School Year Abroad (SYA) is a leading high school, study abroad, homestay program, supported by a consortium of 45 top independent schools across the country. Originally founded by Phillips Academy in 1964, SYA now independently runs schools in four countries abroad: China, France, Italy & Spain. SYA is the only secondary education program that grants high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to live with an Asian or European host family while still earning U.S. graduation credits required for admission to selective colleges and universities.
As a language and culture immersion program, the homestay and academic emphasis on language acquisition are designed to make sure that students return home with a true mastery of the target language. All the while, teachers from leading U.S. high schools provide instruction in traditional core classes–math and English literature–to ensure that students are able to seamlessly transition back into their home school or onto college. SYA also administers necessary standardized tests, including the ACT, SAT, and Advanced Placement exams.
Recognizing the breath of opportunity available in each country, and the importance of learning in both traditional and non-traditional contexts, the SYA student experience is complemented with participation in a host of extracurricular activities and relevant cultural and historically influenced travel.
While application to the programs in France and Spain carry a two-year minimum language study requirement, application to the programs in China and Italy are open to all level language students, beginner and upward.