STS High School 14–18 years of age
Scholarships available when you apply by 31 December 2019
An ancient culture on the cutting edge
Interested in this trip? Contact us directly to find out more and we'll make sure you get the trip of your dreams!

High school in China

Classic
Age 15-18

Live and study in one of the world’s most dynamic countries, one that combines the cutting edge of technological development with a history that dates back millennia. The past, present and future seem to merge in China. Discover its unique culture and fascinating language from the inside on an unforgettable high school exchange.

High School Classic

High School Classic is the traditional high school exchange programme, chosen by most of our students. It is the perfect programme for those who long for a genuine high school experience abroad and who are willing to embrace all the surprises it can bring. Here’s how it works: based on your profile, we match you with a host family and school. In China you’ll also get to enjoy campus-homestay combo accommodation, where you’ll live on campus with local students during the week, and then spend the weekends with a Chinese host family. If you’re open to adventure and are willing to let yourself be surprised by your exchange experience, this is the programme for you.

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A language worth billions

China is also an enormous country, with a great variety of natural landscapes and cultural differences from region to region. From the towering Himalayas in Tibet, to the deep deserts of the east, tropical islands in the South China Sea to the bamboo forests and rice terraces of Yunnan and Sichuan, there’s so much to explore. And don’t forget the manmade wonders! You’ll find both impressive historical sites, like the Great Wall of China or the Terracotta Army, and modern marvels in cutting-edge cities like Shanghai or Shenzhen. Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it in China.

China has the world’s biggest population and oldest continuous civilization, with a rich history dating back over 4,000 years. Chinese is now the world’s most widely spoken language, and as China’s influence grows, it is set to become the language of the future. So, prepare for the future in the best possible way with a one-of-a-kind exchange in a one-of-a-kind country.

Learning the language

A large variety of languages are spoken in China, but Mandarin Chinese is the official spoken language, used by the vast majority of the population in day-to-day communication. We recommend that you already have some basic knowledge of Mandarin before considering a high school exchange in China, as well as a good level of English.

Population: 1.386 billion
Area: 9.597 million km2
Languages: Mandarin, Cantonese, and many more regional languages and dialects
Capital: Beijing
Religions: Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Christianity and more
Currency: Chinese Yuan (Renminbi)

The Chinese School Experience

Education is taken very seriously in China, so it can be challenging, but also very rewarding. The school year runs from September to July, with a winter vacation usually occurring in January. An average school day starts ay 7:30 and goes until about 5pm. There are also evening study sessions, which are usually spent preparing for university entrance exams.

Of course, the high school experience can vary from one place to another, but in general mandatory courses for high school in China include mathematics, English, History, Geography, Politics, Chemistry, Physics, Biology and of course Chinese.

Prior Knowledge of Chinese

Chinese is very different from western languages, but it’s not as hard to learn as you may think. The grammar is relatively simple. Learning to write Chinese characters can be a challenge, but for many it is the best part of learning the language. There are over 80,000 characters, although you only need about 3,000 for most daily communication.

Some prior knowledge of Chinese is required in order to do a high school exchange in China. You must have a minimum of 1 year of Chinese language studies. We also recommend that you try to communicate in Chinese as much as possible from the moment you arrive in order to truly immerse yourself in the experience and make quick progress with your language skills.

Living in China

On your exchange in China you’ll have the unique opportunity of experiencing two different accommodation styles. During the week you’ll live in school dorms on campus along with Chinese students. Then on the weekends you’ll stay with a local Chinese host family where you can share all aspects of daily life. These living arrangements will be very different experiences, but they will both bring something interesting and important to your exchange, providing deep cultural immersion and great opportunities to improve your language skills.

Chinese Host Families

Without a doubt, staying with a host family is the best way to learn the language and immerse yourself in the local culture. You won’t just be observing the Chinese way of life, you’ll be living it. You’ll have almost unlimited opportunities to experience and partake in the culture and use the language every day in real-life situations.

Throughout the entire exchange, your area representative will stay in touch with you and your host family to make sure you have everything you need and ensure you have a good experience. Feel free to contact them at any time if you need help or support.

National Holidays

There are several national holidays throughout the year in China, and you’ll get the chance to celebrate them in traditional fashion with your host family. Some of them have fixed dates, such as May Day (May 1st), while others follow the lunar calendar and are on different days each year, like Chinese New Year, which usually falls sometime in January or February.

Quick facts

  • Who can participate: Students aged 15–18 at arrival
  • Departure: August/September
  • Language requirements: Basic knowledge of Mandarin Chinese recommended (use of Pinyin), preferably 2 years of study. At the end of your experience we recommend taking the HSK test to certify your Chinese level.
  • Visa: Mandatory
  • Area choice: No
  • Preparation course: Yes, a general course in Beijing and a local orientation in the community/school.
  • School year: September–July for international students
  • School day: This varies between schools, but normally 8am to 5pm, including afternoon activities, sports and individual study, with a longer break in the middle of the day.
  • Subjects: Compulsory subjects are Mathematics, Chinese, English, History, Geography, Politics, Chemistry, Physics and Biology.
  • Organised excursions: You will receive information on trips and excursions directly from your local coordinator.

Free Time in China

Schools in China tend to offer lots of extracurricular activities and clubs in the afternoons and evenings. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to play the sports you love or take up a new hobby. Participating in these activities will also give you more practice using the language and allow you to get to know your classmates better.

Basketball and ping pong are perhaps the most popular sports in Chinese schools, but other options include athletics, football and traditional Chinese martial arts, such as tai chi and kung fu. Cultural classes are also quite popular, like painting, music or dancing. Explore the options offered at your school and give it a try!

Welcome Camp

Get the best possible start to your high school exchange with the STS Welcome Camp. You’ll meet fellow exchange students, go on excursions and prepare yourself for the experience ahead.

What's included

  • Air fares to host family and back
  • Accommodation: campus Monday-Friday, with approved host family on weekends
  • Full board on weekends. Half or full board Monday-Friday (differs by school)
  • School spot in a public high school 
  • Personal assistance and contact person from home country and host country
  • STS Welcome Camp 
  • Pre-departure orientation in your home country
  • STS leader accompanies many of the longer flights 
  • Emergency support 24/7
  • Free interview 
  • Meetings and material to prepare you and your parents
  • STS bag and t-shirt 
  • STS Diploma
  • STS Ambassador Club
Interested in this trip? Contact us directly to find out more and we'll make sure you get the trip of your dreams!

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Don’t forget to check out our Video Scholarship Challenge. Send us a video explaining why you would be a great exchange student and get the chance to receive a scholarship for your high school exchange. Find all information and instructions here

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