What do you advise the high school

Information about high school & student exchanges

High school questions, and most importantly, answers

Before your school year abroad can start, you and your parents will surely have a lot of questions about the exchange program. We have summarized the most important facts and questions for you here.

What's in it for me?

First and foremost, it brings you a great time, in which you get to know new people, a different culture and a beautiful country of your choice. But of course a high school stay brings much more: During your time abroad you improve your language skills, you develop your personality, you get to know your strengths, but also your limits and acquire intercultural competence - the intercultural competence that is so important in professional life today.

Anyone who comes back from a longer stay abroad stands on their own two feet and knows more than everyday life here in Germany. A fun and educational look outside the box!

How is my German school going?

The local school authority must give you leave of absence for the time abroad; in practice, this is at the discretion of your school management, who will decide on the basis of state-specific requirements. In addition to the leave of absence, the question arises as to whether you will repeat the class after your return or return to your old class. You are not entitled to have your time abroad recognized.

However, good grades at the host school improve your chances considerably. The choice of subjects can also have an influence. In any case, speak to your school in good time and find out which evidence is required for recognition. It may be that the work you did at the host school abroad is sufficient. However, some schools have clear guidelines as to which subjects you have to take abroad, or they offer you a "re-entry test" after your return.

But even if it is certain that you have to repeat the school year in any case: Going to school abroad is always a plus. As the good old saying goes: trying is better than studying!

One child - two parents

The space at the dining table remains free, taxi services to school are not required and family outings take place with one person less - it goes without saying that you are missing someone at home, not just anyone, but your child. This has new host parents for a while, who will lovingly integrate your child into their family and friends as an additional family member.

It is certainly nice to get to know the new world of your daughter or son - but we strongly advise against visiting the host country before completing your high school stay. Such a visit not only quickly acts as an "inspection of the living conditions" for the host parents, it is also not good for your child. The aim of a high school stay is to integrate as quickly as possible in the host country and to fully settle in there. Visiting the birth parents breaks this familiarization process and not infrequently leads to conflict situations.

Especially if you are homesick, it doesn't help if the biological parents set off: Your child will later be much more positive about having mastered the situation on site alone or with the local environment. Visit your child at the end of their stay and travel a little together - this way you can later understand what your child is talking about after their return, but do not interrupt your child's stay abroad.


You do not need a visa for the European programs, your identity card is sufficient. For the overseas programs, you need a visa. As part of its visa service, EF will send you all the necessary forms for applying for a visa in good time and will of course be happy to help you if you have any questions.

Please note: The cost of the visa itself is not included in the program price. The following applies to all non-European countries: Please apply for your passport as soon as possible!

Insurance coverage

Basically, all high school students need health, accident and personal liability insurance for the duration of their stay in the host country. If you are privately insured with an insurance company that is recognized in the host country and has a representative there, you can save the costs of additional international insurance protection. In that case, you only need to obtain a cover and settlement commitment from your own insurance company, about which EF must be informed in detail. If this is not possible, EF will take out the ISIS travel insurance package for the participant.

This insurance coverage is already included in the High School USA program. Participants in the Australian high school program receive state health insurance from Australia with the program award - they also need private accident and liability insurance.

Those who decide to go to high school within the EU can remain insured through their parents' existing German health insurance - however, private accident and liability insurance is also advisable. For all-round protection, we recommend the high school insurance package from ISIS Insurance.

How long do i want to stay? When do I leave?

The choice is yours: You can spend a whole year abroad or - depending on the country - only half a month or three months. A full school year at a high school in the host country not only gives you the best opportunity to integrate, you also get to know life in all seasons, experience holidays, festivals and all school and leisure activities throughout the year. But even a stay of three or six months opens up a new world for you and gives you the opportunity to feel in the host country not just as a guest, but almost as a local.

No matter which country in the world you choose, you can either leave in our winter months (January / February) or in our summer months (July / August / September). As with us, the school year in our destination countries begins after the big summer holidays. You just have to note that summer in the southern hemisphere begins in December, the school year accordingly begins after the New Zealand and Australian summer holidays at the end of January or February.

You are Germany - your ambassador role

It sounds a bit thick applied, but it often will be. You appear not only as yourself, but also as an ambassador for your home country - an important and responsible task. Many people in your new second home may never have had contact with Germans and may not know much about life here with us. It is therefore up to you to make a good impression. This is how both cultures learn from each other.

And you will find out: Some questions about life in Germany sound banal, but are not that easy to answer because you usually do not question them yourself here in everyday life. Or could you spontaneously demonstrate or explain a typical German dance? "I was asked in Ireland as well as in Mexico to perform a typical German dance. Every time I was on the hose. As an emergency solution, I then tried the Schuhplattler - not that I could do it, or even from Bavaria would be, but from North Rhine-Westphalia I just don't know and can't a typical dance ", says Tanja Kuntz, Marketing Manager EF.

EF Return Club

You may not even think about it now, after all, you haven't even flown, but our partner EF will definitely still be there for you after your return. EF wants to see you all again, and I'm sure you'll be dying to meet the other returners yourself. When someone goes on a trip, they have something to tell - in the Returnee Club, former program participants can exchange ideas and relive the great time abroad. At the same time, future program participants look forward to hearing from you "old hands" first hand about your field experiences.

Come to one of the high school newsletters and reports about your time in the host country! Not only that you enjoy telling about your adventure, loyal returns can also score points in the Returnee Club: By submitting photos, actively participating in information events, etc. you collect points that you can later exchange for great rewards.

Welcome home meeting

The international experience does not necessarily end when you arrive at your home airport in Germany. It goes without saying that you want as many people as possible to be part of your experience. The Welcome Home meeting offers many opportunities to exchange ideas with other "returnees", to show photos and to pass on your experiences to EF and thus also to the next generation of "Exchange Students".

For this reason, EF invites the returnees of the recent months to the Welcome Home meeting centrally in Germany for a small contribution to the costs. In 2005, for example, EF brought the returnees together for a weekend of tents with archery, raft building, farmers' Olympics and barbecues in Hesse. You will have the invitation to the next meeting after your return in your mailbox in good time. So: We & EF would be happy if you were there!

More information about high school & student exchanges

In the following, we present sources of information where you can obtain further information on the subject of high school and student exchanges or exchange years abroad: