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Germany is located in the heart of Europe, surrounded by no less than 9 neighboring countries! With over 82 million inhabitants Germany has the largest population in Europe, after Russia. Germany has many different and charming landscapes: from flat farming country in the north to the rolling hills in the heart of the country, to the magnificent Alps, located in the south.

An extended stay in a German Secondary School Programme is an ideal opportunity for Irish teenagers to become a fluent German speaker at a young age. Students are fully immersed in the German way of life and culture through daily attendance at a German secondary school and by living with a German Host Family. This programme is particularly popular with Transition Year students.

The experience is further enhanced by the support of local representatives familiar with cultural differences and cultural adjustment. Participating in our Secondary School Abroad Programme:

  • Paves the way to excellent exam results
  • Provides full immersion that allows students to become fluent at a young age
  • Encourages independence in young people
  • Broadens cultural horizons

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be considered for participating in the Secondary School Abroad, students must:

  • Be from  15-17 years old
  • Have studied German language for at least 3 years
  • Be mature and responsible

What's included in your experience

  • Airport Pick-up
  • Host Family Placement
  • Meals
  • School Placement
  • Individual Contact Person
  • Medical Insurance
  • 24/7 Emergency Support
  • Assistance with Application Process
  • Pre-Departure Orientation
  • Orientations during your time abroad

What you are responsible for

  • Airfare
  • Vaccinations
  • Field Trips
  • Domestic Transport
  • School Materials


Summary Information

  • Accommodation: Host Family
  • Duration: 8 weeks to a full academic year
  • Application condition: Students must have studied German for a minimum of 3 years in order to be considered
  • Students must be from  15-17 years old
  • Application Deadline – contact our Study Abroad Team for details

About the Secondary School in Germany

The programme offers participants the opportunity to become fully immersed in the German way of life and culture through living with a carefully selected host family and daily attendance at a German secondary school (Gymnasium or Realschule).

It is open to students between 15 and 17 years old who are interested in attending a German secondary school.

There are limited places on this programme to ensure that students have the greatest exposure to the language.

The program includes:

  • Placement  in a carefully  selected school, including application, registration, school insurance fees and tuition
  • Full  board accommodation  with a carefully selected volunteer host family
  • Return transfers to and from nearest airport of host community
  • Monthly contact from local coordinator
  • Local orientation within the first month
  • Group orientation in August and February
  • 24-hour emergency telephone service
  • Academic advice
  • Help with preparation for travel back to home country
  • Health insurance with CareMed International Travel Insurance

The programme does not include:

  • Flights – The organisation of flights is the participant’s responsibility
  • School books and material fees
  • Local transportation fees
  • Spending money

The Host Family Accommodation

Students are housed on a full-board basis by local, carefully selected volunteer host families. Living with a host family gives students full insight into how German families really live and provide complete immersion in the language and culture. Host families are carefully screened and selected by a network of local coordinators all over Germany and are visited and regularly contacted throughout the student’s stay. As a member of the family, your child will share in the family’s daily life and take part in their normal day-to-day activities.

Host families will provide:

  • A genuinely caring environment
  • Clean and comfortable surroundings
  • Convenient access to schools
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily
  • Single or shared bedroom

Please note that German families host on a volunteer basis (they are not paid a hospitality allowance). The motivation for hosting comes from a genuine interest in learning about other cultures and the belief that hosting a student from Ireland is the next best thing to visiting Ireland itself. Placements are always in safe residential areas, and are mostly made in rural areas and medium-sized towns, very rarely in the centre of big towns. There are host communities all over Germany with local coordinators who offer individual and personal attention. Students and their host families are supported by trained local coordinators, the national office in Bonn, and the EIL office in Ireland.

Unlike an exchange programme, there will not necessarily be other children of the same age in the family. Host families come in all shapes and sizes: single parents with children living in the house, nuclear families, older couples whose children are no longer at home, as well as young couples who may not have children are all considered potential host families. Our main criteria is a warm, caring, and comfortable home environment for students to be nurtured and thrive in.

N.B. Students and parents cannot reject a host family placement in favour of a new one. Once host family details are sent to the student, they are final; students and parents must agree to accept them without prejudice and to go into the programme with an open mind. Cancellations will incur loss of deposit.

The School in Germany

Students will attend a German Gymnasium or Realschule that is chosen by the local coordinator. It may be the same school attended by host brothers or sisters, but that is not always the case. Generally students are placed in grade 10 or 11, but academic records and language skills will play a part in assigning the  grade level. A student may be placed in a lower grade than his or her current equivalent in Ireland. As education is the responsibility of each state in Germany, the schools are quite different and it is therefore very difficult to foresee the subjects offered by each school. In general, German, English, a second foreign language, math, biology, physics, chemistry and history are the key subjects.

Important Conditions

Important terms and conditions about going to school in Germany

  • Please note that friends will not be placed together. This is a programme designed for individual placement Emphasis is placed on full language and cultural immersion. If friends apply together, they will be intentionally separated and placed in different communities and schools.
  • Students may not return home for the duration of their programme.This includes Christmas and Easter holidays, and mid-term breaks. Likewise, all family visits must be limited to the end of the student’s programme, not at the beginning or in the middle. After years of experience, we find that such visits disrupt the adjustment process and can lead to further homesickness and integration problems.
  • Please note that EIL may request students to take a German aptitude test which will be organised after receipt of the application. Should a student not be accepted onto the programme, deposits will be refunded.
  • EIL and our partners Experiment e.V. reserve the right to send home any student whose health requires it or whose conduct is considered improper or offensive to the host family, community or school. Such conduct includes drug use, unacceptable sexual behaviour, excessive drinking, violation of the law or failure in schoolwork.  In the event that the student is returned home, either alone or accompanied, parents or guardians are responsible for all expenses above those covered by the fee. In such cases, no refunds will be available. If a student chooses to end the programme early on his or her own accord, for reasons including travelling home for a holiday or during mid-term, no refund will be given.


Students will be collected by their host family from the nearest airport or railway station to the host community or any alternative one that is agreed upon by the host organisation and host family. Some students may not be able to take a direct flight from Ireland and may need to make a connection through another airport or take a train to their host community. Students will need to make this journey on their own and unassisted. Once a placement has been made, EIL will inform you of the specified airport or railway station and confirm the official dates of the programme. Most often, the best recommendation of how to arrive will come directly from the host family once you make contact with them. Flights and local transport to the agreed station or airport are not covered in programme fees and should be booked by the participant and parents.

Local and international transportation is not included in the programme fees. Students may need to get the bus to school and should ask their host families if they need to budget that into their spending while on the programme.


For further details, can you please contact staff at [email protected]

  • Flights, school books and materials, local transportation, personal items and spending money are not included in the price
  • Late application fee: € 250
  • Deposit: 25% of the program fee

How do I apply?

To apply please contact us and we will send you an application from to complete.

The application needs to include the following;

  • 25% non-refundable deposit
  • Copies of 3 most recent school reports
  • 4 passport photos plus at least 4 informal photos with family and friends
  • Medical/parental release forms
  • Health certificate, if undertaking treatment
  • Certificate of vaccination
  • Dear Host Family video not longer that 1 minute
  • Dear Host Family Letter in german Language

Failure to include any application materials as well as incomplete applications will delay or inhibit your acceptance into the programme. Please make certain that all signatures are completed by student, parents, teachers, and physicians before sending to EIL.

Applications in full must be received at least 3 months in advance, or else you will be charged a €250 late fee.


Im sure you have lots of questions and we will do our best here to answer the most common ones but if you have any specific questions a member of the Study Abroad Team would be only too happy to answer them for you.

Call me back - Study Abroad

You can fill out this form and a member of the Study abroad team will get in touch as soon as they can

  • :
    We will endeavour to call you at the time you specify. Please note that the office hours are Monday to Friday 9 Am to 5:30 PM
    We would like to send you some updates from time to time including programme offers & newsletters.
  • No, this is a one-way exchange. You will not have to host a German student. Some Irish students remain friends with the host family and siblings and stay in contact, but there is no obligation to have them come to Ireland unless you make a personal arrangement amongst yourselves.

Further Information