Study in the PHILIPPINES with YES Abroad!

With the fourth largest coastline in the world, the Philippine shores have harbored individuals dating back to the likes of Magellan. The 7,107 islands that create the Philippines are geographically defined by three main areas: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindano. This environmentally bio-diverse nation is called home by nearly 96 million people (2010 Census).

The Philippines became an independent nation in 1946 after periods of Spanish and U.S. jurisdiction. Influence from the Spanish colonization of the 17th to 19th century can be felt throughout the country and reflections from United States' rule in the early 20th century continue today in nuanced forms. These periods of influence, combined with a firm Filipino identity, manifest in the modern details of cuisine, language, and everyday life. As such, the Philippines has adopted a unique perspective with both Eastern and Western elements.

Nearly 175 languages and dialects can be heard across the country’s diverse lands. However, the primary languages used in the Philippines remain English and Filipino, including eight major Filipino dialects. Nearly 90% of the Filipino population identifies as Catholic, but religions such as Islam and Hindu have continued to grow in recent years.

The tropical marine climate is punctuated by a northeast monsoon season from November to April and a southwest monsoon season from May to October. These rains cultivate the colorful environment that is often reflected in the warm personality of the people. 

Learn more about being a YES Abroad student in the Philippines:

Host Family

Students will live with host families in order to experience true immersion in the local culture. Families are selected based on recommendations by members of the local community, and each is carefully screened by AFS staff and volunteers. Families are carefully vetted through a thorough application process and are highly regarded by their relatives and neighbors. Hosting communities exist through the presence of a strong support network, with a local volunteer, staff member, or “liaison,” available to each student hosted in the community.

Your High School

Students will attend public schools. The primary language of instruction will be English and Filipino. School typically runs from Monday to Friday and uniforms are customary. Students will have the opportunity to participate in a number of extramural and extracurricular activities such as art, music, sports, and academic interests.

The Political & Security Environment

The United States enjoys good relations with the Philippines. The Philippines is an active member in organizations such as the United Nations, World Trade Organization, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and the East Asia Summit. 

For more information, visit the CIA World Factbook.

Health & Safety

With AFS’s 16-year presence in the Philippines, we are able to draw on strong local connections, and deep understanding of the intercultural, health, safety, and security issues. Prior to departure and upon arrival, students are given safety briefings by AFS staff. They will also receive security information from the U.S. Embassy's Security Office, and will be registered for the Embassy's travel alert system. AFS works closely before arrival and throughout the exchange year to discuss and prepare for students’ well-being. YES Abroad students are covered by medical as well as Political and Security Evacuation Insurance. Students will have access to a 24-hour emergency number and our staff members are thoroughly trained. Each student will be given a cell phone upon arrival and will be given the contact number for their local support representative and his/her national AFS office. In the case of an emergency, a Duty Officer is on-call 24/7 in both the Philippines and the United States. This number is made available to both students and their parents while on program. For further in information on the Philippines, visit the U.S. Department of State's website.

Enrichment Activities

You will have the opportunity to take part in various activities to increase your interaction with local peers in the Philippines. Activities may include field trips, sporting events, cultural excursions, social outings, and community service projects. Examples of previous enrichment activities include:

  • Meeting with the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy;
  • Global Youth Service Day in April;
  • Linggo/Buwan ng Wika (Week/Month of National Language) in August;
  • Various festivals to celebrate regional values or traditions.