What is the Outbound Program?
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United Studies Student Exchange, in conjunction with its foreign partners, provides this study abroad opportunity for American high school students who wish to experience life in another country for either an academic year or a semester. Students live with a carefully selected family and attend a local high school.
Why study abroad?
Students who live and study in another country can develop a proficiency in another language and learn about different ways of life. They have the opportunity to make new friends and to learn about themselves by acquiring self-confidence and a sense of self-reliance. Many students also find that an extended international study experience is very appealing to college admissions officers and future employers.
Who can participate?
Teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18 who are enrolled in a U.S. high school are eligible. Other requirements are a minimum grade average of "B" and at least two academic years of study of the host country language.
The most successful participants are teenagers who are bright, flexible, open-minded, and ready to learn about the world. They should be mature and in good health.
Where can I go and for how long?
United Studies offers programs in several countries; please review the brochure insert for more details on the specific countries and dates. The academic year program provides a ten-month experience of living with a host family and attending a local high school. Participants generally leave in early to mid-August. The duration of the semester program is five months, with a departure in either late summer or January.
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What will my host family be like?
The volunteer host families selected for United Studies exchange students are carefully screened. The families are diverse. They may have children of any age, not necessarily teenagers, or they may not have children at all. There may be other relatives living in the home. They may live in urban, suburban, or rural areas, and they may live in an apartment or on a farm. They will have one feature in common - a desire to welcome you into their home and to treat you as a member of the family. Students are matched with host families based on common interests and activities.
What will school be like?
American students often find school in other countries to be more rigorous than their school at home. School hours may be longer than you are used to and there may be more homework and fewer extracurricular activities. Nevertheless, you will find the school to be stimulating academic and social environment where you can learn a great deal about the culture and language of your host country.
It is important that all students confirm that their high school in the United States will accept credits from an overseas school before applying for the outbound program.
What support will I have when I am in the host country?
United Studies Student Exchange works with a foreign partner organization in each country. This organization provides support for all exchange students through their local coordinators. You will have access to the local coordinator, the main office of our foreign partner, and the United Studies office in the United States should you need assistance at any time during your exchange experience.
How much does it cost?
The program fees vary depending on the country and the length of the program. Please contact United Studies for this year's fees. A family may be eligible for a discount on the Outbound Program if they are also a USSE Host Family.
What does the program fee include?
The program fee includes the placement with a host family, enrollment in a high school, orientation sessions, support from a local coordinator, international travel from a designated U.S. departure city, transportation to the host family's home, and medical insurance.
What does the fee not include?
The fee does not include passport and visa fees, domestic transportation to the designated U.S. departure city, personal spending money, and any charges for school materials or uniforms.
When do I need to apply?
We encourage all interested students to submit their completed applications as early as possible to ensure that we have sufficient time to match you with an appropriate host family in the country of your choice. The deadline to submit an application is in the spring. Once received, the application is evaluated based on available space in the desired country and the merit of the applicant.
What is the application process like?
- Read through USSE materials to ensure a thorough understanding of the programs and services offered. If you have any questions, please feel free to call the main office or your representative for more information.
- Select the program in which you wish to participate.
- Complete and submit the enclosed application form along with the $50 non-refundable application fee and a $100 deposit.
- If your application is accepted, USSE will send you an admission portfolio for you to complete. The forms in the portfolio that an applicant needs to fill out include:
- a personal profile
- a request for two letters of recommendation (at least one of which must be from a senior teacher or administrator at your school)
- a request for a high school transcript
- a medical form to be completed by your physician
- instructions for a letter to your host family
- a request for photographs
- an emergency contact form
- a USSE policy agreement form (for signature)
- a personal profile
- A USSE representative will contact you to arrange an interview. The interview will be conducted to review your expectations for the program and to determine your overall capability to fully benefit from an exchange experience. You and your parents will also have the opportunity to ask questions about the program.
- After the interview and receipt of the admission portfolio, you will be notified of your official acceptance into the program and of the date and location of your pre-departure orientation session.
- Once USSE and its foreign partner organizations have matched you with a host family, we will provide you with their name and address and you may start corresponding with them. Although USSE attempts to finalize placements three weeks prior to your departure, it may take a little longer in some cases. We will notify you of any delays.
- Prepare yourself for the experience of a lifetime! Read our briefing materials, attend the predeparture orientation, get the latest news on your host country, collect photos of your friends and family to take with you, and start packing!
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