5 Hella Rad Homestay Program for High School Students

1. Spanish and Surf in Costa Rica with Nosara Spanish Institute

You won’t get thrown into the jungle without a safety net in Costa Rica (that’s what your host family is there for!). 

Immerse yourself in the warm waters and knowledge of expert instructors on the beaches of Nosara, Costa Rica. Whether you’re a novice or advanced-level surfer and/or Spanish-speaker, this program combines one of the best surf breaks in Costa Rica with an intensive Spanish program.

Pros: You get to spend spring break on a gorgeous beach in Costa Rica. Nowhere is quite as beautiful inside and out as the land of pura vida.

Cons: With all the English speakers running amok, it will be easy to revert back to your mother tongue instead of practicing your new Spanish skills. You just have to commit! This will be easier to do in your homestay program.

2. Conservation in Thailand with Projects Abroad

Enjoy learning about the intricate details of Thai life. 

Get your PADI diving certification and use it for good off the shores of Thailand. Observe and study the extent of reef damage and its impact on fish populations, work to conserve a marine ecosystem, and assist with beach cleanup and reforestation work.

Pros: Thailand is brimming with adventure. When you need to dry off, there will be plenty of on-shore adventures with your name on them!

Cons: Much of Thailand practices the Buddhist religion and follows a conservative way of life. Be respectful of beliefs and customs and, even though it’s hot, try to keep your shoulders and knees covered whenever possible.

3. Volunteer in Ghana with OGVO

When you’re welcomed into your host family’s home, you’re welcomed into their entire community. 

Volunteering in Ghana will open your eyes and your heart as you fall in love with vibrant cities, coastal beaches, African wildlife, and the lives you touch as you make your positive impact. Get ready to hear: Akwabba! Welcome to Ghana!

Pros: Often called “Africa for beginners,” Ghana is considered one of the safest and most stable countries in Africa. Be sure to hit this selling point hard when you petition to get your parental permission slip signed.

Cons: There is nothing quite as eye opening as volunteering in a place where the people are dealing with very real challenges. You will undoubtedly hear stories and see things that will break your heart, but will teach you about true resilience. It will be incredibly hard, but you will go home more open-minded and appreciative after a homestay in Ghana.

Summer Homestay Programs

Didn’t we just convince you not to spend spring break sleeping late and binge-watching? Why spend your summer that way, too? Instead, opt for any of these summer homestay programs abroad.

4. Peace Studies in South Korea with The Experiment in International Living

Your host-mom’s cooking will bring a whole new meaning to Seoul food. 

Journey through Korea’s past and present during a summer of peace studies and cultural immersion. The program includes language instruction, visits to historical and cultural sites, a community service project, and numerous opportunities to experience Korean food and popular culture.

Pros: The food. Oh, the food. Kimchi. Bibimbap. Noodles. Dumplings. Stews. Your host mother will hook you UP.

Cons: Adapting to your new surroundings while you study abroad in South Korea may be challenging at times, as you will be in the midst of an entirely new culture and language. Put your best foot forward to assimilate, however, and you will fall in love with the country.

5. Exploration and Service Learning in India with Where There Be Dragons

Even on your homestay, get ready to help out with chores here and there. 

Explore India by getting the skinny from scholars, climate scientists, and Buddhist philosophers as they dig deep into the traditions and culture in India. You will also visit herding camps, volunteer on environmental projects, and do some seriously amazing trekking!

Pros: India offers a beautiful opportunity to let go of rigid Western schedules and busy-ness and simply live life day-by-day (no wonder yoga originated here!).

Cons: Western amenities, such as hot water, Wi-Fi, and flushing toilets may be sparse. However, you may find it refreshing when you realize how little you actually need.