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A Global Classroom: International Trips Ignite Experiential Learning

A Global Classroom: International Trips Ignite Experiential Learning

From the 10th annual Sophomore Costa Rica trip to immersive journeys in Colombia and Japan, this school year brings exciting learning opportunities for high school students.

Every year, Convent and Stuart Hall students are offered unique opportunities to broaden their educational horizons internationally, and this January, we hosted our 10th annual coed sophomore Costa Rica trip. From the moment they touch down, students are kept busy with a combination of adventure and service activities, allowing them to fully immerse themselves in the local community, traditions and cuisine. And did we mention, no tech allowed?! This trip is a truly special time for making new connections among classmates as well as with the locals, the environment, and even personally, as our urban dwellers go beyond their comfort zones to try new things.

Students and faculty keep a daily blog updating their curious loved ones at home as to the ongoing adventures in Costa Rica, which include community service, eco-walks, horseback riding, surfing, white water rafting and multiple animal sightings — monkeys and peacocks and pigs, oh my! Sophomore Heidi summed it up perfectly in her post, “This trip allowed us to truly embrace the well-known ‘pura vida’ lifestyle and connect as a class without the usage of technology and forced us to be independent and responsible. We practiced being considerate of a new culture and ultimately enjoyed the grandeur of Costa Rica’s nature, beauty, and down-to-earth way of life.”

Photo of Convent & Stuart Hall High School students and Faculty in front of a building in Columbia.

And our sophomores weren’t the only ones who traveled abroad in January as 10 of our juniors and seniors joined teachers Antony Reyes and Diana Bolaños on a Spanish immersion trip to Antioquia, Colombia. During their week-long visit they learned about public works projects intended to galvanize activism and public growth in Medellín and stayed on a coffee farm on the outskirts of Jericó, where they spent three days gaining insight into the coffee growing process, the area’s main source of industry and income. And of course, this was all interspersed with lively outdoor activities, including zip lining, swimming and hiking, as well as plenty of traditional dancing with the locals. 

And next up for our curious students? An incredible trip to Japan at the end of March, where 21 students will learn more about the country’s rich history and culture. This is the first time our students will travel to Japan and have the opportunity to visit the ancient shrines and temples of Kyoto and Nara, the UNESCO site of Himeji Castle, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, and the island of Miyajima featuring the famous Itsukushima shrine and large torii gate. Other planned highlights include a stay in a traditional Ryokan, participation in a time-honored tea ceremony and a visit to the Sacred Heart School in Tokyo to meet fellow Sacred Heart students.

Check out more photos here: Costa Rica Trip Photos, Colombia Trip Photos and coming soon Japan Trip Photos.