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The Benefits of School-Curated Global Experiences

By Meghan Edwards, assistant head of Middle School for academics and global education
LJCDS global programs are more than just a trip to another country. Students participate in pre- and post-program learning and reflecting sessions.
After a three-year hiatus, global education travel programs are back at La Jolla Country Day School and better than ever. While efforts are made every day to bring global perspectives into the classrooms from Tiny Torreys through Grade 12, students and educators are ready and eager to venture back into the world. 

When planning global programs, two primary goals are consistently at the core of our program design. The first, and most important, is safety: LJCDS works with national and international industry leaders in global education and travel to ensure that students are physically and emotionally safe from the moment they depart to the moment they return from wherever their travels take them. It is important to note that safety and comfort are not one and the same. While we ensure that students never feel unsafe in the programs, LJCDS creates conditions at key points in each experience where students may feel uncomfortable. When students are pushed off balance into their “stretch zone,” this is often where the most profound learning takes place

The second goal is to curate experiences that are difficult, if not impossible, to recreate as independent travelers. Each of the international programs is bookended by pre-program learning sessions and post-program reflection sessions. Before traveling, students begin to establish context for the experience as well as build relationships with their fellow travelers. Once they return, students reflect deeply upon their takeaways from their experience as individuals and as a collective and think about opportunities for action and ways to share their learning with members of the community. 

The program itineraries in the field go beyond tours and site visits; global program leaders spend time with students reflecting on their learning as it is happening and challenging them to apply new skills. Whether exploring museums, galleries or ruins, working on a service project, or connecting with peers of their age in another country, students are continually pushed to consider their place in the world, how they relate to others, and how global issues they encounter abroad connect to global issues they see and experience in their own communities

Each global program is built around the four domains of global competence as articulated by Asia Society. The spring 2023 programs tap into these competencies and provide unique opportunities for students to develop in each of these areas:  

  • Investigate the World: “Globally competent students are aware, curious, and interested in learning about the world and how it works.” Theater students will travel to London to attend performances and get behind-the-scenes access to shows on the West End, Covent Garden and then to Stratford to see Shakespeare's birthplace and attend a performance by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

  • Recognize Perspectives: “Globally competent students recognize that they have a particular perspective and that others may or may not share it.” A group of Upper School students will travel to Japan, where they will connect with peers of their age and learn more about life as a teenager in a country very different from our own.

  • Communicate Ideas: “Globally competent students can effectively communicate, verbally and non-verbally, with diverse audiences.” The Model United Nations members will travel to an international conference in The Hague in the Netherlands in January. They will participate in simulations with youth from around the world as delegates and will draft resolutions and work as a team to present ideas both in writing and verbally.

  • Take Action: “Globally competent students have the skills and knowledge to not just learn about the world but also to make a difference in the world.” Middle School students will travel to Belize, a country in Central America that is making great strides in combating climate change and preserving the environment. While spending time on Tobacco Caye, students will participate in a reef cleanup and catalog and measure the waste they collect to understand the impact of ocean pollution better.

Travel programs are often one of the most memorable aspects of students’ school experiences. We know from our alums that the life lessons and perspectives they gained have made a lasting impact. 


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9490 Genesee Avenue
La Jolla, CA 92037

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