IUHPFL began in 1962 when Mr. Munford, a former official of the Ford Foundation, approached Professor Merle Simmons, at the Indiana University Department of Spanish and Portuguese, about using Ford Foundation funds to create immersion programs abroad for high school students.
The goal, as described by Professor Simmons, was to create total immersion programming in the host culture, resulting in high proficiency in the target language. Initially, three program sites were established: St. Brieuc in France, Trier in Germany, and Oaxaca in Mexico.
Over time, IUHPFL has expanded significantly, adding languages and program sites on four continents.
The program in Austria began in 2015 in Graz—the first German-speaking program in Austria. Graz is located in the southeastern Austrian state of Styria.
The program in Chile began in 2014 in Viña del Mar—our first program in South America and newest Spanish-speaking site. Viña del Mar is located in central Chile in Valparaíso Province.
The program in China began in 2014 in the beautiful city of Hangzhou, China, located in the Yangtze River Delta.
The program in France began in 1962 with a site in the city of St. Brieuc, in the region of Brittany, and this site is still active today. A second French program site in Brittany was established in 1994, this time in Brest. Due to the increasing number of high school French students applying to the program, a third site was established in Saumur in the Loire Valley in 2010.
The program in Germany began in 1962 in Trier and moved to Krefeld, a city along the Rhinenear Düsseldorf and Cologne, in 1964 where it remained for 50 years until 2014. Summer of 2015, the new German-speaking program was launched in Graz, Austria.
In Summer 2017, the vision to launch an IUHPFL program in Japan finally became a reality in the city of Osaka, which is located in Osaka Province along Osaka Bay.
The program in Mexico began in 1962 in Oaxaca and moved to Monterrey after two years, followed by San Luis Potosí a few years later, where it remained until 2010. Due to safety concerns, the program was moved to Mérida in the Yucatán Peninsula in 2011, where it remains today. Mérida is widely recognized as one of the safest and most beautiful cities in all of Latin America.
The first program site in Spain was established in 1996 in the city of Valencia, which ended in 2013 due to the rapid increase of tourism in the area. The sites of Ciudad Real and León were established in 1999 and 2005, respectively. Oviedo was added in 2007 to help accommodate the high number of Spanish applicants.