High School Studies in the U.S.

The option with an organization

Secondary school students travel to the United States to study at an accredited public or private high school and live with an American host family or at an accredited boarding school.

To be able to participate, secondary school students must:

  • Be at least 15 years of age, but not more than 18 years and six months of age as of the program start date, or not have finished more than 11 years of primary and secondary school, not including kindergarten.
  • Not have previously participated in a secondary school student academic year or semester exchange program or attended school in the United States in either F-1 or J-1 status.

For more information about this Program, please visit Secondary School Student Program.

The Spanish organizations listed here are associated with American Designated Sponsor Organizations to select participants for this program.  The Embassy does not “rate” or recommend any of the organizations included in the list.

For additional information on international education standards, please contact the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET), whose mission is to evaluate and certify long-term international student exchange programs at the secondary level.

The option without organization

This option may be suitable for students or families who have access to an American family with whom the student might live during the academic year.

As a general rule, it is not possible to choose a public school in the United States.  Each home is assigned to a school and this cannot be changed.  This is because primary and secondary education is mainly financed with local taxes.  Therefore, the foreign student will have to enroll in the school to which the home of the host family is assigned.  The American family will have to go to that school and tell the principal that they are going to host a foreign student during next academic year.

The concept of “validation/homologation” of academic studies does not exist in the United States.  The school principal will tell whether or not the school can accept the credits completed by the student so far.  The principal will tell what information they need and if once the registration fees are paid they will be able to issue the form I-20 in order for the student to apply for the F-1 student visa.

For visa information, please visit the State Department website.

It is advisable to take out health insurance in the United States.  Main Spanish insurance companies will be able to inform you about this.