Why Choose to Study Abroad in High School for a Year?

SYA has been sending high school students abroad since 1964 through our one year study abroad program. We believe so strongly in the yearlong experience, that it's in our name: School Year Abroad. 

The idea to study abroad for the academic year may seem daunting at first, but once you're settled in your host country, you'll discover that time flies almost too quickly and you'll be wishing for more. Click the country icons below to read more about each high school year abroad program in France, Italy and Spain.


"Personally, I have never felt the kind of happiness I've felt over the past nine months ...
If I could give one piece of advice to any future students, it would be to treat everyday like it’s your last. Because the end comes a lot sooner than you would imagine."
-Stella FR'19


SIX Reasons Why You Should Choose the Yearlong Study Abroad Program

  1. Explore more.  Choosing to go for the year means you'll have more time to explore your new surroundings, try new foods and co-curricular activities and more time to make unforgettable memories with your friends and host family.
  2. Improve your language proficiency. Learning a language takes time and the best way to learn a new language is to be fully immersed. If your goal is to master a second language, then choosing to study abroad for the year is a no-brainer.
  3. Be part of the majority. Since space is limited in the semester program, the majority of your peers will be there for the year too. You'll all go through the year together as a class, so you'll be in good company. 
  4. Experience a new place in all its seasons. Late summer weather? Check. Christmas markets in the winter? Check. A city in bloom in the spring? Check. Not to mention, all the holidays and new traditions you'll experience throughout the year.
  5. Dive into the topic of your choice for the Capstone project. The culminating project in the yearlong program is the Capstone — where students get to design an experiential project where they learn by doing. It's your chance to explore a topic that captures your imagination and interest. Overall, not a bad way to end the year.
  6. Stand out to colleges. Nothing quite proves you're ready for college like spending a year abroad. Admissions officers will be impressed with the maturity, independence, creativity, critical thinking skills and grit you demonstrate in your college application. 

High school is the perfect time to study abroad for the year.  If you need more convincing, read some of our student blogs or get to know  a couple of recent alums below!

Yearlong High School Study Abroad Program FAQs

Meet Kimiye

Meet Kimiye,an SYA Italy student

  • Attended: SYA Italy as a Junior
  • Home School: 'Iolani School
  • College Attending: Bryn Mawr College
  • Hometown: Honolulu, HI
  • Interests: Graphic design, orchestra, springboard diving and napping

Meet Ellis

Meet Ellis, an SYA Spain student

  • Attended: SYA Spain as a Junior
  • Home School: St. Paul's School
  • College Attending: Brown University
  • Hometown: Detroit, MI
  • Interests:  Politics, travel, movies, French, Spanish, music, mentoring and curating Instagram