We're parents too. We know the investment in a summer experience abroad is a careful decision. Our Program Directors are here to guide you and your child through every step of the journey.
High school study abroad is the gift that gives back
An enriching focus on language immersion that builds life-long communication and cultural understanding skills.
A fun once-in-a-lifetime experience especially designed for teens.
Led by Program Directors driven by their own study abroad experiences and passionate about yours.
Dedicated support and communication pre-departure to help you prepare for your summer abroad.
"My daughter had a wonderful time on her 2 week language immersion program! She came home with increased confidence in her Spanish language skills and stories of great times with new friends that she made while studying abroad. The San Sebastian study abroad program also helped her stand out in the college application and admissions process. There is no doubt it helped her in getting accepted into Georgetown University."
Academics, travel excursions, group activities, homestay accommodations, transportation to cultural sites, and on-site direction & supervision all are included in your tuition. Horizons Abroad strives to streamline and simplify your child's experience abroad with a daily itinerary that's exciting, enriching, and worth the investment.
The following is included in your tuition:
Meet and greet with Program Directors upon arrival at the destination airport abroad (eg Madrid Barajas or Paris CDG)
Welcome tour of Paris or Madrid
Hotel accommodations in Paris or Madrid
Morning language class tuition including books and materials
Daily cultural activities and excursions
Local homestay accommodations with breakfast, lunch, and dinner included
On-site bilingual directors
Dedicated pre-departure support and direction
How Air Travel is Organized
Air travel to and from the destination country is booked separately and not included in the tuition. Horizons Abroad staff are happy to assist you in securing air travel.
We do designate two specific international flights per destination and encourage students to book travel on itineraries including these flights. This is a way to arrive to your destination alongside other Horizons Abroad students and meet others before your departure from North America! View designated flight information on our San Sebastian and Biarritz destination pages.
Don't hesitate to call our office at (888) 512-1942 with any questions. Airfare between the United States and Paris CDG typically ranges between $1,200 and $1,700. Flights between the United States and Madrid Barajas (MAD) range between $1,100 and $1,700.
To ensure smooth operations abroad for your child and the entire group, Horizons Abroad requires that you adhere to the following guidelines for air travel:
The starting date for each session denotes the departure date from the United States (eg for the two week Session A, your flight should depart on June 17, 2022).
Spain: Your flight must arrive to Madrid Barajas Airport (MAD) between 6:30am and 10:00am local time. Flights arriving after 10:00am must be pre-approved by Horizons Abroad (to minimize disruptions to program operations). Your return flight must depart from Madrid Barajas between 6:30am and 12:00pm on your session's end date.
France: Your flight must arrive to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) between 6:30am and 10:00am local time. Flights arriving after 10:00am must be pre-approved by Horizons Abroad (to minimize disruptions to program operations). Your return flight must depart from Paris CDG between 6:30am and 12:30pm on your session's end date.
Many families combine a Horizons Abroad experience with family vacations in Europe, for more information on picking-up or dropping-off your child while abroad, please contact our office at (888) 512-2470 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange your airport meet-and-greet with a Program Director.
More on Homestay Immersion
Homestay immersion is without a doubt the most authentic form of true immersion and connection to the local culture. Horizons Abroad students stay with a local, vetted family who speaks the language of study.
All Horizons Abroad homestays are selected based on a rigorous application process and are located within walking distance or a short bus ride away from the local language school. Our application process, conducted alongside our partner language schools, select homestay families based on location, ability and passion for hosting international students, and a background check. While homestays come in all shapes and sizes, many of our families are older, established locals who have the accommodations and the time in their routine to host students.
Horizons Abroad students stay with other roommates from the program as a roommate, unless a single room is specifically requested. Other teenage international students, mainly from Europe, may be directly enrolled with our partner language schools and living in the same homestay.
In accordance with the latest international entry requirements of France and Spain, non-vaccinated participants must present a negative COVID-19 test for entry. Vaccinated participants are admitted into Spain and France without needing to take a COVID-19 test. Booster shots are currently not required for those under the age of 18.
We are fully committed to the health and safety of our students, homestay families, teachers, and directors. Our current precautions and protocols have been developed alongside our partner language schools, homestays, and vendors to meet or exceed local guidelines enacted to slow the spread of COVID-19. For additional peace of mind, comprehensive travel and medical insurance is included in your tuition. If you have additional questions regarding COVID and studying abroad, please contact our office at (888) 512-2470.
- What is a typical Horizons Abroad program like?
Each session is unique but built on similar fundamental dynamics including morning language classes, afternoon cultural activities, homestay accommodations, and a supportive team of program directors. The focus is on language immersion and students are expected to practice the language of study throughout the day. In addition to structured classes and activities, students have opportunities for free time to immerse themselves in the culture of their destination and do popular activities like going to the beach, shopping, and exploring in small groups.
Our programs are open-enrollment and most students participate independently. Some participate with a friend or even with a school group. Group sizes are typically between 10 - 20 students depending on the destination and session. Each trip is an opportunity to improve one's language skills while living in a unique environment and gaining personal growth through structured independence. Support from Horizons starts before students travel abroad and include comprehensive orientation materials, regular orientation zoom meetings, and a Welcome Package with travel gear including a comfortable Horizons Abroad t-shirt, luggage tags, athletic backpack, travel adapters, and more.
- What is the average age of participants? What is the boy / girl ratio?
Our programs are available exclusively to high school students, 14 - 18 years old. The average age is 16 years old and between their sophomore and junior year. Our average boy / girl ratio in each session is 60% girls and 40% boys, though this can vary by session.
- What are the benefits of a Horizons Abroad program?
It's an opportunity to live in another language and world! Our programs go beyond the typical travel tour or family trip and focus on living like a local in safe & fun destinations. With a focus on language and cultural immersion, students return from a Horizons Abroad experience with increased fluency in another language as well as a stronger sense-of-self and understanding of the world around them. In addition, our programs are an opportunity to meet others from around the world as well as other students that live across the country.
- How do I enroll?
Enrollment is fully online. Click here to visit our Enrollment Form. A $1,000 deposit is required for enrolling and is applied to the program tuition. After you complete the initial form through our website, a program director will follow up with confirmation of submission as well as a link to pay the deposit as well as a housing & class questionnaire.
Once the enrollment form, the questionnaire, and the deposit are submitted, a student is formally accepted into the program and session of their choice. We will follow up through email with a confirmation of enrollment as well as flight booking guidance and initial orientation information.
- How do flights work?
Participants book flights independently and airfare is not included in the program tuition. You are free to book airfare using miles or points.
All students are met and received by a Horizons Abroad Program Director immediately after retrieving their baggage in their program's gateway city (eg Madrid for Spain, Paris for France). In order to ensure seamless arrivals abroad, we have a specific time window for arrivals:
> Spain: Your flight must arrive to Madrid Barajas Airport (MAD) between 6:30am and 10:00am local time.
Flights arriving after 10:00am must be pre-approved by Horizons Abroad (to minimize disruptions to program operations).
Your return flight must depart from Madrid Barajas between 6:30am and 12:30pm on your session's end date.
>France: Your flight must arrive to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) between 6:30am and 10:00am local time.
Flights arriving after 10:00am must be pre-approved by Horizons Abroad (to minimize disruptions to program operations).
Your return flight must depart from Paris CDG between 6:30am and 12:30pm on your session's end date.
Arrivals outside of these time windows can possibly be accommodated. We can also arrange for parent pick-ups and drop-offs while abroad. Please call (888) 512-2470 or email email@example.com to speak with a Program Director.
- What is your cancellation and refund policy?
If a student withdraws from the program for any reason prior to departure, a refund will be calculated by the following schedule:
- Before February 1, all but $500 is refundable
- Before March 1, all but $1000 is refundable
- Before April 1, all but $1500 is refundable
- Before May 1, all but $2000 is refundable
- On or after May 1, program fees are 100% non-refundable
Withdrawal from a program is effective on the date that written notification is received by Horizons Abroad. The cancellation and refund policy is in effect from the initial receipt of the student’s application and deposit.
- How should I best prepare for traveling?
Upon enrollment, Horizons Abroad will send initial orientation emails to students and parents regarding flight booking information and how to best start preparing.
Closer to the start of the program, families receive comprehensive orientation information on classes, the homestay experience, as well as daily routines and activities. We also advise families on important information regarding international cell coverage and smart tips for spending money, both through orientations as well as advising through phone or email. Students receive a mailed Welcome Packet with our travel gear including the program t-shirt, backpack, travel adapters, and other helpful items.
- Can we book travel on flights that have other Horizons students?
Yes! We designate specific international flights for each program to encourage students to travel together. Please view our San Sebastian and Biarritz program pages for information on specific designated international flights.
Due to the fact students are participating from across North America, we are unable to guarantee that another Horizons Abroad student will be on your complete travel itinerary (specifically connecting flights). Our designated flights depart out of 2 well connected hub airports and students often connect at those hub airports before flying the international leg of the journey together.
All flights to Europe at the start of sessions are monitored by a dedicated staff member who can assist students with travel as well as communicate between students, parents, and directors.
- What if we're already in Europe? Can we meet the group abroad?
Yes! Horizons Abroad can coordinate with families for seamless pick-ups and drop-offs. Families should contact our staff at firstname.lastname@example.org at least 30 days before the start of the session to arrange a pick-up / drop-off abroad. Please note that specific times and locations for meeting abroad are dictated by our daily program itineraries and are not fully flexible.
- What should I pack?
Detailed packing lists are provided in our orientation information. For U.S. based students, check the TSA Website for current restrictions. It is also a good idea for families to contact their airline for baggage restrictions and regulations. As the duration of each session is between 2-4 weeks and is not of great length, we do not allow bringing large items such as surf boards and bikes (they can be rented abroad).
- How much spending money do I need?
We have specific recommendations for each program with regards to getting money while abroad listed in our orientation information. We encourage budgeting $150 -$200 per week for spending money. It is required to bring a debit card with 4-digit PIN linked to a checking account (you can order this through your bank).
- Should I bring a cell phone / tablet / laptop?
A cell phone is needed for communication between directors and students. Laptops and tablets are not necessary, but are permitted. We encourage students to live in the moment and not to spend too much time on their digital devices. Information on international plans as well as SIM card and alternative options are available in our orientation materials and our staff is happy to recommend existing plans for cheap and effective digital communication while abroad.
- What are the classes like?
All classroom instruction is taught in the language of study (Spanish or French, depending on destination). Classes are in the morning and generally between 9am and 1pm, with exact times varying by destination. A short break is included every day between lessons. Students are placed into classes based on their most recent language level completed in school as well as a placement exam which occurs on the first day of class. Curriculum varies by level but is designed to review concepts learned at home as well as tackling new material.
Classes are more conversational and activity based than typical American high school lessons. Depending on your destination, you may be taking class alongside other international students from countries such as Germany, Italy, Sweden, Australia, Canada, and the UK.
- Are the classes difficult?
While some courses may involve a grammar quiz or two, the course focus will not be homework and tests, but rather participation and in-the-moment use of the language, vocabulary, and grammar concepts. Instructors encourage practical use of the language through interactive and engaging activities and cultural discussions.
- What activities and excursions are offered?
Both the San Sebastian and Biarritz programs have a different set of required and elective activities and excursions that range from cooking classes to sports events and everything in between. Please review the detailed itineraries on the San Sebastian and Biarritz program pages for more information on activities and excursions.
- Is there free time?
All Horizons programs are designed to quickly allow students to build a daily routine in their destination city. There is a certain level of independence and free time that is given between morning classes, afternoon activities, and time spent with homestay / curfew. Daily schedules are intended to balance independence with structure.
- How will I get around the city?
Horizons programs are in small, manageable cities and areas. Students will walk and/or take public buses to and from school and activities. This will be one of first cultural differences that students will experience abroad as walking and public buses are the most common modes of transportation in Europe. They are safe, reliable, and convenient ways to explore the city.
The primary way for students to get around the city is by walking. Typical daily walking averages between 1 - 2 miles and between 7,000 to 11,000 steps.
- Can I earn college credit through the program's classes?
Yes! Students have the opportunity to earn college credit through independent petitioning once enrolled in a university.
Horizons Abroad has partnered with language schools that are nationally and globally accredited. These language schools structure their instruction based on the Common European Reference for Language (CEFR). Students in the 2 week Program and 4 Week Program participate in 30 hours and 60 hours of in-class instruction in these accredited programs. Upon completion of their studies, each student will receive a certificate of completion with their language level course number and completed hours of instruction. Horizons Abroad will keep a copy of their certificate of completion on file for up to 4 years.
Students in our programs have received university credit from both private and public universities in states throughout the U.S. Horizons Abroad may assist the student through the application process but does not guarantee acceptance. Students will need to keep all of their coursework along with their original sealed copy of the certificate of completion. When the student enrolls in the university of their choice, they must independently apply to the campus registrar for their coursework to be applied for university credit. Students must submit their course work and certificate of completion along with their application to the campus registrar. Traditionally, students who have participated in our programs have received 1-2 units of college credit that are usually applied to required language lab courses in the 100 level courses of foreign language classes.
- What is living with a homestay like?
Living with a homestay can be one of the best ways to immerse yourself in culture and language. Homestays come in all shapes and sizes with common dynamics being families with smaller children, families with teenagers, and retired couples or women who have the space in their home and time in their schedule to host students.
All meals with a homestay are included in the tuition. Breakfast is typically very light - including bread with jam, yogurt, or croissants. Lunch is typically a packed sandwich or lighter meal. Dinner typically is around 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and includes meals such as pasta, meat, and vegetables. Vegetarian and vegan accommodations are possible. Please note any dietary requirements or preferences in your enrollment form so Horizons Abroad staff can make the necessary accommodations.
- Do I have a roommate?
Yes, all students are placed with other Horizons Abroad students unless specifically requested. In the event of an odd number of boys and girls in a session, students may be placed separately in a homestay or with other teenage international students from our partner language schools abroad. In these rare circumstances, particular care is taken to place students near other Horizons Abroad participants to aide the program goals of comradely and safety.
Horizons Abroad students also often live in homestays that host other young international students (typically from elsewhere in Europe) who are also studying with our partner language schools.
- Where are homestays located? Is it within walking distance of everything?
Homestays are located within a 20 minute walk, or 10 minute bus ride of the language school. Some homestays are located closer to the language school than they are to major attractions in the destination city such as the main beach or old part of town. In these events, students are provided with specific orientation as well as bus cards to help facilitate the quickest and most efficient way for getting around the city.
- Can I request a friend to be my roommate?
Yes! This is a common request and one that can easily be accommodated. We have a specific section in our enrollment form for requesting roommates. Roommate requests are reciprocal, meaning that each friend should request each other as roommates in their enrollment form.
- How are homestays vetted to host students?
Most homestays have hosted Horizons Abroad and other international teenage students before. We continue working with homestays based on feedback from students as well as standards regarding accommodations and daily availability.
Regardless of whether a homestay family has hosted Horizons students in the past, all families go through an annual criminal & civil background check as well as a home visit.
Homestay placement information is sent to students 2 - 3 weeks prior to the start of their session and includes contact information, address and neighborhood of their homestay, as well as a description of homestay and Horizons roommates.
- Are your destinations safe?
Yes! Both San Sebastian and Biarritz are safe and manageable cities for high school study abroad. Students live within walking distance from both the language school as well as program directors. Our programs are designed to immerse students in the language and culture in a safe & supported way.
During times where session groups are in larger cities, such as Paris or Madrid, groups stay in hotels and students are not permitted to explore the cities independently.
- Who runs the programs? Who are your directors?
Each session is led by a team of 2 - 3 program directors who are a mix of local, native speaking directors and U.S. based travel professionals & language teachers. Directors have personal experience with studying abroad and service bi-lingual and bi-cultural support for students throughout the program.
All directors complete an annual evaluation and screening that includes a civil & criminal background check.
- Is Horizons Abroad a "party program"?
No! We have a strict No-Alcohol policy as well as curfew for all students. Directors are physically with students for much of the day and communicate constantly with homestays to ensure that students are well supervised throughout the program. Any failure to adhere to the Student Standards of Conduct is subject to consequences up to and including expulsion from the program and being sent home.
Curfew for all students is 11:00 p.m. on school nights (Sunday to Thursday) and 12:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.