NJ Schools and Culture


All students must have the Meningitis (Meningococcal) vaccine before starting school.  The AFS insurance does not cover the cost of immunizations and the student is strongly advised to be immunized before arrival in the USA.

Teen life in New Jersey is centered around the high schools, with sports, language clubs, service clubs, and activities like the choir, orchestra, marching band, school newspaper and school plays that you can participate in. There are also scout troops, church youth groups and numerous other opportunities for you to meet people.

This is a great time to try something new!
The schools in New Jersey are as varied as the population. We have city high schools with thousands of students, and small towns whose entire high school population is only in the hundreds. AFS also works with several private schools which host exchange students every year. These schools can be very challenging and require good English skills. Most AFSers find that American high schools are easier academically than their home schools.

Most schools allow students to choose some of the subjects they will study, and most offer art and music classes. Computers and computer classes are found in nearly all schools. High school sports programs are usually extensive: football, basketball, baseball, ice hockey, field hockey, tennis, track and field, soccer, swimming and wrestling are popular. Classes at most schools start on about the second week in September. A typical school day starts at 7:30 a.m., and ends at 2:30 p.m.

Please bring your most recent grades with you.

History and Culture

New Jersey has always been an important link between New York City and Philadelphia, which were the first and second capitals of the nation.

Four major battles during the American Revolution were fought here. While New Jersey is one of the smallest states, it is the ninth largest state in population, with 7 million people. Known as ‘The Garden State’, New Jersey is famous for its farms, which produce wonderful tomatoes, corn, peaches, cranberries and blueberries. New Jersey is also known as a major manufacturing state for chemicals, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications equipment.

With its proximity to New York City, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington, DC, cultural attractions abound. Locally, New Jersey has numerous fine museums and historic sites, and nearly all of the state’s cities and towns offer a variety of opportunities to see theater, dance and music groups.


About 10 percent of New Jersey’s population was born outside the U.S., and an even greater number are second-generation Americans. The largest group is of Italian descent. New Jersey also has a large Spanish speaking population and is the home of many Portuguese, Brazilian, Korean and Vietnamese immigrants. The state also has about one million African-Americans.


Please be aware that smoking is not as common in the US as it is in other countries. In New Jersey, it is illegal to buy cigarettes if you are under 19. Smoking is not permitted in most public places - especially schools. If you are a smoker and have agreed to abstain, we expect you to honor your commitment to AFS and your host family.

Fun facts about New Jersey