Study at an American High School

Enjoy the American countryside

Spending one semester or one academic year in the USA is ideal for Transition Year students who are willing to commit to a significant amount of time abroad, without the added pressure of linguistic differences. Students can learn about the 'American Dream' by living with a volunteer host family and attending a public American high school. Side by side with other American teenagers, students will act as ambassadors for Ireland and will have the opportunity to see the 'real America,' which is often not accurately portrayed by Hollywood or American TV shows. Spaces are extremely limited, as the US visa quota for students fills quickly.  Please apply early to not miss out on this opportunity of a lifetime.

The application deadline for Autumn 2017 is April 1, 2017. We are able to consider applications on a case-by-case basis. Contact us on 021-4551535 to discuss your application.


Live with an American Host Family

Students are placed with volunteer American host families. Host families are selected based on a variety of criteria by local coordinators that live in the region. 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.  Applicants cannot reject host family placements and must agree to accept them without prejudice and to go into the programme with an open mind. Neither EIL nor our US partner organisation discriminate against any particular race, religion, class, or gender.  Any student or parent of a student who expresses discriminatory attitudes can be refused participation on the programme.

Host families in the USA are volunteers and receive no allowance for hosting international students. The concept of host family payment is unique to Ireland and Britain. Therefore, the motivation to host international students is not money-driven; host families have a genuine interest in learning about the countries of their students and exposing themselves and their children to another culture by hosting. Some families hold the belief that hosting a student from Ireland is the next best thing to visiting Ireland itself. Students are truly considered a member of the family, equal in rights and duties, and they share day-to-day life, including leisure activities and outings. In return, they are asked to comply with family rules, which might include some minor tasks like washing the dishes or cleaning their bedrooms.

The host family is seen as being responsible for the students' welfare and we insist on their role as 'parents.' Our main criteria is a warm, caring, and comfortable home environment for students to be nurtured and thrive in.

Students may be placed in any region of America.  Regional requests are not considered. Students should have an open mind about where they will live in America, whether it is in a rural area, small town, suburban or urban area. Rarely are students placed in big cities. Whether the population is 1,000 or 100,000, the diversity of America is part of what makes it such a unique country and Study Abroad experience.

Exchange students are placed in a local public high school. The grade in which they are placed is determined by their age and school reports, and is at the discretion of the school to which they are accepted. As American schools are not nationally run, but differ by state and county, subjects and extracurriculars offered will vary greatly. Particular subjects cannot be guaranteed, nor can specific sports or extracurricular activities. From experience, we find that facilities and sports tend to be far more diverse in American high schools than in Ireland. Students are welcome to join in all the activities that the school has to offer, and participating in sports and clubs is the best way to make friends and integrate into school groups.

When filling out the application, students should be sure to indicate the sports, activities and music they intend to participate in, as this will help in the placement process.

Flights are not included with any of our programmes and must be booked by the student in accordance with our airport recommendations.  Round trip air transportation to the US and all domestic transportation to and from the host community are required before arrival. Upon arrival in the US, all students must be in possession of a return ticket valid for twelve months.

No flights are to be booked without confirmation from EIL. Once the student has been placed, EIL will advise students on their arrival airport.  Either the host family or the local coordinator will collect the student from that point to bring them home.

Local transport to and from school is also not included. Students should be prepared and budget for this. The host family and local coordinator will help them sign up for transport, if necessary.

Go to High School in the USA!

In addition to our usual Secondary School Abroad conditions, the US High School programme has many important conditions of participation that should be seriously considered before applying. The application should be read thoroughly by both students and parents before signing and submitting.

  • Students have to be between 15 and 18 years old when they start the program.
  • We cannot accept students who have officially graduated from secondary school.
  • EIL can only accept students who are current residents of the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland.
  • We will not accept students who have failed any classes.
  • We cannot accept students who have had, or currently have, a psychiatric condition or eating disorder.
  • Most host families have pets, so if a student has any medical problems with pets, detailed information has to be filled out. If a student has allergies or does not like pets, this may delay their placement.
  • Doctor’s Care and Medication: Students should write all the detailed information on their application regarding any current or past doctor's care or medication that's currently being taken. They should list all the prescription and non-prescription drugs and for what reasons they are taking them. If we have a student who is on medications that were not listed or explained on the application, disciplinary action or dismissal from the programme may result.
  • Location of placement for each participant is at the sole discretion of our partner organisation in the USA.
  • Students may not change a host family placement at will.
  • If a student is dismissed/expelled from a US school they will be dismissed from the programme and must return to Ireland immediately.
  • Should a student break any US laws or programme rules or otherwise exhibit behavior detrimental to the programme, such student will be evaluated to determine if the student will be dismissed from the programme or put on a probationary agreement.
  • Should a student be dismissed, he or she must return immediately to his or her home country and we will notify SEVIS that the student is no longer enrolled in the school and is no longer eligible for the USDS J-1 visa status.
  • If a student is dismissed from the programme or leaves the programme on his or her own accord, there will be no refund of fees and the cost of repatriation and changing of flights is the responsibility of the natural parents.
  • The USDS J-1 is a single entry visa. Students may not return home for holidays (including Christmas, Easter and mid-term breaks) or family visits.
  • Many host families attend church services regularly and for many it is a big part of their social lives. We recommend that students go to church with the host family to learn about the family’s culture and traditions and find new friends. However, if a student has any problems attending religious services, we need to know it before placing the student.  We cannot guarantee that students can be placed with families of the same religion as his or her own.
  • Immunisation records: Each state and school has different requirements. We gather the immunisation information from our field staff who advise us on vaccinations, as they often change from year to year. Hopefully these requirements will apply for the majority of students. However, if a student is placed in a state or a school that has extra requirements, the student has to take the additional vaccinations and submit the appropriate documents to us. If a BCG vaccination was given, or TB skin test result was “Positive”, a chest x-ray (date and result) must be provided. 
  • All applicants are advised to get the Tdap vaccination against wooping cough (Pertussis), as this is becoming a widespread requirement for students throughout the US.  As this is a relatively new vaccination, it may be difficult to obtain, but if possible please ensure that you get this when having your GP fill out the relevant section of the application, and provide proof of the vaccination.**
  • Students cannot drive any vehicle during the programme (except for practice or test using a driving school vehicle, if the proper papers are signed by a parent or legal guardian). If a student obtains a driving permit or driver’s license, they must be turned over to the CHI coordinator until the end of the program.

In addition to the above, please note the following:

Friends will not be placed together.  This is a programme designed for independent and individual students.  Emphasis is on full language and cultural immersion.  If friends apply together, they will be intentionally separated and placed in different communities and schools.

EIL and our US partners 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.

More conditions and rules are contained in the application forms.



  • Can I go with a friend?

    No, this is an individual programme for independent students. Friends who apply will be handled as separate applications and placements. Similarly, siblings will be separated into different regions. We find friends and siblings fair better when not together.

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  • Will I or can I host a student from the USA?

    EIL does not facilitate reciprocal exchanges, therefore you will not be obliged to host a student in return.  If students make friends while on their programme, any reciprocal arrangements must be made on a private basis.

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  • My child is into sports and music. Can you place them accordingly in a school that specialises in those areas?

    This is possible, although we can never guarantee it.  Hobbies and interests are considered very important information, as it enables us to find a host family best suited to the student. Please ensure that the student ticks the sports that he or she actually plays and will want to play in the U.S.  The same goes for music; please ensure that the student ticks the musical instruments that he or she actually plays.

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  • Can I be placed in a city?

    Most host families live in towns, suburbs or rural areas and not in popular urban centres such as New York, Chicago, Boston, etc. The placement is at the sole discretion of the US partner organisation. A condition of acceptance is that the student and parents are open to any region in the US.

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  • What are the dates?

    Normally, schools start the last week in August and end during late June, but dates can vary greatly from region to region. EIL will notify you as soon as possible regarding when to book flights. Students normally arrive a week before school officially begins and students must return no later than a week after school finishes according to J-1 regulations. Programme dates will be determined after placement, so students must be flexible.

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Study Abroad in the USA!

Prices 2017/2018 Academic Year

Call Gillian on 021-4551535 for more details. 

*Please note that due to currency exchange fluctuations, EIL reserves the right to alter the price to suit the exchange rate at the time of booking.


Deadline for applications for September start is 1st April

Deadline for applications for January start is 31st October

Programme Includes:

  • Locating, interviewing, screening and selection of a suitable host family in the USA
  • Limited full board with a volunteer host family; school lunches must be paid for by the student
  • Processing of the student application, academic counseling and placement in the high school
  • Local counseling support throughout the year by the academic coordinator and local regional coordinator
  • Supervision by partner headquarters' staff
  • Issuance of form DS-2019 to obtain J-1 exchange visitor visa
  • Transportation to and from the local airport nearest the host family home; if students arrive to an airport other than the designated one, an additional fee may apply
  • Student orientation upon arrival in the US
  • Pre-departure orientation in Ireland 
  • Medical travel insurance with CareMed


Programme Excludes:

  • Round-trip air transportation to the host country and all domestic transportation to and from the host community. Upon arrival in the host country, all students must be in possession of a return ticket valid for twelve months.
  • Administration of student's monthly spending allowance
  • Lunches taken at school
  • Cost of independent travel if and when such travel is permitted
  • Textbooks and school supplies, when not provided by high school
  • Cost of personal items including toiletries, long distance phone calls, etc.
  • Transportation to and from school
  • SEVIS and US embassy fees
  • Trip cancellation insurance

Apply to Study in the USA Today!

Initial applications must include:

Our applications for the USA are now completed through an online system. Details you will need in order to complete your application include: 

  • All school reports and transcripts must have official school stamp or seal.
  • All medical records and immunisation records must be completed and signed or stamped by a GP.
  • Deposit required at time of application is 25% of the total programme fee. Log-in details for our online applicaiton system will only be supplied after the deposit has been paid. 
  • If a student is not accepted on the programme for any reason, the deposit will be refunded.
  • Once a student is accepted and the placement process begins, cancellation means loss of deposit.
  • All SEVIS and US embassy fees are to be paid by the applicant and the interview with US Embassy in Dublin is to be arranged by the participant once DS 2019 is issued.
  • Before DS 2019 is issued, all fees must be paid in full.
  • Once placement and visa documents are arranged, cancellation means loss of balance.
  • No refunds are issued for early withdrawal from the programme.  Returning to Ireland for any length of time, including for holidays or mid-term breaks, is considered a withdrawal from the programme.
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