The IUHPFL Experience

Daunting. Exhilarating. Intimidating.

The IUHPFL is like nothing a student has ever experienced before. No words can adequately describe a student’s transformation happening during the program. No words can adequately describe an experience with such lifelong magnitude.  

No amount of planning prepares students and parents for the IUHPFL experience: It is living the language in every sense of the word, it is all-encompassing and life-changing. It is incredible.

What is the program really like?

The IUHPFL is a demanding experience on every level: academic, personal, social, emotional and physical. It is not for the faint of heart, and it may not be right for everybody. 

Accepted students are placed in one of eleven sites in seven countries depending on their language of study. Each site has been intentionally selected to offer a rounded host culture experience that offers impressions of daily life, history, business, nature, activities, entertainment and excursions.

Life-changing Summer Abroad

Because it is nearly impossible to describe with mere words what students experience and how their lives change during and after the summer abroad, this section is dedicated to testimonials and visual impressions of the IUHPFL.

Maintaining Sports and Music While Abroad

"Participating in a high school sport and maintaining off-season training can certainly be a demanding task. Similarly, traveling to a foreign country to live with a host family and study a language is no piece of cake.  With the help of the IUHPFL and a lot of self-discipline, however, the two assignments can actually complement each other." Casey Atchley, Léon, Spain 2005 — Read Casey's full description of his experience.                  

Many prospective IUHPFL students are involved in extra-curricular activities, including sports and music. They often are part of a school team, play in the band and maintain a rigorous schedule to excel in their chosen activities. The IUHPFL is set up to support students while they are abroad. Accepted IUHPFL students who are athletes or musicians are encouraged to disclose such information on their acceptance materials. This way the IUHPFL can better accommodate their wishes. Music students have the option of bringing their instrument abroad or renting one onsite. Potential costs for either option, however, must be covered by the student or guardian.

Onsite, instructors will work with host families and local gyms, coordinate with other students who pursue similar activities and facilitate that students have time to practice while still participating in all IUHPFL-related activities. Students are advised to discuss their summer plans with their coaches to ensure they receive training or practice guidelines.

What They See and Say: Students Abroad

Potential participants should review the information below, how students live, study and travel while abroad, what they see and what they say: 

  • Program Sites and alumni stories
  • A glimpse of what living in a Spanish host family might be like. Stephen D., Oviedo 2010, of University High School of Indiana in Indianapolis, provides a tour through his Spanish apartment and introduces his Spanish family and way of life in Oviedo.
  • An interview that Hadas B., San Luis Potosí 2010, of North Central High School, had with her host mother about the program. In the interview, Hadas asks her host mother why she began to host students in the program, how the experience improves a student's language skills, and more! Hadas also interviews her father about why students might be interested in visiting Mexico and why he likes to be a host father with the IUHPFL. Finally, Hadas interviews classmate Daniel E., San Luis Potosí 2010, of Center Grove High School, about his experience in San Luis Potosí.
  • The video "Saumur Je t'aime" was filmed and edited by Saumur students for the 2012 fête des familles.