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Home > Programmes > Secondary School Exchange

‘My year in America opened my eyes to civil rights and what they mean’

Secondary School Exchange

key facts

  • What: Year at an American high school
  • Age: Post-Year 13 students
  • Price: £330 admin fee + up to £5,000. Grants available
  • When: Exchanges run September to June annually. Applications are open from November to February

in brief

The ESU’s Secondary School Exchange offers students the opportunity to spend a gap year at an American high school at the end of Year 13. It’s a fantastic chance for students to spend time abroad broadening their horizons, making new friends and continuing their education free of exam pressures.

Alumni include singer-songwriter and musician KT Tunstall, comedian Dawn French, journalist and novelist Rosie Millard OBE and writer and director Dick Clement. Feedback is overwhelmingly positive, with students reporting increased confidence, a better understanding of diverse perspectives and the sheer joy of being fully immersed in another culture.

‘I have benefited immeasurably. I have made new friends and memories to last a lifetime. I took part in a new sport, learned theatre skills, took up subjects that my school back home could never offer, and had the opportunity to develop socially, personally and academically. In the process I met amazing people from all around the world, and visited some of the world’s greatest cities.’

Calum Stewart, SSE alumnus, 2017-18

What students receive

  • Scholarship (worth $45,000 to $65,000) to a private US high school
  • Full board and lodging plus access to all of the school’s facilities and activities
  • Opportunity for independent travel in the holidays
  • Once-in-a-lifetime experience that builds self-confidence
  • Exposure to other points of view and a different way of life
  • The chance to study different subjects and subjects taught from a different perspective and to participate in new sports and pastimes
  • Chance to take part in spring break, prom and graduation
  • A more discussion-based approach to teaching, setting them up for university
  • Positive life experience that is often a differentiating factor in university and job interviews
  • Means-tested grants of up to £4,500 are available to applicants, as is one full award to cover additional costs
100% of SSE participants over the last two years strongly agree or agree that ‘The SSE has increased my confidence’

find out more

Applications are now closed. We will open for 2020-2021 SSE applications in November.

Questions?

If you have any questions or queries about the Secondary School Exchange please email education@esu.org or call 020 7529 1572.

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