Frequently Asked Questions
We realize that participants and their parents/guardians often have different questions about our Teenagers Abroad programs; therefore, this entire section is just for YOU - the participant of our programs.
Here are the most often questions asked by participants and their parents/guardians:
Once you have read this section, all of your questions should be answered. If not, please contact us directly! We enjoy hearing from prospective students and we want to help you find the perfect Teenagers Abroad program!
What's so great about Teenagers Abroad?
Feel free to email any of our references to hear firsthand what they enjoy most about their program or you could just find out for yourself and enroll now! Past students have expressed to us that our program is so great because it gives teenagers a chance to spend a few weeks away from their normal daily routine at home, it provides students the chance to meet other young students from around the world, and it allows students to study a language in the country where it’s regularly spoken. Did we mention that all of this is done without any parents around!
By participating in one of our Teenagers Abroad programs you will be opening up tons of opportunities to learn a new language and make new international friends that will remain close for an entire lifetime! Our full immersion programs have a way of changing the students in ways they never expected. Year after year, we receive testimonials from our teen participants telling us about their newly founded friendships and the great time they had while participating in the activities and classes of our programs. The goal of our Teenagers Abroad program is to make each one of our students agree that participating was one of the best decisions of their lives!
What will the other participants be like?
One of the best things about Teenagers Abroad is the diversity in the nationalities of the program’s participants! Only 35% of our total participants in our European programs come from North America, the rest of the participants come from all around the world! Of course these numbers vary based on location, but the gender breakdown is about 60% of participants are female and 40% are male.
Many of the participants speak multiple languages, such as Italian, French, German, Greek, Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish and Japanese. It is common that participants return home knowing a few new words from their roommate’s native language, as well as drastically improving their skills in the local language!
How much free time will I have?
The rules pertaining to leisure/free time vary between the program locations and between the residential and host family programs. Check the Teenagers Abroad website for your specific program’s curfews & other limitations.
For students under the age of 16 years old, you are considered to be ‘underage’ in most countries; hence, stricter rules apply for your own safety. The purpose of all of our freedom restrictions is for our students’ safety, not because we don’t want you to have a great time while abroad. Even with these restrictions you will have a fabulous experience by making new friends, eating new foods, and speaking a foreign language, all while you live and study abroad!
What are the rules?
The policies and rules outlined by Teenagers Abroad are the foundations of a healthy, safe and enjoyable study abroad experience. Students that feel that they will be unable to follow our rules should not enroll in a Teenagers Abroad program.
Students that break the rules may be expelled from the program and not awarded a refund. Also, expelled students will be responsible to cover all travel costs for their return trip home. Some of the rules that apply to all students in a Teenagers Abroad program include:
• Alcohol, drugs, tobacco and sex are prohibited. With justifiable reason, our staff has the right to search for illegal substances.
• Behavior that is detrimental to the safety and/or enjoyment of others will not be tolerated
• Student participation should be enthusiastic. Mutual respect is expected between our staff and our students.
Should I join the program on my own?
We recommend all prospective students to partake in our programs without their best friend. Most of our students travel on their own, but if you really want to enroll with a friend, by all means do so. Just be sure to let us know that you have a friend in the same program if the two of you wish to room together. Such requests much come from both parties in order for us to be certain that both students will be happy with such an arrangement.
It is encouraged that students speak the language of their chosen program at all times. There will be many international students on the campus, many of which will share a common native language. We ask that students refrain from speaking in their mother tongue and only speak in the local language.
Will anyone understand me if I don't speak the language very well?
Our Teenagers Abroad programs are available for all levels of language abilities. The program staff will expect you to at least try to speak the local language upon arrival. Many host family members do not speak English and English will not be spoken in the majority of our classrooms.
Also, many of the other students will not be able to speak English, as fluency in English is not a requirement of our programs. This is how the total immersion and communicative teaching method is used in our classes.
It could happen that other international students will try to practice their English with you, but we encourage you to refrain from doing so and speak the local language only. It is proven that the more you use and practice a new language the better and faster you will learn it. And don’t worry, all program directors are fluent in several languages; therefore, they will be able to communicate with you if necessary.
Can I get a high school credit?
Our language programs are mainly operated through private language schools that are not connected with any formal credit-granting institutions. Therefore, it can be rather difficult to get high school credit for completing one of our programs.
We recommend that you talk to your high school guidance counselor about gaining credits for one of our abroad programs. Take with you a color-copy PDF of the program you are interested in, and a Teenagers Abroad brochure.
The final decision of whether you will be granted credits or not will be up to your high school office staff. If they decide to grant you credit, be sure to have all of the necessary paperwork when you return from our program. For example, written work, exams, quizzes, etc… To avoid confusion, be sure to get all agreements and information in writing and with signatures.
Upon returning to your high school, you may be asked to complete a follow-up exam, write a paper or do a presentation, proving what you have learned in our program. It is common that North American school administrators require students to attend an international program for at least 3 weeks to qualify for academic credit.
Normally, Teenagers Abroad doesn’t have a structured course outline, as we customize our courses based on needs and desires of the students. We focus on building confidence in each of the students so that can actually speak the language! We are, however, happy to provide any information available about our course outlines if it is requested by your guidance counselor or academic advisor.
What if I don't like my roommates or my host family?
It is actually extremely rare that participants of Teenagers Abroad do not enjoy their the people that they meet while abroad. It is possible that there be times that personalities clash or communications breakdown, which causes cultural misunderstandings. We just ask that our participants try to have an open mind and try to handle small disagreements among yourselves. Serious matter should be brought directly to your group leader or program director.
If a problem reaches the staff, they will do their best to deal with it immediately. Very seldom will it occur that a problem can’t be resolved. However, if this is the case, you will be transferred to another host family or room. To enjoy yourself during one of our programs, you have to give the experience an honest chance. You need to fully commit to learning/speaking the local language and leave any person problems and negative attitudes at home.
Our staff is prepared to handle sensitivity issues related to racism, sexism and group dynamics. They will do their best to make the program a positive one for everybody involved.
What language experience do I need?
All that is truly needed is a willingness to try and an interest to make new friends. Otherwise, talk to a representative from our North American office so that we can match your readiness, age and abilities with the right program.
We ask that before you depart to begin your program, that you research the host country a bit, brush up on your previously acquired language skills through use of language CD’s and tapes, and search the internet for music, TV/radio programs in the target language. We have heard from our past participants that this preparation helped a lot and made their trip much more enjoyable!
What is the food like?
Naturally, the food is different in each of our locations based on the local culture and availability. However, all meals are made with young people’s preferences in mind.
We can accommodate vegetarian, kosher, low-sugar and other special diets as long as dietary restrictions and needs are made aware to us upon enrollment. Otherwise, part of the immersion process and cultural sensitivity requires that you eat like the locals do at your chosen location. It may be a little different than what you’re used to but give it a chance and you’ll find the food to be filling and satisfying!
Is it safe?
We only have programs in countries/cities that are considered to be safe by North American standards. Since 1996, we, therefore, have not had any major incidents when it comes to the health and safety of our students. Also, all of our international partners have proven that their top priority is the safety of their students. With that said, we still advise that students take extra caution when they travel / study abroad.
If I need a visa, do you arrange this for me?
No. Students are responsible for obtaining all needed visas and passports. We recommend visiting the CIBT Visa website to learn more about the visa requirements of the country you wish to visit. This website also offers official Visa Application Forms that you can download and print.
In most cases, North American citizens that require a visa to visit a foreign country must apply for a Tourist Visa (not a student or study visa). Because our programs are not long in duration, your primary reason for travel will be tourism. Please let us know if a “Letter of Invitation” is required from us for you to obtain the necessary visa.
Check The State Department's Homepage for Consular Offices and Embassies in the USA.
Can I call home?
Absolutely. Upon arrival at their final destination, all students are advised to call home to their families. Our staff will be happy to help you with this on the first day. Our staff can help you purchase an international calling card, which will allow you to call home. In the rare case of an emergency, our staff will do everything possible to reach families. However, we suggest that students not call home more than once a week, otherwise it detracts from the student’s experience abroad.
The first few days when being abroad are sometimes difficult but we still ask that you try to avoid calling home so that you can adapt to the new routine and culture quicker. Within a week, the majority of participants are settled in and very comfortable with being abroad.
You should remind your friends and family that not calling them is an indication that everything is fine! If you can deal without it for a few weeks, you should leave your cell phone at home. Making international calls with it can be very expensive and sometimes roaming charges apply, even when not in use!
What is the program staff like?
Our group leaders are very young, with an average age of 22, and our teachers are just a bit older. Regardless of age, our staff is dedicated to teaching and leading international teenagers during their time abroad. Teachers of the language classes are professional and qualified in teaching a foreign language to young students.
Our program activity monitors have been trained to provided the young students with interesting and varied programs. They are sensitive to the large variety of cultural and linguistic backgrounds of our students. All escorts and guides during activities and excursions are certified, insured, experienced and equipped to provide students with a high level of fun and safe instruction.
Our senior program managers abroad are sure to choose staff members that are enthusiastic, enjoy helping young students, and have genuine interest in making a fun and positive learning adventure for you during your experience abroad.
What if I get sick?
At each of our program locations, there is access to efficient and reliable medical care from doctors and hospitals. You will be able to speak English with the medical staff and doctors if needed. At some of our locations, we even have a doctor or nurse on-site. If your are legitimately ill and are not able to participate in classes and activities, please let our staff know immediately so that they can take the appropriate action.
Prior to enrolling in a program, please inform Teenagers Abroad about any pre-existing health conditions you may have. This way we can prepare our camp staff for your needs and they will be able to make any special arrangements. Program participants of Teenagers Abroad are required to carry medical insurance and have proof of coverage upon arrival. Teenagers Abroad offers a great medical insurance plan to those who do not have insurance.
Please check with your parents about your existing insurance policy. Also, check our website for more details about the medical coverage we offer to our students.