The World is Our Classroom

Thacher students travel across the globe for off-campus study in the summer.
“It was a powerful and eye-opening reminder of the efforts we, as Thacher students and Americans, can continue to make to help sustain our precious environment.” When asked about his trip, Benjamin ’20, who traveled to Costa Rica with the Thacher off-campus study program, wrote about the country’s use of sustainable energy sources to supply 100 percent of its power.

Immersing students in a culture and meeting all kinds of interesting people, ordinary people, is key to understanding a country, and the Thacher trips accomplish this. “Being able to spend time having fun with kids our age who speak a completely different language and live in a completely different world was definitely the most moving and memorable moment of my two weeks in China,” wrote George ’19.

These student comments illustrate the breadth-of-impact international travel can have. This is why the Thacher curriculum includes off-campus study opportunities as part of The Marvin Shagam Initiative for Ethics and Global Citizenship. The program is designed to educate students about global affairs and foreign cultures. It has three elements: a speaker series, curricular development, and international student travel. The third element of the initiative, global travel for students, provides off-campus study opportunities in foreign countries. The program aims to promote deliberate and intentional exposure to global issues and ethical behavior and to aid in Thacher’s mission statement to educate “full global citizens.” It aspires to raise the consciousness of students in relation to global issues and to shape ethical behavior as they address problems their generation will face.

To date, Thacher students have traveled to three continents with the program: Africa, Asia, and South American. China has been the destination for multiple trips, since Chinese history is a key component of the Thacher history curriculum. Spanish teacher and sustainability coordinator, Juan Sánchez, a Costa Rica native, designed the trip to his home country, while other trips were offered in conjunction with Where There are Dragons, an organization that provides cross-cultural education, fostering leadership, self-exploration, and global citizenship. Students regularly describe these trips as “life-changing” and formative of their worldviews and aspirations.

To learn more about these trips, click the country name below:
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