The United States is a pioneer in terms of student exchange programs. Its great cultural diversity makes it ideal for those students with an open and receptive mind.
The academic experience in the United States is a great opportunity to learn firsthand customs that are vastly different than European ones. Life in an American school is different than the Spanish student is used to. In addition to classes, extracurricular activities are equally or more important. For American teens, high school is the center of their social, academic and sporting life. It is very important that the student participates in them to expand their social circle, as well as being one of the best ways to learn about the culture and practice English.
The course done in the US is recognized by the Ministry of Education, so that recognition is possible if the relevant subjects and courses are chosen. British American Institute offers the necessary advice to do so successfully.
This destination, unlike others, has different programs that vary depending on the visa.
Student exchange program (J1 Visa)
- The student must be 15 years of age at the time of arrival in the US.
- The student must have an average of 7 in their school grades (the last 3 courses completed within the Spanish state).
- The student must have a minimum of an intermediate level of English, (a level test is done to confirm this level).
- The student must be the one (obviously the natural family as well) who wants to have this great experience.
Things to keep in mind:
- The objective of this program is not merely “educational” according to the US government but is also a cultural exchange program, therefore the destinations are often in states that are not too large, possibly even rural towns.
- This program is voluntary. Host families do not charge for the care of students who are placed in their homes, which is why neither the student nor the natural family, or British American Institute as the intermediary organization, have the right to choose the destination (state or city), high school or family.
- The placement of the student, in the state and their homestay, can take some time to be assigned, at times being confirmed just days before their departure to the US.
Student Visa (F1 Visa):
Unlike the previous program, this is a regular student visa. This program allows greater flexibility.
The student can choose a destination state, a public or private school and type of accommodation (host family or boarding) always depending on the student and their potential profile.
The rules of this program are more flexible because it is not a sponsored program and therefore each high school will have its own requirements.
Jose Maria is really happy there. He has adapted perfectly to his family and, if he didn’t have to come back, I think he’d be there another year if it weren’t for how cold it is in Wisconsin.
I’d like to thank and congratulate the whole school for their level of organization and how much they’ve helped us.
My experience with the J1 program was great: I studied in a typical American High School –a place where I had always dreamed of studying– and I lived with a magnificent family that I’ll always be a part of, while also making lifelong friends. What was the best thing about my year there? I couldn’t say for sure, but I have a lot of memories that nobody will ever be able to take away from me, and people who I’ll always be able to count on! The worst thing? Not being able to have all my family and friends in the same country.
My daughter Paula was able to enjoy the privilege of studying in the USA for a whole school year thanks to the J1 program that BAI put together for us. It was a marvelous experience all around in terms of staff, academics, and coming back with an advanced level of English. She’s made some great friends and learned a lot about the American way of life. BAI helped us to feel secure and acted professionally throughout the entire experience – an experience that is not easy at first. We’re going to try the same program with our son Ignacio.