Youth For Understanding offers a wide range of placements worldwide for your study abroad experience.
Here are just a few of our star countries!
Germany is a nation rich in both geographical and historical variety. It spans many different types of European landscape, with high mountains and fertile valleys. Historically known as 'Das Land der Dichter und Denker' or 'the land of poets and thinkers,' its roots date back to the days of the Holy Roman Empire and earlier. Taking a trip here will expose you to a breathtakingly beautiful country with an exciting and diverse modern culture.
Whether you consider yourself more of a poet, a thinker, an athlete, or just someone interested in studying abroad, Germany has something to offer you.
As a student in Germany, you may be placed in a gymnasium or gesamtschule. Most students will attend a gymnasium, which prepares students for entrance into the German university system. Gymnasiums have a set of core classes (math, science, languages, social sciences) supplemented by elective courses. At school, students may participate in physical education, the arts (theater, music, and photography),
computer projects, and other events. YFU students should be prepared for the possibility of attending classes in a grade or two lower than their Canadian grade level. Students in Germany spend the final year of secondary school preparing exclusively for German colleges, so YFU
students typically do not attend classes at this level.
German. Previous language study is not required. Year and Semester students will participate in a 3 week orientation and intensive language course (OLC) to help develop German language proficiency.
Host Family Placement
Students are placed throughout Germany, usually in the countryside, small towns (up to 30,000 people) or medium-sized cities (between 31,000-125,000 people). Very few students are placed in larger cities. A charming aspect of German family life is the tradition to have family members and friends come over in the afternoon for tea or coffee. This is the perfect opportunity to get to know your new host family and friends.
Contrary to popular belief, Finland has relatively warm summers. Finnish Lapland is home to the midnight sun, when the sun doesn't set at all for two months! The snowy Finnish winter provides an excellent opportunity for winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and ice hockey throughout the country.
Finnish schools are some of the best in the world. The schools are modern and teaching methods are relaxed but effective. You will attend lukio (high school), where you'll pick from subjects such as social sciences, mathematical and computer-related studies, physical education, a wide range of languages (including Finnish, Swedish, German, French, Spanish, and Russian, depending on the school), as well as arts and special courses. Information technology is also a popular subject in many Finnish schools. Finnish schools use a system of periods, and this means that students take individual courses, up to 6 per period and one school year is typically 5 periods.
Finland has two official languages; Finnish and Swedish. Students who have not previously studied either language can be accepted on a case-by-case basis.
Host Family Placement
Host families live throughout Finland in rural, suburban or urban areas and may speak Finnish or Swedish. Most students are placed in the countryside or in medium sized towns.
Known as the Land of Smiles, Thailand is full of tradition and adventure -- whether it's trekking through the forests on an elephant, taking a voyage down the Chao Praya River, visiting the beach resorts, or simply meditating at Wat Pho, Thailand has something for everyone!
Thai schools can be quite large, sometimes with up to 2500 students and up to 50 students in a class. You will attend a local Thai school, where you will be placed in grade 10, 11, or 12 depending on the school. Required classes include Thai language, social studies, and physical education, but you'll work with your school counselor to select classes that will be best for you. As an exchange student, you will have many elective subjects to choose from such as English, history, Thai music, Thai dancing, Thai cooking, arts and crafts, artificial flower making, sword fighting, Muay Thai (Thai boxing), religion, meditation, and many others depending on the school. In English class, you will likely be considered a guest speaker and asked to assist the teacher.
Thai. Previous language study is not required. Students will receive an introduction to Thai language during their post-arrival orientation. Further language training is arranged by individual host schools. The Gap Year Volunteer Program includes a 30 hour Thai language course during the first 3 months.
Host Family Placement
Placement can be in urban, suburban, small town, or rural environments. Students applying for the Gap Year Volunteer Program may be placed with either a host family or may stay at work site accommodations, such as a dormitory, guest house, service apartment or others that may be provided by the work site.
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