European Youth Portal

Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.

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Swap classrooms – go to school abroad

Ok, you'll still be at school – but you'll be making new friends, improving your language skills and getting to know a whole new culture.

Spending time at a school abroad is a great opportunity for personal and academic development, and will of course also look good on your CV.

 

Individual stay

One of the most common forms of school stay abroad – where you stay with a local family and attend school for 3 to 12 months.

In a nutshell:

-       Most pupils stay with a host family. Sometimes there's possibility to stay at a boarding school, though that is usually more expensive.

-       Most exchange pupils are aged 15 to 18.

-       Specialised organisations and associations can help you to organise your individual stay.

-       You should plan your stay a good year in advance.

-       The costs vary a lot and so do the included services. In most cases, all costs will need to be covered by your and your family.

 

Group exchanges

School exchanges – where a group of pupils from different countries visit each other – are usually organised by partner schools or twinned towns. Most exchanges are fairly short, from 1 week to a month or so.

 

If you're interested, your school or local council should be able to tell you if they have a scheme you could take part in. If they don't, you can tell them about European funding possibilities, e.g. through the EU Comenius scheme or the Europe for Citizens programme.

 

Finally, you should inform your school well in advance to check whether you'll get credit for the work you do while abroad. Be aware that some schools may make you repeat the year.