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During your time studying abroad in India you can meet lots of new people, learn new languages, try delicious new foods, and create memories that will last a lifetime. India’s unique culture has been heavily influenced by its rich spiritual and religious traditions, and Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism all originated there. You’ll get a chance to experience the enormous diversity that India has to offer; there are literally hundreds of distinct languages and cultures.

Things to know

If you’re a vegetarian you’re in luck; vegetarianism is very common in India and you’ll have no problem finding lots of delicious foods to try! Indians typically eat with their right hand and the left hand is usually kept under the table. The principles of Mahatma Gandhi, including humility and nonviolence, are held in high reverence by most Indians. You’ll likely get to experience an Indian wedding – a days-long celebration with hundreds of people, complete with henna tattooes, colorful saris, and lots of dancing!

Eligibility Requirements


Graduates Eligible? No
Minimum GPA 2.5
Age Range 15 yrs, 6 months to
17 yrs, 6 months at start of program
Language Skills Not required
COVID-19 Vaccine Recommended but not required

Based on differences in culture, strict government regulation of medications, and other local customs, it has been our experience that not all of our international AFS partners are able to support students with certain diagnoses, including but not limited to, severe allergies, strict dietary restrictions, ADD/ADHD, and those currently taking or who have taken psychotropic medications and/or received counseling for mental/psychological issues within the past year. If this applies to you, please get in touch with an AFS Study Abroad Specialist early so that we can determine the right experience for you.

What's included in your experience

  • Airfare

Your journey to India

In the months before your departure, AFSers have the opportunity to participate in various preparatory activities, including an online Student Learning Journey, which is an interactive course that brings AFSers from around the world together to learn how to develop essential global skills, intercultural communication techniques, and practice social impact, maximizing the outcomes of the AFS learning experience. 

AFS-USA will coordinate and share your international travel with you. You will need to coordinate your own travel to the point of international departure. From there, your journey in France will begin when you land, where you’ll be met by staff and volunteers …as well as your fellow AFSers from around the world! Shortly after arrival, you will attend an arrival orientation and get a crash course on Indian culture, living with a host family, safety, and support structures.

After your arrival orientation, you’ll be on your way to meet your host family and may get a glimpse of the diverse Indian countryside. You might see the massive Ganges River, vast deserts, fertile farmlands, and the majestic Himalayan Mountains in the distance. Personal styles and appearance also vary widely throughout India; you might see women wearing a bindi, or red dot on their foreheads, traditional saree, long fabric robes, or modern pantsuits. Many Indian men wear modern western style clothes. Wherever you go, you’re likely to smell wafts of delicious curry coming from peoples’ homes and local restaurants and see food carts with fried vegetables and fish lining the streets.


Meeting your Indian Host Family

AFSers have lived in communities throughout India, from the lush rainforests of the south to the drier, mountainous regions of the north. Family is a very important part of Indian society and you may find several generations living together in the same home. You might also find that the concept of privacy in India is different from what you’re used to; Indians tend to be very community oriented and enjoy living in groups. While all families are different you should expect that your host family will welcome you with open arms!


Settling into daily life in India

Teenage Life in India

As a teenager in India you’ll get the chance to make lots of new friends. Teenagers in India enjoy similar activities to young people everywhere, like watching and playing sports, going out to the movies, watching TV, shopping, going to the beach, or just hanging out with friends. You might also find that Indians like throwing parties and celebrating all kinds of events like having a baby or buying a new car. Their festivals are some of the most exciting in the world – especially that of Holi, which celebrates the triumph of good over evil and is celebrated by people throwing colorful paints and powders at each other in the streets until the whole town is rainbow-colored!


Food you’ll encounter when studying abroad in India

India is a huge country and the local diet really depends on the culture and region. In the north you’ll find that wheat bread is common, while in the south rice is much more prevalent. If you like spicy food then you’re really in for a treat. Many Indian curries are usually prepared very spicy but there are plenty of other options. Coconut is a common ingredient in the south and lentils and other legumes are an important part of Indian cuisine all over the country. Many of India’s religions also have particular dietary restrictions; the Hindus, for example do not eat beef, the Muslims don’t eat pork, and many Indians are vegetarians


Your High School in India

Education is taken very seriously in India and attending a local school will be both challenging and rewarding. You’ll probably spend a lot of time studying and you can expect to grow very close to your classmates. You may be enrolled in an Indian “public” school, which is the equivalent of a private school in the United States. Your classes may be taught in English and all students wear uniforms. Based on your interest and academic background you’ll choose a concentration of engineering, medicine, commerce, or art. Schools also offer lots of extracurriculars and you’ll have the opportunity to take art classes, debate, or sports like basketball or cricket.

You’ll also have the option of attending a boarding school for no extra cost. These are some of the best schools in India with state-of-the-art facilities. Your school will likely offer a variety of extracurriculars including yoga, horseback riding, swimming, rock climbing, fencing, and other sports. If you choose to attend a boarding school in India, you’ll live on campus five days per week and then stay with your host family on weekends and during holidays.

What's Included

  • 75+ years of experience delivering high-quality programs through a worldwide network of 32,000 dedicated volunteers
  • Accommodations with a vetted host family
  • Round-trip international airfare for the designated program dates
  • School enrollment fees
  • Worldwide, 24-hour emergency assistance
  • Access to an in-country support team and network, as well as our Participant Support Department based here in the U.S.
  • Orientations and intercultural education before and during your program
  • International secondary medical travel coverage
  • Visa support and guidance
  • Inclusion in a worldwide returnee and alumni network of over 1,000,000 people

Scholarships and Aid

We believe that studying abroad should not be contingent on personal finances. When you apply, we work with you to understand your family’s needs and match you with available scholarships and aid. 100% of accepted applicants with demonstrated need receive funds.

Learn More


Returning Home

“Life-changing” is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad. “Transformed” is another one.
When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and developed the confidence and resilience to accomplish anything you set out to do.
That transformation isn’t only visible to you, though – others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers. Second language fluency, intercultural competence, creativity, and critical reasoning will help you succeed, whatever path you take. “Life-changing” means it’s only the beginning.
It’s not just an adventure abroad; it’s a whole new reality. The perspectives and personal connections you gained will stay with you and likely draw you back to the second home you found in India.

In fact, our alumni reviews have made AFS one of the top-rated organizations in the study abroad industry.

A new you awaits.

Apply for High School Study Abroad in India!