gallery 10 Most Outrageous High School Summer Programs
Every summer, parents of anxious teens spend thousands on elaborate abroad programs to boost their kids’ college chances. But are the trips worth it? Top schools reveal summer admissions secrets. Plus, the 10 most outrageous programs.
Jochen Schlenker / Getty Images Putney Student Travel: Cultural Exploration, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji
Cost: $9,390, not including airfare
Duration: 5 weeks
Students take sailing, skiing, and whitewater rafting trips, live on a sheep farm, and enjoy a ceremonial meal in Fiji. Sights include the Sydney Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef, and wallabies. Accommodations might be inns, yachts, or farms.
Lonnie Thompson, Ohio State University / AP Photo National Geographic: Wildlife Conservation and Tribal Life, Tanzania
Cost: $7,590, not including airfare
Duration: 3 weeks
Students live in a village near Mount Kilimanjaro, hike with Maasai tribesmen, and go on a week-long safari. Students can complete about 40-50 hours of community service, such as building or teaching English, or they can work on photography or conservation projects.
Karen Holzer, USGS / AP Photo Discovery Student Adventures: Arctic
Cost: $8,999, not including airfare
Duration: 16 Days
On an expedition ship around the Arctic, students participate in discussions, workships, and discoveries alongside scientists, explorers, and ecologists. Students see polar bears and beluga whales, hike the Grinnel Glacier, explore remote settlements, and meet Inuit in their villages.
Heath Korvola / Getty Images Rustic Pathways: Chairman’s Program: The Wonders and Riches of Southeast Asia
Cost: $4,995, not including $1,465 internal airfare or international airfare
Duration: 18 days
Two weeks in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia with the chairman and founder of Rustic Pathways. Students stay in nice hotels (including a five-star resort in Cambodia), sample local cuisine, dive among waterfalls, and ride on boats and elephants. In Thailand, the chairman’s private tailor makes the students clothing.
Courtesy of Academic Study Associates Academic Study Associates (ASA) Programs: Study Abroad in Florence
Cost: $8,295, not including airfare
Duration: 3.5 weeks
Students study in Florence, live in dorms, and take weekend trips around Italy, including to Pisa, Rome, Cinque Terre, and Sienna.
Ed Freeman / Getty Images Where There Be Dragons: Tibet: Cultural Odyssey
Cost: $7,400, not including estimated $1,850 international airfare
Duration: Six weeks
Students trek throughout Tibet, living in villages, visiting devotional sites and rituals, and participating in community service and cultural exchange. The emphasis is on cultivating an understanding of Tibetan history, religion, and culture.
Courtesy of The Experiment in International Living Experiment in International Living: Costa Rica
Cost: $6,100, including international airfare
Duration: Four weeks
Students live with a rural Costa Rican family and work alongside locals on community service projects. Then, groups visit the cloud forests, rivers, and coastlines around the country.
Issouf Sanogo, AFP / Getty Images American Field Service (AFS): Intercultural Programs USA: Summer Community Service Program, Ghana
Cost: $7,500, including international airfare
Duration: Four weeks
Students live with a host family and work in an orphanage, performing local community service. They also learn about Ghanaian culture and history, taking trips to slave trade sites and learning local dances.
Steve Allen / Getty Images Global Routes: Ecuador and the Galapagos
Cost: $6,225, not including estimated $1,400 international airfare
Duration: Five weeks
After spending four weeks in Ecuador for homestay, cultural exchange, and community service, students island-hop in the Galapagos, observing unique animal and plant life.
Courtesy of Broadreach Summer Adventures Abroad Academic Treks: Fiji Shark Studies
Cost: $5,780, not including airfare
Duration: 24 days
Programs with Academic Treks tend to focus on coursework and certification (there’s also a program on yoga in India). This trip requires a scuba certification, and involves observing and studying sharks, in addition to a homestay and cultural exchange.