SYA Fund: Around the World in 30 Days

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This campaign ended on June 30, 2020, but you can still make a gift to School Year Abroad by clicking here!
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The SYA adventure begins with you⁠ — our students, our faculty, our parents, our alumni, our community

Get ready for a virtual tour around the world! This June, we're highlighting all the things that make the SYA experience so special and relevant in today's world, and why your support matters.

Here’s how to participate: 

Make a Gift to the SYA Fund to support our faculty and students

SYA Fund gifts of all amounts provide the unrestricted, flexible funding needed to ensure that SYA can meet the unique needs of our students and faculty. Now more than ever, our students rely on you to continue their education in a safe and effective way. In times of economic uncertainty, the SYA Fund will be especially important as we evolve to keep our community together through need-based financial aid, innovative curriculum development and advanced technology infrastructure. Help us meet our goal by June 30!

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in many ways, but the SYA community sticks together! How you are staying connected with SYA friends, classmates, and family?

  • Keep each other company during a Zoom happy hour or long phone call. Share a screenshot or selfie. 
  • Share words of encouragement with SYA students and faculty.
  • Visit our 'Guide to being a Virtual SYAer' page to find activities to help you be a part of the SYA experience from home.

We can't be on our campus right now, but that doesn't mean we're not there in our minds and on our screens!

  • Share your favorite SYA memory (bonus points if you have a photo!), or tell us the destination you're dreaming of once it's safe to travel again. 
  • Visit the advocacy tab of this campaign and upload a quick ‘personal plea’ video about why SYA means the world to you.
  • Use this print-out to share what you love about SYA, take a picture and post.

Spread the word about this campaign and encourage your friends, family, and classmates to get involved. 

  • Step 1: Sign up to be an advocate
  • Step 2: While logged into your advocate account, use the Facebook, Twitter, Text and Email buttons to help spread the word. 
  • Step 3: Check back to the ‘advocates’ tab to see how many clicks, dollars, and donors you’ve generated for SYA! 
Thank you!

We are SO GRATEFUL to every SYAer who showed their support today, this month, and all year long! Through so many of the challenging circumstances of this year, our community has come through time and again to support each other, and the school we all love. Because of you, the SYA adventure will continue for the next class of SYAers and beyond!

Are you joining in after midnight? You can still contribute to the SYA Fund, helping us to start next year strong!

Thank you!!!

1474 days ago by Allison Butler
An International Perspective

1474 days ago by Allison Butler
Impressions of an Unprecedented Year from three of our Resident directors

1475 days ago by Allison Butler
"A Year that Changed My Life"

1475 days ago by Allison Butler
S Y A Alums Love to Gather

The SYA experience brings our alumni together in a way nothing else can. Whether in person, or now virtually, SYAers are keeping in touch. Even our inaugural Spain Class of ’65 still meets to catch up!

1475 days ago by Allison Butler
Challenging and Rewarding

1475 days ago by Allison Butler
Teachers making an impact

SYA faculty member Ángel Vilalta (SYA Spain 1964-1998) was our first non-U.S. hire and was critical to the creation and early success of SYA. He opened the eyes of his students by impressing upon them the fundamental importance of culture, in all its manifestations, in their lives. The passionate teaching and compelling lessons of all of SYA's amazing teachers remain in the hearts of each SYA alum throughout the years. 

“These experiences would not be possible without the support of SYA’s hard-working, dedicated teachers, such as Solé, Marta, Álvaro, and Marimar. They are the reason I am so honored to be this year’s Ángel Vilalta Scholar, which is in honor of SYA Spain’s legendary teacher. Through the support and encouragement of my teachers at SYA, I gained confidence in myself and my ability to take on unfamiliar challenges.”  - Ava R. ES'20, Ángel Vilalta Scholar

1475 days ago by Allison Butler
S Y A From Home

Although the pandemic brought this year’s SYA experience to an early end, our resilient students pivoted to remote learning and finished out the year on a high note.


1) SYA Spain art teacher Sole Gutiérrez and her students discuss Dadaismo during an online class. Students had to create a ready-made work of art at home, and took turns guessing what each artist was trying to say before the artist explained his or her work.

2) Lillian P. IT’20 and her host family had dinner together on Zoom. To meld culinary traditions, they cooked the same menu of quesadillas con pollo and quesadillas con Nutella.

3) SYA France students David G., Chandler V. and Annika M. shared photos of their remote workspaces and their view. Can you see what all three have in common?

1475 days ago by Allison Butler
Broadening Horizons

1475 days ago by Allison Butler
S Y A Makes News Abroad

Several decades apart, but SYA is not unaccustomed to making the news!


March 2020: SYA France students are interviewed by French TV channel M6 as they prepare to fly home due to the pandemic.

September 1971: Ouest-France, Rennes’ local newspaper, ran this photo with the French headline “Sixty American Students in Rennes for a Year.” 

1475 days ago by Allison Butler
S Y A Group Goodbyes

I can still remember the day we were told we would have to leave Italy within the next few days like it was yesterday. It was a moment I will probably remember for the rest of my life, but when I think about it, it isn’t the sadness or shock that left a lasting impression on me. It was the sense of community. The way that hearing those words and knowing what they meant for us led us closer together, knowing that this year would come to an end early, is a feeling that I won’t forget. - Frances L. IT'20, Alvarez Global Scholar

1475 days ago by Allison Butler
"By Giving Back to S Y A, I Pay Forward the Encouragement and Support I Received as a Student"

Our very own School Operations Manager Samantha Gammons CN’01 shares why she loves and supports SYA. Share your own personal plea below under “Tell My Story!”

1475 days ago by Allison Butler
Changing Lives

1479 days ago by Allison Butler
Alums Return to Campus

Who says you can’t go back home? Many SYA alums make it a point to return to SYA campuses for a visit!


1) Margo L. ES‘98 returned to campus with her family. She spoke with students about the impact SYA has had on her life and the important work she does now as the Director of clinical programs at Northeastern University School of Law. 

2 ) Liza G. FR’08 returns to Rennes to pay a visit to Pascal MontevilleShe is pursuing a doctorate in French Lit at the University of Texas, Austin. 

3Emma M. IT'07 spent a weekend with her host family in November. She is the only student to bring home a dog, which she named Pasha!

1480 days ago by Allison Butler
The 2020 Young Alumni Challenge

Attention SYA Young Alumni! Did you know we’re running a special challenge and sweepstakes this year just for you?


Four SYA Campuses. 3,394 Young Alumni. Unlimited impact.

We’re asking SYA’s alumni from 2005-2019 to support the SYA experience by each country reaching 10% participation in the SYA Fund. SYA Fund gifts of all amounts provide the unrestricted, flexible funding to ensure SYA can meet the unique needs of our students and faculty. Going forward, the SYA Fund will be especially important as we face economic uncertainty and must plan accordingly to keep our community together through need-based financial aid.


Someday . . . when it's okay . . .Fly Away with SYA!

Also exclusively for young alums: a donation to the SYA Fund will count as an entry to this year’s Fly Away with SYA Sweepstakes with a chance to win a $1,000 flight voucher once it’s safe to travel again!


Follow along (and see more details) on your country’s page!





1481 days ago by Allison Butler

Pictured: A group of students at the “flea market” in Clignancourt, Paris; SYA France students visit the Hall of Mirrors and the gardens at Versaille; Serena W. and Imani H. learn about sea life at the Aquarium in San Sebastián; SYA Spain visits Bilbao 

Ask any SYAer and they will tell you that road trips and excursions were the highlight of their year abroad!   

1481 days ago by Allison Butler
Food, Glorious Food

Pictured: De la pomme au cidre” (from apple to cider). SYA France students learn the traditional method of making Breton cider from start to finish; "I touched cheese!" SYA Italy students Sadie H., Priya M. and Anna P. help remove 'primo sale cacciotta mista' from their forms and place them in a cheese house for aging; Forget Augustus GloopSYA France students got their hands dirty at a local chocolate factory. 

There’s nothing more hands-on than learning about and creating the traditional foods from SYA host countries!

1482 days ago by Allison Butler
Showing off artistic talents

Pictured: Painting a Gauguin in Contemporary Art class with Paco Simona local artist; An SYA Spain student puts the finishing touches on her sketch; SYA Spain’s theatre class put on a holiday production for their families; an SYA China student performs at a welcome concert.

Extra-curriculars make the SYA experience richer. From drums to drawing to dance, students love to share their many talents while abroad.

1483 days ago by Allison Butler
Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

1486 days ago by Allison Butler
A Day at Datong High School

Getting to know some local students and experience a classroom different to their own, SYA China students spent a day at Datong High School last fall, which is attached to Beijing Normal University. They attended class with students, played soccer, and attended a welcome party!

1487 days ago by Allison Butler
The Glue of the S Y A Experience

The backbone of the SYA experience is our network of amazing host families. Whether in the kitchen, on the road, or just hanging out together, SYAers are welcomed by their host families with open arms. Pictured above are some of this year's SYA Spain students out and about with their host families! Do you have a favorite memory with your host family?

1488 days ago by Allison Butler
New match added!

Woohoo! This just in: an SYA Enthusiast (we love those!) will give $25 for every donation to the SYA Fund (up to 400 donations, or $10,000). That means not only does each and every gift make a difference to SYA and its students, making a gift now also increases your impact!

1489 days ago by Allison Butler
An Appreciation of Other Cultures

1489 days ago by Allison Butler
Holidays Abroad

Though far from home for the holidays, SYA students gather with their host families, and each other, to share in new and old traditions.

1490 days ago by Allison Butler
Opening Eyes to the World

Each year, there are incredible students for which the SYA experience simply wouldn't be possible without the generous support of our alumni, parents and friends. Thank you for helping to open students' eyes to the world!

Going forward, this support will be especially important as we face economic uncertainty and evolve to keep our community together through need-based financial aid, innovative curriculum development and advanced technology infrastructure.

1493 days ago by Allison Butler
Exploring on Foot and On Wheels

While abroad, SYA students are encouraged to explore their new surroundings in a variety of ways. Pictured above, SYA Spain students explore the Donostia-San Sebastian countryside by bicycle, and Jonei E. ES’20 discovers the culinary side of Segovia by sampling some local pastry during a walk around town.

1494 days ago by Allison Butler
Global Awareness

1495 days ago by Allison Butler
You are "Here"

The SYA orientation process for students involves navigating their way around a foreign city. SYA Italy students, as part of an orientation activity in Bologna, find an arrow in the ceiling from the 16th Century.

1495 days ago by Allison Butler
la grève nationale

Pictured left: Annika M. FR’20 takes notes during the demonstration held in Rennes in December. 

Pictured right: Aleka G. FR’20 prepares a mock slogan and sign like those she and her classmates observed while attending an earlier protest. 

SYA France students had a front row seat to last December’s “la grève nationale” (national strike), protesting President Macron's controversial pension plans. Participating from the sidelines, Students observed the mechanisms and cultural traditions of a demonstration in France. 

When reflecting on the experience in a News-Decoder article, Claire Wang FR’20 wrote: “I thought yellow vest protesters in France were a uniform group of angry radicals. But I talked to citizens and discovered it's much more complicated.”

1495 days ago by Allison Butler
Diversity of Thinking

1496 days ago by Allison Butler
Volunteering & Doing Good

Volunteering time in the local community is vital to the SYA experience, another great way to immerse in the culture of the host country, and a chance to practice new language skills on in the field! In the photos above, SYA Spain students volunteered at supermarkets in Zaragoza to collect for the local food bank.

1496 days ago by Allison Butler
Active Engagement

Pictured: SYA Italy demonstrates some work outside of the classroom: analyzing grapes at a local vineyard, joining in a global climate strike, visiting the Musée des Beaux Arts in Quimper and on the first day of the "Italia In Un Piatto" cooking class.

Many of SYA courses involves a fieldwork element designed to challenge students in the broader community. This gets students out of the classroom each week to see put the skills they are learning into action, and requires active engagement in the local culture!

1500 days ago by Allison Butler
A Path of Understanding

1501 days ago by Allison Butler
No shortage of places to explore

Pictured: SYA Spain students hiked in the Blanco River Canyon, SYA China students hiked to Sledge Hammer Peak, SYA Italy students walked the 10K Via Francigena, SYA France students hiked Ménez-Hom

Hiking is a favorite SYA pastime, and our students regularly go on hikes to explore their surroundings and get some exercise!

1501 days ago by Allison Butler

Pictured: SYA Spain students participate in the Fiestas del Pilar; SYA France students cross the bay at Mont Saint-Michel with their host siblings; SYA Italy students witness the transport of La Macchina di Santa Rosa; SYA China students participate in a field day with the students of Middle School #2

Each culture and school has its own traditions, festivals and special events. Students are encouraged to learn about these from their host families and peers, and fully participate.

1502 days ago by Allison Butler
Confidence, Empathy and Understanding

We live in an increasingly interdependent world. Central to the SYA experience is learning empathy and understanding by engaging with different languages, cultures and peoples.

1502 days ago by Allison Butler
A Home Away from Home

Pictured: SYA China students visiting Tiananmen Square, SYA Spain students exploring Zaragoza by kayak and learning how the International Exposition 2008 changed the city, SYA Italy students being led by Resident Director Pat Scanlon, SYA France students at place du Parlement

Educational travel is an important aspect of the SYA experience. But before going too far, students are encouraged to get to know their local cities first.  

1503 days ago by Allison Butler
Opportunities to travel and understand different cultures

Why do YOU support SYA? Share with us or use this print-out and post on social with #SYA30Days!

1503 days ago by Allison Butler
The Adventure Begins!

Pictured clockwise: SYA China students meeting faculty on their first day, SYA Italy students getting to know each other, SYA France students arrive to Villa Alvarez, SYA Spain students’ first day in Zaragoza

One of the biggest highlights of the year is always the first week of arriving in country and getting to know each other! This year, in addition to the usual orientation activities, students engaged in a multi-week intensive immersion unit designed to help students get to know their host families, their new cities and the language and culture.  

1504 days ago by Allison Butler
Join an adventure this June!

Welcome to Day 1 of SYA’s Around the World in 30 Days! Each and every SYA student departs on a special journey when they leave home and head for their SYA campus. Do you remember the beginning of your SYA journey, or your child’s SYA journey? 

This month, we’re taking you on a virtual adventure across our four campuses (and beyond) to help you relive and experience the magic of SYA, even if we can’t be in-person at our campuses right now. Strap in and get ready – we're glad you're joining us! 

Remember to: 

  • Make a gift to the SYA Fund to support our student and faculty before June 30.
  • Join us back here for updates, activities and progress throughout the month.
  • Share #SYA30Days with your SYA friends and family!

1504 days ago by Allison Butler

Participation by classThe Participation by class reflects giving from France Alumni, China Alumni, Italy Alumni, Spain Alumni
AffiliationDonors$ Raised
Spain - 20205$422
Spain - 20195$348
Spain - 20185$865
Spain - 20173$53
Spain - 20163$265
Spain - 20152$70
Spain - 20142$200
Spain - 20134$120
Spain - 20123$125
Spain - 20114$130
Spain - 20107$510
Spain - 200910$755
Spain - 200818$1,155
Spain - 20075$295
Spain - 20062$150
Spain - 20057$8,034
Spain - 20045$450
Spain - 20038$2,715
Spain - 20027$740
Spain - 20016$1,026
Spain - 20004$600
Spain - 19996$501
Spain - 19983$5,075
Spain - 19973$165
Spain - 19963$397
Spain - 19953$175
Spain - 19944$575
Spain - 19932$125
Spain - 19927$1,243
Spain - 19914$625
Spain - 19905$5,500
Spain - 19894$7,675
Spain - 19882$200
Spain - 198711$5,950
Spain - 198613$20,000
Spain - 19854$6,700
Spain - 198413$4,900
Spain - 19838$3,400
Spain - 19824$1,150
Spain - 198111$35,045
Spain - 19795$2,205
Spain - 19785$592
Spain - 19774$1,300
Spain - 19767$30,855
Spain - 19755$1,850
Spain - 19747$1,870
Spain - 19735$825
Spain - 19727$5,950
Spain - 19717$1,550
Spain - 19703$5,300
Spain - 19696$3,700
Spain - 19686$11,999
Spain - 19677$1,215
Spain - 19661$1,500
Spain - 19656$68,900
Italy - 20195$180
Italy - 20181$20
Italy - 20164$1,600
Italy - 20154$285
Italy - 20142$45
Italy - 20136$165
Italy - 20122$100
Italy - 20112$55
Italy - 20105$330
Italy - 20093$265
Italy - 20088$365
Italy - 20074$180
Italy - 20068$1,505
Italy - 20057$1,530
Italy - 20045$820
Italy - 20035$200
Italy - 20029$11,925
France - 20202$775
France - 20198$1,296
France - 20186$440
France - 20178$201
France - 20162$110
France - 20154$60
France - 20143$45
France - 20137$360
France - 20126$206
France - 20118$580
France - 20108$827
France - 20096$300
France - 20084$2,950
France - 20074$220
France - 20063$245
France - 20055$430
France - 20046$665
France - 20033$750
France - 20023$5,100
France - 20013$2,525
France - 20006$32,650
France - 19992$1,100
France - 19987$2,600
France - 19974$650
France - 19963$525
France - 19957$1,525
France - 19945$727
France - 19933$1,300
France - 199213$10,205
France - 19913$1,550
France - 19907$36,975
France - 19892$2,750
France - 198810$2,370
France - 19878$6,512
France - 198610$74,012
France - 198511$16,250
France - 198410$4,276
France - 198317$10,530
France - 19827$11,225
France - 198114$27,825
France - 19807$2,050
France - 197928$109,466
France - 197818$6,225
France - 197713$35,225
France - 19769$2,426
France - 19758$7,750
France - 197415$17,600
France - 19736$2,700
France - 197212$4,562
France - 197117$78,940
France - 19709$1,295
France - 196913$7,000
France - 19688$1,925
Current Parent20201$100
China - 20201$25
China - 20193$220
China - 20182$505
China - 20173$90
China - 20157$420
China - 20132$120
China - 20126$715
China - 20114$200
China - 20109$340
China - 20096$305
China - 20089$3,780
China - 20072$55
China - 200613$2,480
China - 20057$4,034
China - 20043$6,250
China - 20035$450
China - 20022$525
China - 20017$1,825
China - 20004$750
China - 19995$650
China - 19982$200
China - 19974$1,225
China - 19963$10,700
Donor Affiliations
Gradhat icon29%France Alumni
Gradhat icon8%China Alumni
Gradhat icon6%Italy Alumni
Gradhat icon22%Spain Alumni
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