Year — Fall 2020
Semester — Fall 2020
Year — Fall 2019
Sep 3-6, 2019 → Jul 4-7, 2020
Semester — Fall 2019
Sep 3-6, 2019 → Feb 15-18, 2020
Semester — Spring 2020
Feb 11-14, 2020 → Jul 25-28, 2020
Germany is a world of majestic palaces, charming villages, and cutting-edge cities brimming with cosmopolitan delights. Known as the land of “Dichter und Denker” (poets and thinkers), Germany is an epicenter of artistic innovation and thought-provoking conversations. Famous for world-class musicians like Wagner and Bach, opera, theater, and classical music are popular, easily-accessible, and inexpensive.
Develop fluency in the German language and cultures by staying with a host family and attending school at a local Gymnasium, Realschule, Gesamtschulen, or Stadtteilschulen. You’ll be a vital part of your host family and community. You’ll be so much more than a tourist.
Still, you’ll be able to explore this enchanting country. During your high school study abroad in Germany, you might scale or ski the Bavarian Alps. You could also marvel at medieval fortresses or Renaissance palaces recently converted into modern hotels, restaurants, or museums.
Germans are generally direct communicators, valuing honesty and openness. They also tend to be punctual and orderly, so you can expect trains and buses to arrive on time. If you’re environmentally-conscious, you’ll appreciate Germany’s emphasis on recycling and conservation!
Germany’s reputation for quality and efficiency means you’ll likely attend a well-organized, competitive German school, where you’ll be able to learn the language and experience life as a German teenager. With so many intellectual pursuits in store, you’re sure to have a thrilling, transformative, and educational exchange year!
You’ll most likely attend a college prep school called a Gymnasium, but you could also be enrolled in a Realschule (which only goes up to grade 10), Gesamtschule (a comprehensive public school), or Stadtteilschulen. In Germany, students usually go to school Monday through Friday, though in some areas they also go to school on Saturdays. High school in Germany usually begins around 7:30 or 8:30 am and ends by 2 pm. The relationship between students and their teachers is usually both friendly and respectful in Germany.
Even if your teachers are casual, they will expect you to come to class on time, complete homework in a timely fashion, and participate actively in class.
Because most German students don’t attend high school in the afternoon, many teenagers are involved in local sports clubs (Verein) or music lessons. Most host families will encourage you to participate in after-school activities – they’re a great way to make friends and learn about German culture.
You’ll begin learning German through a Rosetta Stone course before you depart to help you communicate with your host family and friends as soon as you arrive in Germany. If you stay for the full year, you’ll have the opportunity to take additional language lessons with your local AFS volunteer chapter.
AFSers have lived in communities all throughout the country, but you’re most likely to be hosted in a small town or rural area. Family life and social order are important in Germany, but so is independence. You can count on the support of your host parents while also getting the chance to explore on your own.
Like anywhere in the world, all families in Germany are different. Most are industrious, thrifty, and organized. Many Germans like to discuss politics, sports, culture, philosophy, or the environment, so you should be prepared to share your opinion. Deep and wide-ranging intellectual conversations are generally preferred over small talk. And, again, direct and honest communication is common and appreciated. Be open with your host family and you should learn a lot and find a respectful mutual understanding.
Punctuality is pretty important. Don’t be too early or too late; be on time. The German language could sound a little harsh and attitudes may seem reserved or stiff at first, but don’t take it personally if you receive fewer smiles or laughs than you expect. Germans may take a little longer to make friends, but they are undoubtedly true companions.
"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 feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though - others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.
It’s not just an adventure abroad; it’s a whole new reality. The intercultural perspectives and personal connections you gained will stay with you and likely draw you back to the second home you found in Germany.
A new you awaits. Apply for High School Study Abroad in Germany!
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.