High School Immersion in the USA – Classic Program – 1 semester or 1 academic year

Our one-semester or one-year “classic” high school program in the USA is open to motivated participants aged 15 to 18 and a half.

It offers a real immersion in the American language and culture, by sharing the daily life of a host family and attending high school, just like an American student your own age!

  • 24-hour immersion in American language and culture
  • Experience authentic America through the daily life of a host family
  • Discover a fundamentally different school system
  • Program open to participants aged 15 or over and 18 and a half before departure
  • Mastery of everyday English
  • Gain in maturity and confidence
  • Forge lasting, international friendships

The United States is so vast that it’s hard to cover it all, even in one lifetime! Immersing yourself in American culture for a semester or a school year with our high school program will enable you to grasp different facets of this immense country: a multi-cultural society, unforgettable landscapes, but above all warm-hearted inhabitants who are always willing to share their values. By immersing yourself in another educational system, you’ll be able to discover a different form of teaching, choose subjects that you wouldn’t have the opportunity to study here, and get involved in various extra-curricular activities to enrich your stay and create lasting memories.

Stays can take place anywhere in the United States, although most placements are in central states such as Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa,… Families can be located in small communities or in larger cities. In all cases, you’ll be totally immersed in the language and culture of the country.

The U.S. and Canada are vast countries, with vast geographical distances. The car is the main means of travel, and public transit systems are generally underdeveloped, with the exception of some major cities. European exchange students, accustomed to using public transport for their travels, will have to adapt to this cultural difference and learn to plan their journeys according to the transport options available.


What do our students think?

You’ll attend a public high school. In the United States, we don’t work by class but by year and level. The course is therefore individualized. The level at which you study may vary from one subject to another, determined by your level in the chosen subject and your level of English. For example, you could take maths in 11th grade and history in 10th grade.

English (mother tongue) is required for both semesters. It is also compulsory to take at least 1 course in each of these 4 subjects during the school year (1st or 2nd semester): US history (or U.S Government, Civics, or similar), Math, Social Science and Physical Science. Classes are held in the morning, with the afternoon devoted to extra-curricular activities.

In most American schools, the choice of subjects is vast: psychology, sociology, literature, drama, pottery, journalism, architectural design, speech, media, computer science…

It’s a unique opportunity to discover new fields or improve your skills in a subject you love. Some courses last a semester, so you can change options midway through the year if you wish.

There’s just as much choice when it comes to extra-curricular activities: soccer, baseball, tennis, swimming, athletics, basketball, volleyball, charity club, student council, fanfare, debate club, speech club, year book and so on.

The same student can take courses at different levels depending on the subjects chosen, for example: US History in 9th grade, Environmental Science in 11th grade and Geometry in 10th grade. The choice of class is made by the school principal.

Schooling in the U.S. lasts 12 years, as it does in the U.S.: high school covers the last 4 years of secondary school, from 9th grade to 12th grade. However, the school system and the way it works are very different from ours. We don’t operate by class, but by year and by level. As a result, courses are individualized. Students take each course at the level corresponding to their level in that subject and their level of English.

There is no government-imposed curriculum, which is defined locally. Students take 4/5 subjects per semester. The choice of subjects is generally vast and varied: US history, English, Math, Sciences, Debating, Speech, Pottery, Cooking, etc.

Classes start early in the morning (7:30/8:00) and finish around 3:00 p.m., with the rest of the afternoon devoted to extra-curricular activities. The school year begins between early August and mid-September, depending on the school.

Stays can take place anywhere in the United States. However, students participating in this program are generally placed in the central states of the country (Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa…). This gives them the opportunity to discover the true “American way of life”. Families generally live in medium-sized cities, but can also live in small towns or more rural areas, so students integrate more easily into local communities, and take part in all the city’s cultural and social activities. This integration is all the more successful as it’s much easier to get to know your neighbors in a small town than in a metropolis.

The United States and Canada are vast countries, with vast geographical distances. The car is the main means of travel, and public transport networks are generally underdeveloped, with the exception of some major cities. European exchange students, accustomed to using public transport for their travels, will have to adapt to this cultural difference and learn to plan their journeys according to the transport options available.

Option: regional choice

Do you prefer to live in the city or do you enjoy outdoor activities? The “regional choice” option lets you select the region that best suits your objectives. Places are limited for each region, so early registration is essential.

The choice cannot be guaranteed, but it is usually respected if you register on time.

If the choice is not respected, the option fee is refunded.

The regional choice option is only available for departures in August and for a fully completed application sent before 12/31.

The regions

Northern Michigan

A region of spectacular scenery, dunes, lakes and lush meadows, located on Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, near the northern shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Outdoor enthusiasts will find no shortage of activities to enjoy in all seasons, from water sports of all kinds to snowboarding and skating, or any other outdoor sport you can dream up.

The Twin Cities, Minneaopolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota

These 2 cities and their surrounding areas are known as the “Twin Cities”. Saint-Paul is the capital of Minnesota. It’s rich in history and proud of its classic architecture, while Minneapolis is the state’s largest city and is renowned for its arts and music scene, as well as its many bike paths.

Central Minnesota

Central Minnesota has the charm of small-town America, where everyone knows everyone else and is welcomed with open arms. But you’ll also find stores, malls, art galleries, restaurants serving a variety of cuisines… The only thing you won’t find here is hustle and bustle.

Central Wisconsin

This region is filled with forests, scenic roads, rolling hills, lakes and rivers where you can ski, fish or boat. Central Wisconsin is known for its small towns and incomparable hospitality. A unique region to experience what you can’t experience anywhere else.

Southern Wisconsin

Southern Wisconsin offers the charm of small towns, warm and supportive, where hospitality is not an empty word. But beyond these small towns, you’ll find not only Madison, Wisconsin’s capital, but also Dells, the waterpark capital of the world, with its 8 indoor and 3 outdoor parks, including over 200 waterslides. Lovers of outdoor activities will find plenty to do here, any time of year.

Southeast Wisconsin

This region is made up of 8 counties and is home to the state’s largest city, Milwaukee. Southeast Wisconsin vibrates with a youthful, dynamic energy. It’s bordered by Lake Michigan, one of the 5 Great Lakes of North America, whose coastline offers spectacular views of the heart of the United States.

Florida

Florida is the southernmost state in the USA. It’s almost entirely surrounded by water and boasts miles of beaches. You can canoe in Everglades National Park, watch a rocket launch from Cape Canaveral or visit one of the countless theme parks. The north is bordered by Alabama and Georgia, while the south abounds in valleys and sinkholes.

Eastern South Dakota

A state of great natural beauty. Western South Dakota is home to many famous sites, such as Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, a reflection of the natural splendor of the landscape, crystal-clear mountain waters, granite and emerald gleams, and immense prairies teeming with wildlife. The major cities are located in the southeast of the state.

Host families are volunteers. They are selected by the local correspondent for their genuine desire to welcome a young foreigner and share their culture with him or her through daily life. The local correspondent visits the families’ homes to ensure that they can offer the participant a balanced and warm environment.

There’s no such thing as a typical family. Each one is unique and reflects the society and way of life of the country you have chosen. Your host family may or may not have children; it may be a blended family or a single-parent family, a single person whose children no longer live at home, retired people or younger people. They may live in a large conurbation or a smaller town. It’s not the composition of the family or where they live that’s important, but their willingness and motivation to share their culture with you.

From a practical point of view, you havea single or shared room, depending on the placement, and benefit from half-board during the week and full-board at weekends and during school vacations.

The local correspondent is an experienced person who knows the host families and stays in regular contact with the students and their American parents throughout the stay. He or she organizes regular meetings and makes sure that the stay goes well, both with the host family and at the school. As he can act quickly in the event of a problem, he remains your privileged contact on site.

Our local correspondents work closely with our partner in the U.S. and have been looking after foreign students for many years, so they know how to react quickly and effectively if the need arises.

Before you leave

To ensure that your stay goes as smoothly as possible, and that you are fully informed about the various elements of the program, we organize a pre-departure information meeting, which you are encouraged to attend.

It is organized by Langues Vivantes in Brussels, in June. It provides an opportunity to discuss various aspects of the program (the school, the family, cultural differences, program rules, etc.) as well as all practical questions (travel, luggage, insurance, etc.).

If you don’t live in Belgium, we can organize a meeting at our offices in Paris or, if necessary, an online meeting to explain all the steps you need to take to ensure your stay goes as smoothly as possible.

On arrival

A few days after your arrival, the local coordinator organizes an orientation meeting for all students under his or her responsibility.

An optionalorientation weekend in Chicago is available (only for participants arriving in August). Students from all over the world arrive in Chicago on Friday evening. They are greeted by our partner’s local team and follow a two-day program to get to know each other, visit the city and ask any final questions about their stay. They then fly back to their host families on Sunday, and can begin their stay equipped with everything they need to ensure their trip goes as smoothly as possible.

Please note: placements may be communicated to us very late, sometimes after the meeting in Chicago. In this case, students will not be able to attend this meeting, and will have a personalized briefing with their local coordinator once they arrive on site.

  • Must be aged between 15 and 18 and a half at the time of departure:
    • for departure in August 2023, participants’ date of birth must be between March 1, 2005 and August 20, 2008
    • for departure in January 2024, participants must have been born between August 15, 2005 and January 20, 2009
  • Have a language background enabling them to communicate without too many difficulties (minimum 5 years of English studies (3 years for students aged 15), or previous language stays): Compulsory ELTIS test with a minimum score of 216 for an August/September departure and 223 for a January departure (to be taken at our premises in Brussels or Paris)
  • Good academic results in English and other subjects over the past 3 years
  • Demonstrate motivation, maturity and adaptability

Please note! French students in their final year of high school are not eligible for this program. Strict J-1 visa regulations do not allow them to hold a high school diploma prior to departure.

Go while you’re still in high school (before 6th grade in Belgium or Terminale in France) and benefit from a discount on your Promo High School trip.

Promo Early Bird: complete your application before 15/08/22 and benefit from a €300 discount on the full school year program. See Promo Early Bird.


Do you meet the conditions for participation?

  1. Fill in the pre-registration form as soon as possible.
  2. On receipt, we’ll send you a provisional confirmation, including the total cost of your stay, a request for payment of €100 (for the language test and motivation interview), and the complete application form for your chosen program. We’ll also ask you to send us a copy of your school reports for the last 3 years.
  3. We then invite you to come and take the language test and interview at our offices in Brussels or Paris. The cost of this interview is payable on receipt of the pre-confirmation and is non-refundable, but can be deducted from the balance of the stay in the event of definitive enrolment and acceptance to the program. Part 1 of the application form must be completed and brought with you to the interview.
  4. We will confirm the result no later than 8 days after our interview.
  5. If the interview is positive, we ask you to pay a deposit of 25% of the total cost of your stay (with a minimum of €1,500) and to complete all the elements of your file, which includes letters of recommendation from your teachers and other information needed to study your application on site. As soon as your application is complete and we have received your deposit, we will forward it to our partner.
  6. Final acceptance to the program is granted by our partner.
  7. Once your application has been accepted, our partner begins the process of finding and selecting a host family and school.
  8. The process of finding and selecting a family can take a long time, so please be patient.

PAYMENT TERMS

The deadline for submission of complete applications is :

  • april 15 for an August departure
  • september 15 for a January departure

Pre-registration forms must be completed and sent to our offices in Brussels or Paris at least 3 weeks before the application deadline.

Late registration fees will be applied to all applications requiring urgent processing.

Too late to apply? Consider the High School Premium program! With almost identical conditions, this program allows you to submit your application by June 13 at the latest for an August departure, and November 28 for a January departure.

Departure is generally scheduled for August (sometimes late July or early September, depending on the school and the placement date) for stays of one semester to one academic year. For semester-long stays, departure is also scheduled in January. Your family or local correspondent will meet you at the airport and drive you back at the end of your stay.

Once your registration has been accepted and confirmed by our American partner, and your visa application has been approved, we can book your trip to the USA, if you wish. The ticket booked includes as few stopovers as possible and can be changed.

In the event of a change, the airline’s change fees will apply (these vary from company to company, generally around €200), as well as any difference in fare class.

If you prefer to book your trip yourself, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to make your reservation. Please note that you must arrive at your destination before 10 pm.

An Exchange Visitor Visa (J1) is required to participate in this program. It will be issued for the duration of your stay. We’ll provide you with all the documents you need to obtain it, and assist you in the process.

The ESTA form is also mandatory for all travelers to the United States. It must be completed at least 72 hours before departure by following this link.

Basic medical insurance is included in the cost of your stay.

For more comprehensive coverage, we recommend that you take out our travel insurance, fully adapted to young people’s stays abroad.

Dates 2024 – 2025

  • School year: August* to June (varies by school)
  • School semester: August* to December or January to June (varies by school)
  • Orientation weekend in Chicago: dates to be confirmed

*The dates for the start of the school year are set by the schools and can range from the end of July to mid-September. Dates of stay are therefore fixed once the participant has received his/her placement.

Fares with flights subject to ticket prices at time of booking

Prices 2024-2025

WPCS 42.0.3
Tuition room and board, all registration fees, transfers included (flights NOT included)
Programme durationPrice
Academic semester 8.745
Academic year 10.750
Tuition, accommodation and meals, all registration fees (flights and taxes included)
Course durationPrice
Academic semester - Departure from Paris or Brussels 10.645
Academic year - Departure from Paris or Brussels  12.650
Optional regional choice
All regions 1.075
Weekend orientation in Chicago (for those departing in August only)
2 days 650

Late registration surcharge (registration and complete file received after 31/03/2024): 300€

Our rates include :

  • English level test and pre-application interview
  • Public school tuition
  • Host family search fees
  • Half-board accommodation with a host family during the school year
  • Assistance, support and follow-up throughout the stay
  • Regular contact and evaluation reports
  • Official certificate of attendance, including grades for courses taken, depending on destination
  • Return transfer from designated airport to host family
  • All documents required to obtain a J-1 visa
  • Basic medical insurance
  • Return flight, if chosen, from Brussels or Paris

Not included:

  • Return trip to designated airport, depending on option chosen
  • Optional orientation weekend in Chicago (August departures only)
  • Visa fees (approx. 560 USD)
  • Lunch at the school (approx. $3-5 per day)
  • Pocket money: $250-300 per month
  • School fees for use of books, lockers, labs, etc. (depending on the school, allow up to $400)
  • Medical assistance/accident/repatriation/RCI insurance
  • Any additional costs related to Covid (e.g. quarantine, tests, etc.)

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