Getting your high school education from abroad can be exciting as well as intimidating. Admittedly, many students prefer flying away from the nest when applying for college. However, going abroad for your high school years brings many advantages.

It is a time when you can travel without any preconceived notions or biases when the resilience of youth can turn daunting experiences into adventures. The decision of which country to opt for is personal and is usually based on a number of factors such as budget, quality of education and personal choice.

The countries listed below are all highly ranked for their quality of education but differ in their cultures and the systems of education they follow.


If you want the experience of studying in a foreign country but are not ready for a complete culture change, taking a gander across the border may be the best option for you. The Canadian schooling system gives you a number of choices including public international high schools, private international high schools, boarding schools, all-girls schools, all-boys schools and Catholic or other Christian schools.

Tuition fees depend on whether you plan to attend a Canadian public high school, a religiously-affiliated high school, or a private high school. Costs will also vary depending on whether you choose a boarding school or need separate accommodation. You can read up more on Canadian education on Schools in Canada and Just Landed.


If you are thinking of your budget then living in Estonia is cheaper than in other countries in the Nordic region. Their secondary education is divided into general, vocational and hobby education. General secondary education is acquired in 3 years, and vocational education takes at least one year after general secondary education is complete.

Other than being home to an excellent system of education, Estonia is one of the safest countries in the world. Study in Estonia is a website that gives you an insight into the advantages of studying there.


Finland has a very interesting system of education. The country routinely tops rankings of global education systems. It has the smallest gap between the weakest and the strongest pupils in the world because all pupils, regardless of their ability, are taught in the same classes. Another tempting fact is that Finnish schools also give relatively little homework and have only one mandatory test at age 16.


If you are smart and eager to compete and prove yourself, Japan may be the country for you. This country’s education system prizes effort above inherited “smartness”. With a strong culture of accountability and clear learning outcomes and goalposts, education in Japan would hone your talents until you become intuitively sharp and tap into your natural intelligence.

However, Japanese education is not for the faint of heart. It requires long hours of hard work and is founded on disciplining oneself. Interesting facts about the Japanese education system can be found on Novak Djokovic Foundation.


If you have a philosophical bend of mind and a love for culture, France might be the country for you. Although studies in France are rigorous, with a typical school day ending at 5-6 pm, there is plenty of time to have fun and sip coffee and at the local cafés.

Upper secondary education takes place at lycées (high schools) which have two different types of qualifications. Those thinking of going for higher education will attend a ‘general/technical’ lycée where they will study the Baccalauréat (the French equivalent for A Levels), whereas those planning to go directly into the corporate world will attend a ‘vocational/professional’ lycée.

The Baccalauréat gives an automatic entrance to a French University.  Ask A Frenchman details a high school experience from a student’s perspective.

United Kingdom

This list would not be complete without the land of Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, J.K. Rowling, Stephen Hawking and Tim Berners-Lee (who invented the World Wide Web). The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain – which contains England, Scotland and Wales – and the northern portion of the island of Ireland.

Home to some of the most famous and old educational institutions in the world such as Oxford, Cambridge, and Imperial, the United Kingdom is steeped in tradition and culture. Education in Britain is different from education is Wales, Scotland or Ireland.

Traditionally, depth of education is emphasized in England, Wales and Northern Ireland whereas the Scottish system emphasizes breadth. So if you opt for the former, you will probably sit for a small number of more advanced examinations whereas if you opt for the latter, you will sit for a larger number of less advanced examinations.

When you go to the UK, you will be met with interesting accents, a strong local culture, and interesting experiences to give you’re a lifetime of interesting stories to narrate.

If you are still confused, check out School Apply to get detailed information regarding higher education in different countries. Although it is better suited for students who want to pursue bachelors or masters level studies, it will give you an idea about the colleges and universities available in the country of your choice so that you can start planning a future you’ve always envisioned.

Studying abroad is a bold decision, and all the more so if you are making that decision in your high school years. Leaving the comfort of your home to explore and broaden your horizon at a young age inculcates courage and independence – excellent traits that will shape your life.

Any experience you learn from is a good experience. Similarly, whichever country you choose will work for you because it will allow you to learn and grow in a manner that would not be possible if you choose to stay at home.


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