Academics
Global Opportunities

X-Term and Summer Trips

X-Term and Summer Trips: Language, Culture and Service

Each year St. Christopher’s students travel around the globe to learn, reflect, and build relationships across cultures. Some trips vary year to year, others are recurring; all provide St. Christopher’s students with the opportunity to learn firsthand about other people and places and to develop the cultural dexterity that will be a crucial skill in the years to come. For more information about X-Term trips, contact Elsa Woodaman at woodamane@stcva.org.  For more information about summer trips, contact Fran Turner at turnerf@stcva.org.

Middle School

8th Grade Service Trip to Costa Rica
8th grade Spanish students travel to Costa Rica each summer where, guided by Central American Service Expeditions, they voyage via dugout canoe to Yorkín, a small rainforest village in the Bri-Bri territories in southeastern Costa Rica near the Panamanian border.  There St. Chris students live with village families and work side by side with them on their organic coffee and chocolate farm to learn about sustainable development in a remote rain forest community.

Upper School

International Trips

Australia: Exchange with Partner School Christ Church Grammar

St. Christopher’s enjoys an ongoing exchange relationship with Christ Church Grammar School (CCGS) in Perth, Australia. This year there is an opportunity to spend three weeks at the home of a CCGS student as part of this cultural (non-academic) exchange.  Students in 9th, 10th, and 11th grades are eligible.  Participating students will host their Australian counterparts for three weeks in early spring and will then travel to Perth in late May for a stay of similar length with their host brothers (exact dates TBD). There are two spots available for this exciting opportunity.  The cost is typically limited to airfare, spending money, and the costs associated with having an extra mouth to feed while the Australian boys are in Richmond.  Exchanges with boys from our partner schools represent a wonderful opportunity to learn about daily life in another part of the world as well as to forge strong, lasting international relationships. Interested students should contact exchange coordinators Mr. Emmett Carlson (carlsone@stcva.org) or Mr. Stuart Ferguson (fergusons@stcva.org).

Ecuador and the Galapagos: Culture & Biology
Finish off the year with a trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands with Spanish teacher Susan Steenrod and Art teacher Diego Sanchez! The bulk of this program will take place in the Galapagos, but we will also have the pleasure of ending the trip on the mainland of this very diverse country. The Galapagos are an archipelago of volcanic islands that straddle the equator about 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. During our time here we will visit a handful of islands, traveling to each by boat. Once ashore, we’ll get to explore the exotic flora and fauna with our own private Naturalist Guide. There will also be opportunities for beach swimming and snorkeling throughout as we immerse ourselves in this biologically rich ecosystem! While on the mainland, we’ll get to experience the best of Quito, including a trip to Mitad del Mundo and Plaza de la Independencia, as well as an overnight trip up to the highlands where we will have the opportunity to meet with local students to learn about their culture.

France: WWII History
The complex and fascinating history of World War II will be studied and experienced during this trip. Travel will begin with a three-night stay in Normandy where students will be led by Major General Graham Hollands in a study of this important battle site. Major General Hollands is an expert on the battles of 1944 and some of the key participants. He has appeared on the Discovery Channel and the BBC as an expert commentator on D-Day and the Battle for Normandy.  Following that extraordinary experience, the group will spend the remainder of the week in Paris.  Once there, students will explore the city with special visits to the WWI and WWII Suresnes Cemetery and the Army Museum of Les Invalides.

Martinique: French Language & Culture
France is closer than you think! Participants in this course will travel to the Caribbean island of Martinique to discover its fascinating amalgam of cultures and to apply what they’ve learned in their French classes with native French speakers. Highlights of the trip will include visiting local schools, volunteering at an organic farm cooperative, kayaking through a submerged Mangrove forest, and spending four nights in pairs with local families (the rest of the time students will stay in a hotel). This lush, beautiful island is the perfect place to learn something new about the history of France and to delve into the cultural riches of the Francophonie.         Est service: 10 hours.

Morocco: Culture & History
Immerse yourself in breathtaking scenery and legendary hospitality where European and African cultures converge into one of the most ancient, diverse, and unique places in the world. Students will get the chance to see multiple faces of Morocco- the rural and the urban, the mountains and city.  In Imlil, students will take a plunge into the Atlas Mountains and stay in a mountainside house before heading out on an overnight camping trip into the rugged landscape. While there, we will investigate the complexity of the Moroccan identity and figure out how all the cultures converge peacefully. We will experience traditions and cultural practices, have a tea-making competition in the traditional Berber way, and explore the ancient medina through a scavenger hunt full of experiential and communicative challenges. We will become part of a tight-knit community in the Old Medina and bring home stories of new foods, new sounds, and new understanding.

Switzerland: STEM
Join us in an incredible STEM adventure in Geneva, Switzerland!  Our trip will include a guided tour of the largest machine ever built and the most ambitious scientific endeavor in human history, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research).  This modern marvel of science and technology accelerates protons to near the speed of light, smashes atomic nuclei, studies dark matter, extra dimensions, and magnetic monopoles inside massive detectors.  Experiments conducted at the LHC completed the Standard Model of Physics with the discovery of the Higgs Boson in 2012.  Students will spend time in the Globe of Science and Innovation to understand more of what they have seen and prepared for throughout the year.  While in Geneva, we’ll also have a chance to visit the headquarters of the United Nations, walk world famous museums including Swiss watch-making and Olympics museums, and escape to Mont Blanc in Italy for a day of hiking.  Airfare, accommodations, all meals and tours included.

Domestic Trips

Alaska: Biology & Geology
Discover the Last Frontier: Alaska! Hike and explore Denali National Park, a natural lab for studying earthquakes and tectonics. Observe animals such as moose, Dall sheep, grizzly bears, caribou, wolves, and golden eagles in their natural habitat. Learn about these animals' unique behavioral adaptations to the biomes of Denali, the taiga and tundra. Meet the sled dogs that park rangers use for transportation to preserve Denali's wilderness from the impact of motorized vehicles. Visit the historic gold rush town of Fairbanks and try your skill at panning for gold. Take a boat tour of Prince William Sound to investigate the formation of tidal glaciers and observe the migratory patterns of humpback whales, sea otters and puffins.

Washington, D.C.: Connections to Ancient Greece & Rome
In this trip we will explore how Ancient Greece & Rome influenced multiple facets of the construction of our nation’s capital and, by extension, the political structure of the United States. Students will do research throughout the year in order to unveil the Greek & Roman inspiration present within architecture and civic sculptures in D.C., looking at structures such as the Lincoln Memorial, the Capitol Building, Union Station, the Washington Monument and many more. We will pay special attention to both the iconographical influence of the ancients as well as their impressive architectural and mathematical achievements immortalized in these modern structures. Once the students travel to D.C. they will tour these structures and hear from local experts on the connections between Ancient Greece & Rome and the United States. Students will also tour universities in D.C. and experience popular tourist attractions within the city. Upon returning from the capital, students will turn their focus towards examining Greek & Roman influences on the construction of various landmarks in the city of Richmond.

Washington, D.C.: Forensics
Why can’t you plan the perfect murder?  Calling all scientific sleuths!  Come join our local forensic-focused cohort as we explore techniques such as fingerprinting, blood splatter, fiber analysis, footprint casting, bones, poisons, etc. Apply your new skills to solve an on campus murder.  Travel to D.C. to get advice firsthand from experts at FBI headquarters and visit the Spy Museum.  Crack a real Vietnam War military cold case at the National Museum of Health and Science where forensic anthropologists identified remains from 9/11.  Bring your curiosity and we will provide the mayhem.  


New York State: Conservation & Fishing
The expert staff of Virginia Outside will guide faculty and students on a journey to Harriman State Park and the Catskills of New York for a week of fishing adventures. The group will use the American Canoe Association’s camp on Lake Sebago in Harriman State Park as home base and will fish from kayaks on a multitude of glacial lakes as well as the Delaware River for smallmouth and largemouth bass using conventional tackle. The group will also journey to the Catskills and the “fly fishing capital of the world”, Roscoe, NY where they will fly fish on the famed Beaverkill River and visit the fly fishing museum. While there, the group will meet with the local Trout Unlimited chapter and work on a trout related service project. All equipment included. No previous experience necessary.

Appalachian Trail: Trail design & Hiking
Our cohort will drive down to Asheville, NC where we will work with the Blue Ridge Hiking company to design both day hikes as well as an overnight hike on the Appalachian Trail.  We will also have an opportunity to explore Asheville and the surrounding area during our time there.  Leading up to X-Term week, we will take day hikes in and around Richmond, and learn about the history of the Appalachian Trail.  We will also have an opportunity to take a day trip to Charlottesville and hike more local sites during the last two days of X-Term week. This will be designed for both beginner and more experienced hikers to enjoy.

California: Filmmaking and Production
Visit the undisputed home of filmmaking, screenwriting, and television: Los Angeles, California.  While there, we will learn about the production and writer’s world from St. Christopher’s graduate Paul Bullock (BBC Proms and Legends). Paul will provide a keen insight into the entertainment industry and help turn our green screen thoughts into brilliant ideas for short feature films.  With production tips and expert ideas, each student will actively participate in creating a feature film or documentary that artistically depicts our Southern California adventures. Planned stops include, but are not limited to: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Malibu, J. Paul Getty Museum and Villa, Universal Studios, Los Angeles Museum of Art, Griffith Park Observatory, Warner Brothers Studio, Hollywood Walk of Fame, Mission San Fernando Rey de España, Pepperdine University, UCLA, USC, Venice Beach, Dodger Stadium, Hollywood Bowl and much more.  Whether you love L.A., film, or just want to experience the West Coast vibe, this diverse expedition is for you!

Virginia: Biology, Geology, & History
Join us in the ultimate James River watershed adventure with expert, certified outdoorsmen and women!  The watershed covers 25% of Virginia, or roughly 10,000 square miles of land. We will experience a 50-mile canoe trip on the upper stretch of the James River.  We'll explore the biology, geology, and both the natural and human history of the James River.  Members of the group will get to know each other around campfires, storytelling, breaking bread, and challenging themselves in nature.  Join us to learn about and practice environmental ethics, outdoors skills and leadership through preparatory classroom and experiential lessons, building up to an incredible hands-on wilderness expedition.  We will finish the course with an exciting whitewater rafting trip through the city of Richmond.

New York City: History & Cultural Impact of 9/11
This cohort will take the time to examine the historical and cultural impact of the events surrounding the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Students will spend three days in New York City, during which time they will visit the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at Ground Zero, reflect on what they have studied and experienced, as well as have the chance to take in the culture that the City has to offer. Since our current students are too young to have strong memories of that day, we will work to demonstrate that it was a seminal moment in the lives of individuals, our country, and our world.

The Deep South: History of the Civil Rights Movement
This cohort will investigate the role of students in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950's and 1960's by exploring the places where some of the most important events of the movement occurred. Students will visit such sites as the Martin Luther King, Jr., historical park in Atlanta; the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute; the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama; and the new memorial to lynching in Montgomery, Alabama. They will also get to experience some of the food and culture in these distinctive cities. How did activists challenge racism during the 1950's and 1960's, and how did their actions shape the world in which we live? What roles did students play in the movement? How can--and should--students engage issues of the 21st century? Pre-trip sessions will be devoted, in part, to exploring manifestations of the Civil Rights movement in Richmond -- particularly, the sit-in movement led by students from Virginia Union University in 1960. We also will engage in a service project, participating in the clean-up of Evergreen Cemetery, a historic African American cemetery (where Maggie Walker is buried). 

Virginia
Spend a week exploring Virginia like you’ve never seen it!  This X-Term Cohort will consist of a series of day-trips and two overnight trips (one night in Northern Virginia and one in the Lower Shenandoah).  Students will participate in a variety of fun activities unique to each place they visit, eating in iconic places and touring interesting museums and sights.  Students will participate in planning many of the activities, including: visiting the VA Aquarium & Marine Science Center and False Cape State Park in Virginia Beach, riding the ferry from Jamestown to Surry, touring Luray Caverns, zip lining on Bear Mountain, exploring the scenic wonder of Natural Bridge and checking out the artists scene in Roanoke.  Students may also choose to explore D.C., visiting the Newseum, the National Zoo, and taking a Segway tour of Washington.  Students will post their "reviews" on a travel blog so that others may follow their adventures throughout the week, ending the year with a deep appreciation for our home state!  
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