International Exchange and Study Abroad Programs

High School students at Shining Mountain have the opportunity to deepen their language skills and widen their horizons by studying abroad. Students can go on exchange or to an immersion course either in the January or February of grade 10, during summer vacation or in September of 11th grade.

These exchanges and immersions need to be arranged well ahead of time in order to get the necessary paperwork and visas for both SMWS student as well as the exchange student who will be coming here. The Admissions Office recommends at least a six-month lead in time.

We have many requests from students in Germany and Austria wanting to come on exchange here, which makes it easy to find German and Austrian schools where our SMWS German students can study.

We have recently been able to organize exchanges with Waldorf Schools in Columbia and Spain. SMWS Spanish students can also go to a language immersion course or volunteer in a South American country during their summer.


Shining Mountain Waldorf High School has a limited number of exchange opportunities each school year. If accepted, you would continue to pay tuition in your own school, and the Shining Mountain student would continue to pay tuition here.  An exchange works best when first one student attends the other’s school for a semester, and then the second student attends the first student’s school, rather than a simple swap.  Participation fees for our athletic programs and visa fees are not included, and we recommend you come with at least $200 per month in spending money. Shining Mountain Waldorf School is authorized to grant I-20 student visas.


We only do exchanges with students from Waldorf Schools where the primary spoken language is Spanish or German.  If you do not meet this criteria,  you may apply to be a paying international student. Please see the International Paying Student Section for additional information.

  1. Exchanges are only done during the 10th grade year for one semester.
  2. If you are interested in doing an exchange with us, you will need to begin planning it at the beginning of 9th grade, and we will require at least 8 months lead time to complete the process.
  3. You and your parents will need to complete our High School Exchange Student Application, which we will email to you. This application includes student and parent questionnaires, two letters of reference, and your agreement to follow our school’s media policy, dress code, drug and alcohol policies as well as all local laws. Your parents will also need to sign a document giving authority to the host parents to act as the parental authority while you are staying in their home.
  4. You and your parents will conduct separate SKYPE interviews with our Admissions Director, International Student Coordinator, and our High School Faculty Chair or another senior faculty member.
  5. Our Host Families are not responsible for providing housing for parents who are visiting or any other guests of the exchange students during the course of their exchange.

If you meet these requirements, please contact our Admissions Director, Mary Eaton Fairfield, at to begin the application process.  If you are an international student looking to attend Shining Mountain High School, click here for more information.

Foreign Exchange in Germany