School Year Abroad was created to help young Americans become full-fledged citizens of the world; and since 1964 SYA has enrolled more than 6,000 students. They have come from nearly 900 different public, parochial and independent schools, every state, several foreign countries and the broadest range of backgrounds. SYA students are from farm communities in North Dakota and the hills around Los Angeles, pueblos in New Mexico, high rises in New York and every place in between, brought together by a curiosity to see the world around them and a desire to learn a new language and culture.
In addition to their wide geographic, cultural and socioeconomic diversity, SYA students differ in their interests and personalities. They are artists and art enthusiasts; captains of soccer teams and soccer fanatics; dedicated musicians and enthusiastic concert-goers; nationally-ranked athletes and people who enjoy a good workout at the gym. Once they arrive abroad many students have continued their activities, and many have also discovered new passions. Over the years, SYA students have managed to get involved with activities as varied as fencing and interning at CNN.