah on Why She Attended SYA!


Q: How SYA impacted your college application process 

A: Being abroad and having to start the process abroad was definitely intimidating and at times challenging. However, between my college counselors at SYA and at home I was able to work with both of them in a way that I was kept abreast at all times of any information being released and was always provided with the right amount of guidance on next steps. Transitioning back to the states and actually starting the college application process was quite easy simply because while abroad I was able to get a head start in thinking about my personal statement, where I would like to attend, my chosen major, etc. My time abroad also allowed for this process to be less stressful than if I was back in the states and having to schedule meetings with my counselor in person rather than zoom in. Truly an experience that I am grateful for as this truly facilitated and eased the process for me.


Two SYA France high school students stand outside holding pastry

How SYA Changed Hannah!


Q: One of your favorite host family memories

A: One of the fondest memories I have of my host family is when I was invited to my host mom’s best friends going away party. This was the first time that I was going to socialize outside of my host family and school environment. It also was my wake up call, where my doubts were no longer there, as I soon realized that not only could speak a language that I love, but was able to engage in a full blown conversation with natives and my thoughts, ideas, and opinions were fully understood. I fondly remember my host mom’s friends creating a semicircle around me asking me questions about the United States, and my host mom giving me the biggest smile that could have been seen miles away; at that moment we both saw the progress that I had made, from textbook language to full immersion. I actually wrote this on a post-it note and still have it in my room to just remind myself of this one moment that proved to me that the tears, and missing my home was all worth it in the end. Something I will never forget!


SYA student and host mom

Classes at SYA France



Q: What did you learn abroad that surprised you 

A: There are so many things I learned while being abroad and with SYA. From truly appreciating culture, language, nature and people to fully finding myself. So, if there is one thing I learned, I learned about who I am as an individual. While at SYA I realized that I wanted to be a change agent, give back to the community, take care of the environment and truly try to make this world a better place not only for my generation but for future generations. My passion, vision and mission for my future became clear to me and what I want to do moving forward. I also learned that stepping outside my comfort zone while scary at times is where I am most comfortable and willing to take the risks to see the rewards at the end. An amazing opportunity of growth, self discovery, self acceptance and families and friendships of a lifetime.


Two SYA France high school students stand outside the Louvre

Most Memorable Experience Outside of the Classroom