Academics & Activities
What will a typical day be like? +
In brief, week day morning classes begin at 9am and run until noon. In the afternoons you will attend either your elective class or choose from cultural and recreation activities. During evenings you will have many options to choose from: excursions to local sites and museums, concerts and performances, the beach, water sports or other athletics, shopping, outdoor cafés and restaurants, occasional dance parties, and others. For more specific information on each summer program please refer to the web page of the program you are interested in.
Will I have free time? Can I spend time in smaller groups? +
In addition to planned activities with the Abbey Road group, students will have 2-4 hours of free time each day to pursue personal interests, spend time with friends and explore the host community in groups of 2 or more. We strive to maintain a perfect balance between structured activities and free time. While we give our students this privilege, we expect them to adhere to Abbey Road's summer program rules and safety guidelines, especially the policies on alcohol and curfew, and to uphold our standards of responsibility, maturity, and respect.
What about the weekends? +
In most programs, the students go on regional day trips and excursions. Day trips are mandatory for all students. For specific information on each summer program and its weekend excursions, please refer to the web page of the program you are interested in.
Will I go out every night? +
On homestay programs, you will spend 3-4 evenings a week with your homestay family. On other evenings, you may go out with your friends and Abbey Road students. On residential and pre-college programs you will spend most of your evenings on group activities or in a smaller circle of friends. Once a week, the group will have a residence night to take advantage of cultural offerings such as cooking workshops, foreign films, games, and more. Remember that you are expected to strictly abide by the program safety rules at all times.
Is there a curfew? +
The curfew varies by program and by the day of the week. A typical weekday curfew is 12 am whereas a weekend curfew may be 12:30 or 1 am. Please be advised that Abbey Road reserves the right to change the curfew times at its discretion as deemed necessary for safety and organizational purposes. Face-to-face curfew check-ins are done on a nightly basis with no exceptions.
How are meals handled? +
Abbey Road's meal program is unique and a point of distinction according to our alumni. Meals are not repeatedly had in cafeteria settings. Rather, meals are eaten in apartment settings, prepared by staff and students, using fresh ingredients, or in cafés and restaurants using language skills -- in both cases, offering the best of local cuisine and variety. Homestay students have many meals with their homestay families. All costs associated with meals are included with the tuition/fees. Students need not be concerned about having extra money for meals.
What size are the groups and classes, and what is the staff to student ratio? +
We pride ourselves in keeping our summer programs large enough for fun and friendships, yet small enough to have flexibility and promote learning. Most summer programs have between 30 and 40 students in total, and we keep our language classes capped at 12-14. We have a staff to student ratio of 1:8. We believe this is one of our greatest strengths because it allows us to provide authentic and rewarding cultural and academic experiences that are also safe and fun!
Who will be teaching the classes? +
Classes will be taught by Abbey Road faculty and in some cases by local instructors at our partner institutions. Our foreign and American faculty come from the best American and European schools, speak the host language fluently, and in all cases have extensive professional and academic experience in the subject matter they are teaching in addition to experience working with high school aged students.
If I am traveling for Language Immersion, will my language proficiency improve? +
Our immersion programs provide the perfect opportunity to improve your proficiency in French, Spanish or Italian. According to our students, each summer they make significant progress in these languages. Furthermore, many of the most motivated students "skip" a level in their language course after returning home. An effective immersion experience will allow you to build on what you have learned in your home school during the year, developing active usage and communication skills. However, the crucial factor for your success in studying a foreign language is your own motivation and dedication. If you make an effort to speak the language, interact with locals, take your classes seriously, participate in the cultural activities and other summer program offerings, you will make great progress.
How will my class placement be determined? +
There will be a placement assessment conducted on the first day of class to determine your placement. Placements can be changed should a student and/or teacher feel that a different level would be more advantageous to the learning process. What about other subjects? Many of our programs offer other academic subjects from studio art to environmental studies. The curriculum for each summer program varies. Please refer to the web page of the program you are interested in.
Are the classes mandatory? What is the typical workload? +
Yes, they are. Students are expected to be on time and prepared for each class. The typical workload (for major subject classes) is 3-4 class hours a day, five days a week, for 3-4 weeks, i.e. 45-80 hours. The workload for other academic courses varies. Optional elective courses run from 2-2.5 hours three days a week. For more specific information on each summer program please refer to the web page of the program you are interested in.
Is there homework? Are there tests and grades? +
The amount of homework varies for each summer program. For most courses, there is some homework, although it is not burdensome. In designing our courses we maximize the use of local communities and resources, making home assignments both fun and educational. Most classes have a final exam or assessment. You will receive a grade for each of your courses. You will also receive a grade for the program. Your participation in program workshops and events as well as your desire to get as much out of the program as possible is an important part of a study abroad experience.
Will I receive an academic transcript or credit? +
Students will receive an Abbey Road Transcript upon request indicating the course load, hours completed in his/her course and in their summer program. Credit is awarded on an individual basis through the student’s home institution and the amount of credit varies depending on the policies of the “recipient” U.S. school. Certain pre-college programs offer direct college credit through our partner colleges and universities. Please contact us for more information. We highly recommend that you discuss the issue of academic credit with your school before participating in our programs. Regardless of credit transfer, it is important to note that universities and colleges look highly upon the fact that a student chooses to complete an academic program abroad. Students will benefit from Abbey Road programs not only in their college applications but in their overall education.
Who is eligible for admission to our summer programs? What is the age range of the students? Where are the students from? +
Our summer programs are open to American and international students who have a genuine interest in exploring foreign languages, cultures and other academic subjects such as studio art, art history, literature, dance, environmental studies, pre-college and test prep programs, and more. We are looking for open-minded young people who want to experience a new way of life, and who are mature enough to do it in a safe and responsible manner. Our students are academically motivated, and they have a broad range of interests in the arts, athletics, social activities, and travel. Students ages 14-18 are eligible, from mature eighth graders to graduating high school seniors.
For immersion programs, how much of a language background do I need? +
We have a broad range of programs, for beginners to advanced students. Our advanced immersion programs in France and Spain require at least 2-3 years of study in these languages, while others are geared toward intermediate or beginner students. Italian programs, Travel-Study Programs and USA Programs do not require any previous language study. Please refer to the description of the specific summer program of interest for more details. Placement assessments help determine the class level appropriate for each student. In addition to morning classes, we offer tutoring and small group workshops (e.g. conversation and culture workshops) for those students who are interested in additional learning opportunities.
Should I get vaccinations before I go? +
To make a well-informed decision, we recommend that you consult the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. You can call the CDC hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); send a fax to 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or view CDC's Internet home page at www.cdc.gov.
What if I have a medical problem while on the trip? +
Our staff will immediately arrange for a doctor's visit, take you to a hospital, help you fill your prescription and otherwise assist you in accessing qualified medical help. You are required to purchase medical insurance prior to coming on our programs. Be sure to get detailed information about your insurance policy, coverage terms and limits, the claim procedure and other details.
What if I am regularly taking medication or have other medical needs? +
Be sure to bring an adequate supply of the medication with you, along with a copy of the original prescription and your doctor's contact information. It is also essential that you accurately fill out the medical form and otherwise keep our staff well-informed about your needs to help us better provide for your health and safety.
Housing: Homestay Programs
For homestay study abroad programs, how are the hosts selected? +
The majority of our homestays have close, long-term relationships with our local agents and have received many foreign students in the past. When new families join the program, they undergo the same careful selection process as others, including an interview and a home visit. Our Study Abroad Summer Program Directors are also in close contact with the host families before and during the program term.
How will my family be selected? Will my preferences be considered? +
First, we will ask you to tell us about yourself and your homestay preferences, as a part of the Study Abroad Program Application. We will then translate and summarize this information to begin the selection process with our foreign agents. Before the Study Abroad program starts, your host family will be identified. We will send you a family profile, including the names of your homestay parent/s, address, phone number, names of any children they may have, and other information. Normally, we will be able to accommodate at least your essential preferences (allergies, dietary needs, etc.). Please remember, however, that in order for you to have a pleasant homestay experience, you will need to be open-minded and willing to adapt to a new way of living because that is the key to enjoying your experience. The homestay families come from different socio-economic, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and the homestay residences may vary in terms of location, size and level of comfort. A homestay may include one parent, or two parents, with or without children.
May I be placed in the same homestay as my friend? What if I am a vegetarian? +
Normally, it will not be a problem to place you in the same homestay as your friend. As for your dietary needs (such as vegetarianism) your homestay will accommodate them. Please note, however, that vegetarian students may need to make an extra effort to help the family understand their dietary needs or find special stores that sell vegetarian foods. Our staff will make every effort to help.
Will I have a chance to communicate with my homestay host before I arrive? +
Yes, we will encourage and help you to do that. We will provide you with guidelines for writing an introductory letter to your host and ask you to mail it directly to the homestay residence. This way your homestay parent/s will know about you by the time you meet them in person.
Do the host parents speak English? +
Typically, the host parents do not, hence the purpose of your presence there — to speak the local language for true "immersion."
Will I have a roommate? +
Typically you will room with another Abbey Road student. In larger homestays you may be with 1-3 other Abbey Road students.
How much time will I be spending with my homestay? +
As much as you would like! At the very least, you will typically have breakfasts and dinners with your family. Ideally, you will spend some time with them and learn about their lives, make friends with their friends and relatives, go on trips and attend family events. As mentioned above, you will spend 3-4 evenings a week with your family. A close relationship with your host family will make a world of difference in your summer experience.
How far from classes will the homestay residence be located? How will I get to classes and return home? +
We strive to find families who live within a 20-25 minute walk from the school. Some families may live in nearby neighborhoods or communities, in which case we will make sure you have access to public transport or arrange rides in the program van. Usually, several other students from the Study Abroad Program will live in your neighborhood which will make the daily walks or rides far more pleasant. On some occasions the family will drive you.
Housing: Residence Programs
What are the residences like? +
Usually, these are private apartments or college dormitories. Please note that housing standards in foreign countries, especially as regards college dormitories, may significantly vary from those in the United States and fall short of American standards. Laundry facilities will be available, but air conditioning will usually not be. We will make every effort to select centrally located residences, but in all cases students should expect to walk for at least 20-25 minutes at a time to get around the host community (bear in mind that most historical European cities are oriented toward pedestrians and that on average Europeans walk much more than Americans). If you have rigid requirements as to housing conditions and standards of comfort, or if you have difficulty walking 20-25 minutes at a time, a student summer program in Europe may not be the best option for you. For more details, please refer to the web page of the specific Study Abroad program you are interested in.
How are the roommates chosen? +
The Abbey Road office makes roommate placements by evaluating student applications. We consider student interests and personalities, as well as student requests. Students will only be placed with roommates and/or apartment-mates of the same gender and approximately the same grade level. Our Study Abroad programs attract students with a very diverse set of backgrounds and interests. An important component of a pre-college residential experience is to meet new people, learn from each other's differences, and hopefully to make many new friends. Almost every student enrolling in our programs indicates an interest in meeting new people and making new friends. It will be up to you to keep an open mind and a positive attitude in order to benefit from this type of experience.
Roommate Requests +
Generally about 80% of our students participate in the Study Abroad program without knowing anyone else prior to the trip. For those students who do participate with a friend or a sibling, you can request to room with a specific person (or persons) -- both for homestay and residence programs. However, we cannot guarantee that all requests will be fulfilled. Most of the time, roommate requests can be fulfilled, but sometimes there are special circumstances that do not allow this. Specifically, we cannot promise to put two (or more) students together as roommates unless they each request, in writing, to room with each other -- these requests are made on each student's program application. All students should remember that one of the greatest benefits with Abbey Road Programs is the opportunity to make new friends. While all of your preferences may not be fulfilled, you will definitely be among a group of peers all of whom are excited and eager to make new friends. We have seen over many years that the students who have the best experience are those who come with an open mind and an intention to meet new people!
Do I need to provide proof of insurance for my summer program? +
Yes, you must be able to provide proof of medical and accident insurance before starting your program with Abbey Road. You may use your own insurance or we can refer you to several insurance providers. Please contact us for more information.
SUMMER PROGRAMS, DATES, FEES
What are the dates for your summer programs? +
Typically, our summer programs run for 2-4 weeks, starting in late June and ending in late July -- early August. For specific dates and itineraries, please refer to the program comparison chart.
Is this a "party program?" What is your policy on alcohol/drugs? +
While our students always have great fun, with many opportunities for activities and recreation as well as 2-4 hours of free time daily, this is not a "party program." In the case of any use of drugs or alcohol, the program reserves the right to immediately send a student home. Our alcohol policies, safety rules, and academic priorities are taken very seriously.
What are the summer program fees and what do they include? +
Specifically, the fees include:
- Supervision (On-site staff to student ratio is approximately 1:8)
- Academics (Tuition, primary subject course, one elective course, materials and transcript)
- Lodging (homestay, campus, residence, and hotel housing)
- 3 meals a day
- Pre-planned day trips (including transport, tickets, meals, and supervision)
- Cultural and recreational activities
The fees do not include:
- Optional Travel Extension
- Student Insurance
For specific study abroad summer program fees, please refer to the Application and Fees section of this web site. Please note that dramatic changes in currency exchange rates may force us to introduce a currency correction fee at any point prior to the beginning of your summer program.
Do you offer any scholarships, financial aid or special discounts? +
Yes! We are currently offering a variety of scholarship and fellowship opportunities. For details, click here
Do I have to submit a deposit with the application? +
Yes, in order to apply, please submit a $500 application deposit with your online application. Your application will not be reviewed until we have received the $500 application deposit and a copy of your transcript. The application deposit is refundable less a $100 processing fee. Upon acceptance, you must submit an additional $1,000 enrollment deposit in order to secure your spot on your summer program. Both deposits are credited towards your summer program fee.
What if I decide to withdraw from my summer program? Is the fee refundable? +
If a student withdraws from a summer program for any reason prior to departure, a refund will be calculated by the following schedule: Before February 1, all but $100 is refundable Before March 1, all but $250 is refundable Before April 1, all but $750 is refundable Before May 1, all but $1,500 is refundable On or after May 1, the fee is 100% non-refundable Withdrawal from a summer program is effective on the date that written notification is received by Abbey Road. The cancellation and refund policy is in effect from the initial receipt of a student's application and deposit, even before he or she is formally accepted and enrolled. If a student is asked to leave the program for a violation of program rules, he or she is not eligible for any refunds or reimbursements, and parents are responsible for the cost of dismissed students' travel home.
Do I have to pay the entire fee at once? Is there a payment plan option? +
As described above, the $500 application deposit and $1,000 payment are both credited toward the summer program fee. The remaining balance of the program fee is due by April 1; final invoices will be sent by March 1. For students enrolling after April 1, full payment is due within 15 days of acceptance to their summer program. If you would like to request a special payment plan, please contact us via phone or email.
What payment methods are acceptable? +
We gladly accept checks or money orders. To send us a wire please contact us for more information. We also accept Visa or Mastercard.
How safe are Abbey Road's summer programs? +
This is by far the most important question for us. We have developed a very clear set of Safety Rules and Guidelines that will be meticulously enforced and which are detailed in the Program Application and Enrollment Contract. Abiding by these rules and guidelines will greatly enhance your safety and protect you from many dangers. Our staff will provide supervision during most activities and will be available to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All you have to do is call the staff cell phone number at any time, day or night. They can walk or drive you home when necessary, arrange for a doctor's visit, or help you communicate with your host family - the staff will always do their best to resolve any problems you might have. However, all of the above will not matter if we do not have your support in ensuring your own safety. The staff will not be able to supervise every student around-the-clock, and it will ultimately be up to you to respect the rules and exercise caution and good judgment in order to stay out of trouble.
What happens if I break the safety rules? +
It means that you have put yourself in a dangerous situation in which we can no longer ensure your safety. In the event in which you have broken a cardinal safety rule, we reserve the right to send you home without refund.
Will I be supervised at all times? What about free time? +
The staff will supervise you during most group activities and excursions, but not during time with your family or free time. However, the staff will be reachable at any time at the staff mobile phone number.
Is there a group flight? May I travel on different dates (arrive or leave earlier or later) or on a different itinerary? May I make my own travel arrangements? +
Students and staff travel together on a group flight from JFK. If you prefer to travel on dates or itineraries that are different from the group ones (i.e. meet the group abroad, fly from a different airport or a different country, or stay behind after your summer program ends, etc.) you will need to make your own travel arrangements and purchase your own tickets. The group tickets are non-changeable and non-refundable, and they are only for those students who travel on the entire group itinerary, without any changes or special requests. If you travel on the group ticket, you cannot choose your own airline, flight, seat, or people you travel with. We work with major European and U.S. carriers, such as Air France, Air Iberia, Alitalia, and others. If you travel independently, we will be glad to assist you to the extent possible and refer you to several travel agencies with which we work. In general, however, we discourage independent travel on account of many possible risks and complications (delays, missed connections, getting stranded alone at airports or train stations without supervision or accommodation, etc.) For specific itineraries and dates of each program please refer to the web page of the program you are interested in.
What about the optional travel extension? What are we going to see? Where are we going to stay? +
Those choosing to participate will travel to a major city in their host country (Paris, Rome, Venice, Valencia or Seville). The optional travel extension is not included in the summer program tuition. All transport, meals, lodging (three-star hotels), supervision, activities, excursions, and entrance fees are included for an additional fee. For specific information on each summer program and its travel extension, please refer to the web page of the program you are interested in.