High School Study Abroad Programs

April 30, 2024 | Blog, Education, Holidays & Travel

Into Education has over 40 years of experience in organising international high school study abroad programs, in collaboration with long-standing local partners. Their hands-on team offers personalised guidance and support for students and parents alike.  

We spoke with CEO John D. Fisher to find out more about the organisation, and the life-changing experiences that they provide for young people discovering cultures around the world.


Study Abroad – Don’t Dream It! Do It!

Tell us about Into Education – what services do you offer?

Into Education is an organisation that prepares teenagers between 14 and 19 years old to study for an academic year at a High School abroad. Our primary destination is the USA followed by England, Ireland, Canada, France and Germany.

When and how did Into Education first start?

Into Education first started under the name DLS, back in 1976, as the result of my students asking me how they could go abroad to improve their English.

What is the ideal age for a young person to undertake a year abroad?

I believe that 16 is an ideal time, because at that age a student is prepared for and capable of attending a high school and meeting and getting to know students from the host country. At 16, he or she is also ready to live as a member of a host family instead of living in a campus situation. In this way, the experience offers complete immersion in the new culture and language.

How long do your study abroad programmes last? Is there a minimum length of time?

The shortest programme is one term in England, which is about three months. The next is a semester-long programme and then naturally a full school year.

Do you have any advice for students on how to narrow down their options and choose the perfect location for their year abroad?

Usually the first step in the narrowing down process is the choice of language. If it is German, for example we can offer Germany or Austria. If it is Spanish, then of course, we offer Spain and all its diverse regions. However, for English abroad we offer England, the USA, Canada, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. 

 

High School Graduation abroad

High School Graduation at the end of your year abroad.

 

Everyone has their own idea of which is the best place to go and what they like best or where their dreams lie. Some students and their parents think that England is not as far away as the USA and so they are more comfortable with that destination. However, it’s important to say that distance doesn’t affect the quality of a programme, rather it’s a case of individual experience no matter where you go.

What are the logistics involved for schooling? Do students typically go on to resit the academic year?

To resit or not resit the academic year depends on each school’s specific policy. Communicating with your high school before leaving is important so that everything is clear beforehand.  Many schools are quite satisfied if a student returns with a good report card from the school he or she has attended abroad.

What is the process of preparing for a study year abroad? What happens in the lead-up to departure?

The process begins when a student fills out the application form. This is followed by a face-to-face or online interview with the local or regional manager. If the interview is successful, the student is required to fill out further forms concerning their school grades, health, a teacher’s report and are asked to compose a letter to the potential host family. 

 

Studying abroad at a High School in Spain

Spanish students attending their PDS – pre-departure seminar.

 

During the weeks leading up to departure, while Into is working with the host country on behalf of the student, he or she receives regular information from our office, and is invited to an obligatory pre-departure seminar (known as a PDS). This orientation course lasts two days and provides training in the rules of the programme, understanding any cultural differences and problem solving techniques.  Students are taught through sketches, role-plays and presentations.

Then, during the summer, the student will receive the name and address of their new host family and their host country high school. At this point preparations for their departure can begin.

What would you say to a young person considering a year abroad but who feels intimidated at the idea of going to a new country on their own?

I would reassure them that every student has this feeling at one point or another and that this is normal. However, they should bear in mind that they are not alone, but in the care of a highly competent organisation and that we are always there for them.

We also point out that in life, most people don’t regret what they have done, but they do regret what they have not done. So even if it might seem a little frightening, they should still follow their dream and turn it into a reality. As our slogan says; Don’t dream it! Do it!

 

 

Studying abroad in Canada with Into

Hiking in Canada on your year abroad.

And the same question for their parents? What would you say to parents who can see the benefits of a big adventure but feel worried about their child?

It is natural that parents worry about their children. However, if they choose a responsible and experienced organisation, then they can rest assured that the child will not be placed in a doubtful or dangerous situation that may risk health and well-being.

Although it is hard to let go of our children, it has to be done for their sake.  By letting our children follow their dreams, it gives them a tremendous leap forward in maturity and self-confidence, and provides the building blocks for a successful future. 

What support do you provide during the trip?

All of our participating students are placed into caring families that have been carefully selected and prepared for his or her stay. Our host families are exceptional people who open the doors of their homes to young people from other cultures and ways of life and they provide a home and support for our students.

In addition to help from the host family, a participant can always turn to the local coordinator for support. The local in-country coordinator is always available to help. Our partners also have their head offices in the host country, and finally, our managers are always available for participants’ parents to voice any concerns they may have, at any time.

Can you tell us more about your host families? How are students matched with the right host family? Do they get to choose?

 

How are students matched with the right host family

A host family picking up their student at airport.

 

Our network of host families is made of caring, open minded, adventurous people who desire to be part of the transformative experience lived by a young international student who decides to spend a year studying abroad. They welcome these brave young students into their homes, share their lives and enjoy the mutually gratifying experience. 

When we interview our potential host families they state their choice of student gender and length of stay. They then receive a number of student profiles to look at. Family interests and hobbies are taken into consideration and matched to the candidate’s interests and hobbies.  When we feel we have a match, a student profile is selected. The students are then provided with all the information about the host family, such as where they will live, the number of family members, children and pets as well as their hobbies and interests. Students are not able to choose families.

What are the greatest benefits of a year abroad?

The obvious one is fluency in the language of the country. However, there are many other character building benefits, and there is a huge leap forward in maturity, independence and self confidence. It is often said that when a parent sends his child on an educational exchange programme he says goodbye to a boy or a girl and welcomes back a young man or woman. Students’ lives are often changed forever and they all return home with a clearer idea of their future.  

 

Greatest benefits of a study year abroad

New country, new sport on your year abroad.

What sets Into Education apart from other companies who organise gap years and study abroad experiences?

Our unique and vast experience sets us apart from the rest. With 40 years of experience we can say that Into has seen it all and we have amassed a huge body of knowledge and skills. We also partner with very experienced and responsible sister organisations with whom we have worked for many years. This leads to harmony in many things. We also scrutinise host family placements ourselves before we pass them on so that we are satisfied with the constellation of the family. 

What kinds of feedback have you had from past exchanges?

Feedback shows us that each generation and each year produces young people who grow into first class adults and do good in this world. Feedback from 97% of our participants is most positive and they say it was the best year of their lives. I still have contact with some students I met when they were 16 and who are now in their mid careers in many fields. It always warms my heart to think of them.

What can a student do to get the most out of their year abroad experience? What makes for a successful gap year?

Try everything possible with an open mind without judging something as good or bad. It’s just different. Do it.

 

Making new friends on your study abroad adventure.

Making new friends on your study abroad adventure.

Can you tell us about what happens after they get back?

Many returning students tell me that they are emotionally and mentally enriched.   They feel more complete. Many have a clearer idea of what they want to do in life and tend to apply themselves more diligently. In various surveys and research I have conducted, I have the impression that academic year participants carry this enrichment with them throughout their lives and they go on to have success in what they choose to do.

How can students apply? What is the application process?

Candidates apply via our online application form. They then receive an invitation for an interview.  After the interview phase is complete, they  go on to complete student profile forms. Once these have been submitted and they are accepted into the program, a host family is found and they are registered in a local High School in the destination of their choice. The candidates get their visa forms from us and we then prepare them for their adventure.


Find out more about Into Education and the different year abroad options they offer on their website. Into Education are also always looking to extend their network of caring host families. Contact their team to find out more about hosting a student.

Contact Details:

+34 951 870 122
info@into-education.es

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