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 lend a hand. 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 start building the cultural dexterity that will be such a crucial skill in the years to come. Below are descriptions of the 2014-2015 X-Term and summer trips.  A ** next to the trip indicates that it is a trip that recurs every one or two years. 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 Yunkú, a small rainforest village in the Bri-Bri territories in southeastern Costa Rica near the Panamanian border.  The St. Chris students live with village families and work side by side with them to help build trails, improve buildings, and learn about sustainable development in a remote rain forest community.

Upper School

Costa Rica 
The Costa Rica trip will combine service with adventure activities. We will work with the people in a small rural community with a service project, while exploring the natural beauty of a country during hikes and adventure activities, such as rafting and ziplining. As part of the experience of getting to know the Costa Rican people, we will have several nights of homestays, which are always a highlight for students on the trip. In addition, we will take advantage of the excellent leadership curriculum of our tour sponsor, World Leadership School.

South Africa: Cape Town and Port Elizabeth
Travel with us to one of the most beautiful countries in the world: South Africa! On our trip, we will engage with local adults and school children as we explore how the country is managing its transition from apartheid to a free and democratic society. During our visit, we will stay in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, two of the most famous cities on the African continent. We will visit Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, and we will work with several organizations aimed at improving food security, health care, and access to education for the local population. In addition, we will visit a school in Port Elizabeth, which will allow us the opportunity to spend time with local youths to learn more about their lives in today’s South Africa. Finally, we will also visit one of the country’s most famous national parks for a full day safari. If you are excited to explore a different culture, a beautiful country with a fascinating history, while at the same time serving others, then this trip is for you! 

Spain: Barcelona & Madrid 
Let’s go to SPAIN; one of the most diverse and visually captivating countries in Europe. On this wonderful trip we will visit the two major cities of Barcelona and Madrid. In Madrid, we will explore beyond the tourist’s path to see the markets, museums, castles, and winding far corners of this famed capital. In Barcelona, an enchanting seaside city with boundless culture and fabled architecture, students will cheer alongside Spaniards at a soccer match, travel on bikes as locals do through the Raval, Gothic, and Born neighborhoods, and perhaps catch a capea (bullfight). And of course, we will also sample the culinary offerings of both these renowned cities. This is a great opportunity to experience and practice Spanish and some Catalan languages.  

Forensic Science in London & Edinburgh
Travel with us to the heart of mystery and forensics! Early 19th century novelists (Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) inspired by real life serial killers (Jack the Ripper) gave birth to forensic science. Carry this forward into the 20th century, Watson and Crick (and Rosalind Franklin) constructed a working 3D model for DNA. This turning point paved the way for modern forensic techniques. Today, the vast field of forensics includes among many other things, toxicology, blood splatter analysis, entomology, as well as cutting edge DNA fingerprinting. Many of these tools have been useful not only in solving crimes but also in exonerating those falsely imprisoned (The Innocence Project). In this X-term, budding criminologists will walk in Jack the Ripper’s footsteps in London and discover Arthur Conan Doyle’s original inspiration for Sherlock Holmes in Edinburgh. Students will then apply their newly acquired knowledge to complete a “hands on” forensics course at the Case Academy in London. Highlights also include a visit to the Tower of London, Edinburgh Castle, the London Eye, and Sherlock Holmes Museum.

French Language and Culture in Quebec, Canada
In a single week, students will expand their understanding of American history, create a piece of art, practice some of the coolest sports, and visit a Native American Village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the world’s two Ice Hotels. Best of all, travelers will do all of these activities "en français." Of course, we’re going to beautiful Quebec! The stories participants will tell about this very experiential course will certainly highlight dogsledding, dining and dancing at Sugar Shack, crossing the frozen St. Lawrence River by ferry, and enjoying hot cocoa by a campfire after an afternoon of snowshoeing through the forest. But what students will keep will be the confidence that comes from having communicated in French with native speakers.

WWII History in Paris and Normandy 
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.

India: Discovering the Golden Triangle 
Join us on an unforgettable trip to India's famed Golden Triangle of Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra! This incredible journey will include a mixture of spectacular historical and natural sites, spiritual experiences, and cultural immersion opportunities in some of the most exotic locations in the world. Our travels will take us to massive forts, palaces and religious sites such as Jama Masjid and the Red Fort in Delhi, the Amber Fort (by elephant) and City Palace in Jaipur, and the deserted sandstone city of Fatehpur Sikri as well as the iconic Taj Mahal in Agra. In addition, we will get to enjoy a cooking class, visits to both a school and an orphanage, and an authentic sunrise yoga session. A land of color, chaos, and contrast, India is truly one of the most fascinating and complex places on earth; and this cohort offers the chance to experience firsthand its sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and especially its people. Note: this trip will go into the first few days of Spring Break.

A British Performance Experience for Chorale & Glee Club 
Designed to be a choral/literature study trip to Great Britain, members of St. Christopher’s Glee Club along with St. Catherine’s Chorale will travel to the British Isles during X-Term 2018. In addition to singing services and concerts, singers will participate in master classes conducted by renowned English choir trainers. Students will also visit important locations associated with time-honored British literature, as they study and discuss aspects of music, writing, theater, art, and architecture. The tour will include visits to Bath, Cambridge, Stratford-Upon-Avon and London.

Celtic Traditions- Ireland and Scotland
The road signs in Ireland and Scotland tell a story with a language rarely used outside the confines of highway signs, grade school classes, and childhood songs. While the languages no longer trip from the natives’ tongues, their distinctive cultures flourish. Landing in Dublin, students will explore the capital of the Republic of Ireland, the current seat of Gaeilge, and will enjoy day trips in the surrounding area. After Dublin, students will journey to Scotland to walk the Royal Mile, ascend Arthur’s Seat and tour Edinburgh Castle, and hopefully come into contact with Gàidhlig. Students will also get to foray outside of the city to explore the Scottish countryside. Our final destination and departure point, London, will allow us to contextualize what we’ve learned. 
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