n is offering new opportunities to students by adding trips to three countries: China, Indonesia, and Italy. These trips will expand the program further around the globe, as well as create new learning experiences for students. The new trips are also a part of an ongoing effort to weave global education into the curriculum and to make the program more education-oriented. Nishad Das, the head of Groton’s global education program believes in the notion of students’ using what they learn at Groton in foreign countries and using what they learn in foreign countries at Groton. It is valuable for students to incorporate the global experience into the academic experience. Groton School’s Global Education vision states, “Every classroom can be open to the world.” These trips will give students a chance to do work that relates back to their work at school, and to open their classrooms to places other than Groton’s campus.
The new trip to China will have two separate groups: one group will be immersing themselves in the Chinese language and culture, while the other group will be working on an environmental project. Students of both groups will spend time in Shanghai and Kunming. Shannon Jin will lead the language immersion component and students on the trip will attend classes at the Fudan Fuzhong school in Shanghai. For the second week in Kunming, students will collaborate with students from the private school BDFZYN. David Black will lead the environmental collaboration component, which will focus more on science. Groton students, along with students from Doon, in India, and BDFZYN will be collaborating on an “environmental project of educational value.” This project will involve a study of water and air pollution. These trips are both very new, and not just in their destination, but also in their goals. Ms. Jin’s group will be the first trip that is based solely on language immersion, and Mr. Black’s group will be the first trip to deal with an environmental project. However, both trips are designed to supply students with an experience that will benefit them throughout their time at Groton.
Beth Van-Gelder will be leading a new trip to the island of Bali in Indonesia this summer. Students will stay with host families as they explore the artistic culture of the island. They will also participate in the many artistic traditions of Bali such as cooking, music, dance, shadow puppet theater, wood carving, and textile design. They will visit different places, such as volcanoes, rice terraces, ancient temples, and museums. Ms. Van-Gelder created this trip because she loved visiting Bali in the past, and wished she had had the chance to go when she was younger. She was accompanied by Echo Zhuge last summer for what Mr. Das called an “exploratory trip”. The trip to Bali this summer will be an exciting adventure in which students will be able to use their artistic skills while learning and exploring a different culture.
The third new trip, the one to Rome, Italy, has been in the making for two years, and this is the first year that it will be offered. Tobias McDougal, along with Scott Giampetruzzi, is leading the trip. Mr. Das called this trip the “brainchild of Mr. McDougal.” The trip attempts to provide a global experience that will involve the study of Latin, although currently studying Latin at Groton is not required for the trip. Students will explore many of the famous historical sites in Rome, using their knowledge of the Mediterranean and Latin to add another dimension to the sightseeing. During the trip, students will begin the day with a morning lecture accompanied by readings, and then spend the rest of the day exploring Rome.
With these new trips, Groton School Global Education is offering more destinations and more cultural experiences, which will appeal to more students and give them a wider variety of trips to choose from. Another one of Mr. Das’s goals is to have all Groton students participate in some sort of global education, and these new trips are definitely a step in that direction. At the same time, the new trips adhere closely to Global Education’s mission statement: “Our mission is to help Groton School students become caring, ethical, and knowledgeable citizens of the world through service, learning, cultural exchanges, and travel.” Groton School Global Education is not just about going to a place and seeing it; it is about experiencing the place and learning from it, and these three trips are fantastic and exciting new ways to do so.