5 cultural exchange programmes for high school students
A boy performs a stunt at a beach in Mumbai on January on 9, 2022. (Photo by SUJIT JAISWAL / AFP)

If you’ve ever wanted to experience life in a foreign country, take a gap year before uni or learn a new language, join a cultural exchange programme. As countless participants have shown, it’s key to unlocking new experiences and connecting with those from various backgrounds.  

You don’t have to be a certain age to join cultural exchange programmes. You can be in high school, college, uni, working or retired. No matter which point you are in life, there’s something valuable to take away from these eye-opening experiences. Fuel your wanderlust by applying for these five cultural exchange programmes: 

cultural exchange programmes

Disney offers international programmes for students to grab a once-in-a-lifetime chance to work at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Source: Octavio Jones/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

The Disney Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP)

Looking for an international experience with a world-renowned company that can enhance your CV? Disney organises international programmes that offer students a once-in-a-lifetime chance to work at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. 

The Cultural Exchange Programme allows students from all walks of life to immerse themselves in different cultures around the world and build lifelong friendships. On top of that, you will live in one of the four housing complexes at Disney World Resort itself. The housings provided are not free and will be automatically deducted weekly from your pay. 

What makes this programme stand out is its power of connecting students with industry experts. It’s hard to find a better way to boost one’s knowledge and skills in areas like communication and customer service. Below are some criteria applicants should fulfil before applying:

  • Can speak fluent English
  • At least 18 years of age at the time of application submission
  • Enrolled in an accredited, degree-issuing college or university; and returning to school for at least one term following the program; students can also participate in the program immediately following graduation.

Check out these exciting stories from past Disney participants here

Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad offers a variety of programmes from internships to volunteering abroad. It even extends to food tours and ethical consumerism trips. The participating countries include Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean and the Pacific. 

Given the extensive range of programmes, there is no doubt something for everyone of all age groups to choose from. Some programmes have a minimum age of 15 to 16 years old while some have a minimum age of 18. Others include more senior age groups of 50 years and above. 

A unique feature of Project Abroad is the flexibility it offers to students. For instance, the Global Gap Year Programme and Combination Trips. While the structure of the trips varies slightly, both programmes provide students with the chance to tailor their goals and interests by combining multiple projects in different countries. Click here to apply.

cultural exchange programmes

Absolute Internships offer high school and college-bound students internship opportunities across Asia and Europe. Source: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Absolute Internships 

For high school and college-bound students, you have the opportunity to live and intern in exciting locations across Asia and Europe with Absolute Internships. They offer three types of unpaid internship programmes: on-site internships, remote internships and high school internships in various industries ranging from advertising and graphic design to real estate. Find out the full list of industries here.

The programme costs are dependent on the destinations you choose to pursue an internship. Head over here for more information on programme dates and their fees. Take note that internships abroad are only eligible for those 18 years and older. 

Choose your programme and apply now. Curious about what the past participants were up to during their time abroad? Read to find out.

Commuters wait on a platform to board a local train in Mumbai on Sept. 8, 2022. Source: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP


Short for “American Field Service Intercultural Programmes”, AFS is a non-governmental and non-profit organisation that offers a global international exchange programme for young people from all backgrounds. Centred around intercultural learnings, AFS also promotes education initiatives, volunteerism and advocacy, empowering those passionate about making a difference to become global changemakers. 

This is a list of intercultural programmes available: 

Students who require financial assistance are supported through the Study Abroad Scholarships which are awarded yearly. They are merit-based and need-based scholarships, designed to make studying abroad a reality regardless of your financial situation. 

Visit the website of your home country and register today. 

cultural exchange programmes

Arcos Journeys Abroad’s main programme is the Spanish Immersion course. Source: Pau Barrena/AFP

Arcos Journeys Abroad 

Arcos Journeys Abroad boasts a high level of personalisation as well as quality in their decision-making and programme planning. The programme serves students below the age of 18 to provide them with a transformative study abroad programme. 

Their main programme is the Spanish Immersion course. As the title suggests, students can refine their Spanish language skills and immerse themselves in the local culture. Here is a list of dates and prices for 2023’s summer offerings.

Other than that, there are also Gap Year and Semester Programmes under the University Programme division: Arcos Learning Abroad. Participants can enrol for an academic year, a semester or for short-term dates. Learn more about the dates and prices for programmes under Arcos Learning Abroad.