School Year Abroad Academics
The curriculum at each SYA school is unique: students are able to focus on topics that are relevant to their host country. All SYA students take an intensive language course taught by native speakers, which enables them to actively communicate with their host family and to participate in their adopted communities as well as the potential to excel on the Advanced Placement (AP) language exams. The number of courses taught in the host country’s language varies by country. English and math are taught at each SYA school in English by instructors from top U.S. schools.
SYA’s expectations for academic work reflect the rigorous standards of our member schools, but teachers are supportive and the homework load is designed so that SYA students can spend time in the evening with their host families. The language teachers know what they can ask of American high school students studying a second language; the demands are real, but also realistic. It is extremely rare for a student to return to the United States for failure to meet the academic requirements of SYA.
The academic year is divided into two semesters of two quarters each. Classroom performance is graded A–F, and grades with teacher comments are sent to families and home schools after each quarter. All courses at School Year Abroad, unless otherwise noted, are taught at the Honors level. The average class size is 15 students. SYA does not distinguish between 11th- and 12th-graders in the organization of classes. A one-credit course meets four times a week for a minimum of 45 minutes each day. SYA students take six or seven credits depending on the country. English, math and a language class are required in every country. Seniors may, on recommendation from the home school, elect not to continue in math if they have met that school’s requirement.
To ensure that our curriculum is current, it is audited every four years by administrators and teachers from our member schools. Students receive full credit for the academic program and are in an optimal position to return to their home schools or proceed onto college.