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With over 80 million citizens, Germany is a lot bigger than New Zealand, but you will find it diverse, modern and welcoming. Germany is known for its rich cultural history, festive celebrations, and historic sites. Germany also has a vibrant arts scene and is a popular choice for touring international artists. It has a high standard of living, an active youth culture, and a wide range of activities to choose from. Germany’s biggest cities are Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt, and Stuttgart, each with their own individual culture and history.

Germany’s food culture is traditionally characterized by wholesome but hearty dishes, a vast array of sausages and excellent cakes. The excellence of Germany’s beer derives from the sixteenth-century Reinheitsgebot, the world’s oldest food purity law.

The tradition of the Kur or spa visit has endured to a far greater extent in Germany than elsewhere, and if you want to unwind in saline or hot springs there are spa towns up and down the country. In summer, the nation’s endless forests and mountains play host to hikers and cyclists while the Alps tempt international visitors with an excellent array of downhill ski runs in winter. Germany is well worth exploring for yourself.

Eligibility Requirements

You must be 16, 17 or 18.

What's included in your experience

  • Airfare
  • Airport Pick-up
  • Host Family Placement
  • Housing
  • Meals
  • Medical Insurance
  • 24/7 Emergency Support
  • Domestic Transport
  • Assistance with Application Process
  • Visa Application Assistance
  • Pre-Departure Orientation
  • Orientations during your time abroad
  • Continuous Support
  • Worldwide Presence
  • 70 Years Experience

What you are responsible for

  • Vaccinations
  • Visa and Passport Fees
  • School Uniform

High School

Germany’s reputation for quality and efficiency means you’ll likely attend a well-organized, competitive German high school, where you’ll be able to learn the language and experience life as a German teenager. With so many intellectual pursuits in store, you’re sure to have a thrilling, transformative, and educational exchange year!

You’ll most likely attend a college prep school called a Gymnasium, but you could also be enrolled in a Realschule (which only goes up to grade 10), Gesamtschule (a comprehensive public school), or Stadtteilschulen. In Germany, students usually go to school Monday through Friday, though in some areas they also go to school on Saturdays. High school in Germany usually begins around 7:30 or 8:30 am and ends by 2 pm. The relationship between students and their teachers is usually both friendly and respectful in Germany.

Even if your teachers are casual, they will expect you to come to class on time, complete homework in a timely fashion, and participate actively in class.

Because most German students don’t attend high school in the afternoon, many teenagers are involved in local sports clubs (Verein) or music lessons. Most host families will encourage you to participate in after-school activities – they’re a great way to make friends and learn about German culture.


Accommodation and lifestyle

AFSers have lived in communities all throughout the country, but you’re most likely to be hosted in a small town or rural area. Family life and social order are important in Germany, but so is independence. You can count on the support of your host parents while also getting the chance to explore on your own.

Like anywhere in the world, all families in Germany are different. Most are industrious, thrifty, and organized. Many Germans like to discuss politics, sports, culture, philosophy, or the environment, so you should be prepared to share your opinion. Deep and wide-ranging intellectual conversations are generally preferred over small talk. And, again, direct and honest communication is common and appreciated. Be open with your host family and you should learn a lot and find a respectful mutual understanding.

Punctuality is pretty important. Don’t be too early or too late; be on time. The German language could sound a little harsh and attitudes may seem reserved or stiff at first, but don’t take it personally if you receive fewer smiles or laughs than you expect. Germans may take a little longer to make friends, but they are undoubtedly true companions.

Let AFS guide your intercultural adventure

Kick-start your future with AFS and discover who you really are, make new lifetime friendships and immerse yourself in a fascinating intercultural experience.

This programme begins at your home country with a pre-departure orientation and continues with orientations, other supported learning activities and facilitated conversations which will help you maximize your experience, cope with the challenges of navigating a new culture and community as well as gain knowledge, skills, and a global understanding throughout your time abroad, and as you return to your home country. AFS volunteers will be there to support and guide you and your host family the whole way through.

Send us an enquiry