English Courses


What is a High School programme?

The High School programme offers young international students the opportunity to live with a carefully selected local host family and attend a local secondary school either in Derry (Northern Ireland) or in Letterkenny (Republic of Ireland). Students can spend between 1 term and 3 terms (full academic year) attending school, supported by our team of coordinators and student mentors.

By living with a family and studying at the local secondary school, students become fluent in another language, open their minds to another culture, make lifelong friends and learn more than ever about themselves and the world around them.


Why Study Abroad?

  • Become fluent in English
  • Live and study in another cultural environment
  • Make lifelong friends
  • Expand your horizons
  • Develop your personal skills


The programme provides:

  • Full board accommodation with a local host family (breakfast, packed lunch and dinner each day)
  • Enrolment at a local secondary or grammar school
  • Transfer on arrival
  • Welcome orientation and student handbook
  • Support provided by a local Foyle representative
  • Opportunity to do voluntary work


We offer stays in Derry (Northern Ireland) or in Letterkenny (Republic of Ireland) depending on the preferences of the student and their family.


Education in Northern Ireland (UK)

The UK school system is renowned across the world and consists of 7 years of post-primary education. Children start primary school at 5 years old, change to secondary school at 11 years old and after 5 years take their GCSEs (General Certificate of Secondary Education) in many subjects. Students can then get a job with training, do a vocational course, or stay at school for 2 more years (Sixth Form) to do Advanced Level exams (called AS and A2) in 3 or 4 subjects. Sixth Form is preparation for university – students have more responsibility and are expected to do more private study.

The education system in Northern Ireland differs slightly from systems used elsewhere in the United Kingdom, although it is relatively similar to Wales. A child’s age on 1 July determines the point of entry into the relevant stage of education, unlike England and Wales where it is 1 September.

Northern Ireland’s results at GCSE and A-Level are consistently top in the UK. At A-Level and BTEC level 3, one third of students in Northern Ireland achieved A and distinction grades in 2007, which is a higher proportion than in England and Wales.

Education in Republic of Ireland

The Irish secondary school system consists of 6 years of post-primary education, which is divided into two cycles – Junior and Senior. The Junior Certificate is taken after 3 years and students usually study a minimum of 8 subjects. After another 2 years students take the Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 6 subjects. The Irish Department of Education offers around 30 different subjects on the national curriculum and most schools will offer between 15 to 20 of these subjects.