What are the best summer abroad programs for high school students (Reviews/Ratings)?

Hiking on a summer abroad program image

How to Choose a Summer Abroad Program

There are a lot of summer abroad programs for high school students. Teens have never had as many options for a summer abroad experience. From one-week service-oriented programs to months-long cultural immersion experiences, there are literally thousands of different possibilities. Just for teens. In the summer. Abroad.

So, how do you choose from all of the different summer abroad programs out there?

If you’re a teen or the parent of a teen looking for a summer abroad program, you’re probably considering a number of factors such as:

  • destination
  • length
  • group size and composition
  • programmatic focus
  • price
  • and, of course, safety and the reputation of the organization.

However, there are several other important, often overlooked considerations. This post identifies five popular summer abroad programs and also includes several tips for choosing a program. Note, we’re only discussing summer programs offering travel experiences to South America, Africa, Asia, and other developing regions of the world in this post. (Europe is kind of passé, isn’t it?)

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Bargaining for jewelry in Ecuador, a typical summer abroad ritual

Overview and Background

There are many great summer abroad programs that emphasize experiential learning as the foundational element of the travel experience. Sustainable Summer specializes in teaching high school students about environmental sustainability in this way, and we think that students intent on enhancing their understanding of this important subject will be hard-pressed to find a better option. However, there are plenty of high school students who may be looking at other summer abroad programs with a different programmatic focus, often either service learning, language immersion, adventure travel, or some combination.

We want to share our knowledge about some of the options you might consider (in no particular order). These aren’t necessarily reviews of summer abroad programs for high school students – a search on collegeconfidential.com will typically yield a thread or two about students’ experiences on these programs (take those with a grain of salt). However, I can attest to the reputation of these organizations as experienced operators in the high school summer abroad market.

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