U.S. Department of Education: Promoting Educational Excellence for all Americans
U.S. Network for Education Information (USNEI)
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Disclaimer & Policy

Primary and Secondary Level

Students in the elementary and secondary grades go abroad to study for the same reasons that older students do--cultural enrichment and foreign experience--and also because their parents may go overseas to find work or be transferred there by an employer. School-age children studying abroad may be enrolled in a U.S. style school, either private or U.S. government operated, or be enrolled in a local school that is part of the education system of the country in which they reside or a neighboring country. Whatever the reason for going abroad to study at this level, parents and children are often frustrated by the lack of information and assistance available for people in their situations. USNEI is attempting to help remedy this problem by providing the information presented here.

Education in Other Countries

Placing a child or dependent young adult in a foreign school requires following the laws and regulations of the education authorities in the host country, and the rules of the school itself. Studying in a local school overseas can be an exciting and enriching experience for any child.

USNEI provides links to Web sites overseas that describe the primary and secondary school systems of individual countries. You can find these sites under National Information Sources. Not all countries have such sites.

Other essential information can be found under Going Abroad, which provides links to U.S. agencies and foreign government representatives that you need to know about and work with in order to have a successful overseas experience for you and your family.

American-Style Education Abroad

U.S. Pattern Schools Abroad. The U.S. Department of State provides extensive information on, and links to, overseas schools that provide primary and secondary education following the U.S. model and that award an American high school diploma. Most of these schools are privately controlled and charge fees for tuition and, in some cases, room and board.

DOD Dependent Schools. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) operates an extensive network of elementary and secondary schools for the children of its personnel stationed abroad, as well as for the children of employees of other agencies and contractors. This system of schools is fully accredited by U.S. regional associations and are staffed by licensed U.S. teachers and administrators.

International Schools

International schools are schools that either offer the curricula and programs characteristic of more than one country, or offer curricula and programs other than that of the host country in which they are located. Most of these schools are privately operated and are recognized, or accredited, by the host country's education authorities or by those of the countries whose curricula and programs are offered by them. Among the Internet resources providing information on such schools are:

Association of American Schools in South America (AASSA)

European Council of Independent Schools (ECIS)

Mediterranean Association of International Schools (MAIS)

Near East/South Asian Council of Independent Schools (NESA)

Secondary Student Exchange Programs

Student exchange programs available to American school-age children and their families tend to be geared to adolescents in the high school grades. Some of the major programs that operate web sites are described below.

American Council for International Studies (ACIS) provides information on ACIS sponsored study opportunities for high school students and graduates prior to going to college.

American Institute for Foreign Study provides information and links regarding several exchange programs for secondary as well as postsecondary students.

U.S. Department of State Youth Exchange Programs are sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to foster interaction between American high school students and secondary school students from abroad.

World Learning Summer Programs provide living and learning experiences for high school age students in overseas settings during the summer months. The program is also known as the Experiment in International Living.

Youth for Understanding (YFU) sponsors summer, semester, and academic year exchanges for U.S. students in over 40 countries. The students live with host families and attend local schools.