Your How-to For Gaining Credit for Your Teen Abroad Program

Your How-to For Gaining Credit for Your Teen Abroad Program

A note from Greenheart Travel: This blog post was written by Greenheart Travel alum and 2021 summer intern, Noah Torres. 


Greenheart Travel Summer Language Camp

Studying abroad is an invaluable experience that teaches more than language skills – you’ll grow your arsenal of social and personal life stratagems that propel you into a life of adventure and constant growth. It is a mix of the people you meet, the challenges you face, the problems you solve, the moments you savor, and the opportunities that open when you put yourself in an entirely new world. There is one technicality that most of us race to address with this experience though; procurement of academic credit. 

State Language Requirements

Each state has different coursework requirements for high school graduation, and even these requirements vary by type of high school attended, whether it is public, private, or charter, etc. Language requirements for admission into universities vary even more, as each institution may have their own expectations, though these expectations are mostly parallel across most state-funded universities. General language requirements for high school graduation as of the 2021-2022 school year are listed below, though it is imperative that you double-check this information with your high school of attendance and projected university of attendance. 

California: 2 years

Kansas: 2 years

Maine: No requirements found but 2 years sought by universities

Michigan: 2 years

New York: One year for Regents Diploma

North Carolina: No requirements found but 2 years required for UNC admission

Texas: 2 years

It is also important to note that different colleges will have different language requirements for degree completion as well, and these requirements can vary even by major. This is important if you plan for the long term. Following is information on how you may best wield your study abroad experience in acquiring high school and college credit for language requirements. 

Getting Credit

High School

Acquiring credit for your language experience abroad is more likely possible in university than high school, as the graduation requirements are more individually tailored to the student body. However, here is a guide on attempting the procurement of language credit in High school. 

Contact your high school counselor and inform them of your travels abroad and the academic purposes of the program. 

Collect all certificates and awards received during your program, including certificates of completion. This may help in officializing your grant of credit, in both high school and college. 

Connect your high school counselor with your Greenheart travel counselor, ONLY after receiving permission from both parties to do so. Your school will likely need some administrative paperwork to be done that only the organizing institution can complete. 

For your convenience, a template of an email or letter you may send your high school counselor is below.

                To whom it may concern,

My name is _______, a _______ year student at _______ high school. I am writing you as I have just completed an immersive language study program in ________ with Greenheart Travel. Due to the academic rigor and language instruction of this program, I would appreciate your help in exploring paths I may take to pursue credit for my time abroad, that would fulfil my language requirements in any capacity. If you are able, I would like to schedule a time to speak with you on this matter, and discuss all possibilities of pursuing credit procurement, whether through _______ high school, the local district, or any other institution. I can provide (insert any paperwork/certificates you have) and connect you with my program counselor if it may help.

Thank you sincerely for your time and consideration. 




Lastly, it is important that you try to get the credit to show up on your high school transcripts, as universities may use these transcripts to determine whether or not you are eligible to apply. An example of a Los Angeles Unified School District transcript mentioning Greenheart’s two week Arcachon program is below.

****Note that the two week Arcachon program was completed twice by this student, and one semester’s worth of credit was granted for each program completion****


Securing language credit for colleges and universities can be much more complicated than high school, as each university has their own language requirements, though it is also more likely that you will receive credit. Below are a few ways in which high school students may pursue college credit for their time abroad. 

Students In High School

These methods may also apply to current college students, though it is advised that you check with your counselor individually if you may pursue these paths. 

  • Take the AP test for the language you are studying – a passing score is likely to secure you college credit. 
  • Take the International Baccalaureate DP assessment – while you may petition for college credit with any score you receive on this test, earning a bilingual diploma can test you out of your college’s language requirements completely.  

Students In College/University

  • Take your college’s own language placement test. Depending on your institution of attendance, you may either test out of the language requirement entirely, or test into an upper level language class, potentially fulfilling some of the requirement. Check with your academic advisor. 
  • Email your college’s language department and request placement based on language experience. This is a more difficult and unorthodox method, though it is possible that, with proper documentation, your institution of attendance will recognize and reward your experience with foreign language with some credit. Depending on your institution of attendance, you may either place out of the language requirement entirely, or test into an upper level language class, potentially fulfilling some of the requirement. Check with your academic advisor. 


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