Riverdale Country School offers its Middle and Upper School students numerous opportunities to travel abroad and learn about a country's history, culture, language, and contemporary society. Students form new friendships through exchanges with schools, homestays with families, and field work with local community groups. Through these relationships, students develop a personal connection to other countries and a broader worldview. Examples of our trips include:
Ongoing exchange visits with France, Spain, and China organized by our foreign language department. Students stay with families during the trip, and then reciprocate when those schools send students to Riverdale. These experiences develop students' language proficiency and give them insight into the contemporary culture in those countries.
Service-learning trips to learn about regional issues. In 2017, students went to New Zealand to learn how community organizers have helped Christchurch recover after two devastating earthquakes. A biennial trip to Peru combines service-learning among indigenous people with Spanish language development and outdoor experiences in the Amazon River basin and the Andes.
Course-related trips connected to specific activities. Latin students go to Rome on a biennial trip that deepens their knowledge of the Classical World. The Jazz Ensemble has been to Australia in 2014 and England in 2016. Theater students have traveled to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival.
For the third year, our growing Outdoor Leadership Program is taking a group of students on a backcountry, backpacking expedition through Patagonia National Park in the largely undeveloped Aysen region of Patagonian Chile.
Possible Trips for Summer 2018
We are always looking for new travel opportunities for students, ways to connect our trips to further learning in the classroom, and new areas for our students to explore. We are in the process of scouting and building trips to the following locations for tentative travel dates of June 14-28, 2018: China (The Silk Road), Cuba, and the Galapagos Islands. We will provide more details in the coming months.
Riverdale in South Africa & Namibia—March 2018
Trip Leaders: Beth Pillsbury, Jenny Eskin, John Saunders
Dates of Travel: March 14–March 30, 2018 (morning)
Cost of Trip: $5,200–5,500, plus $200 to cover incidentals. Includes airfare, all ground transportation, sightseeing (entrance fees and guides), lodging, breakfasts, lunches, dinners. Financial aid is available. Please contact Sheila Hicks-Rotella (email@example.com). Trip cost will be billed directly from the Finance Office.
Visa: Not required for US passport holders in both Namibia and South Africa.
Vaccinations: It is advisable for all travelers to update their routine vaccinations. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your annual flu shot. For Namibia, the list also includes Hep A, Hep B, Typhoid and Malaria. If you have recently traveled to a country where yellow fever is a risk, you may need to provide proof of vaccination.
Application: All applications are due on Wednesday, November 15, 2017. Please download and complete the application form, and submit to Ms. Martinez in KNF’s office.
Trip Description: South Africa is a modern nation that has built a unique Constitution that remembers the legacy of the past while embracing a bold future. Students will partner with peers at the African Leadership Academy to explore the history and legacy of Apartheid in South Africa and take part in cross-cultural conversations as they represent an African nation at the Model African Union. In addition, students will understand historical patterns of migration and urbanization as they explore the impact of mining and gentrification on greater Johannesburg.
Namibia has been referred to as “the land between two deserts.” Students will experience the diversity of Namibia’s landscapes and habitats through an exciting game drive as well as visits to Windhoek, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. Despite being considered a desert country, the occurrence and seasonal abundance of game in certain desert environments only serves to prove the adaptability of the flora and fauna. The visit will also include an in-depth experience at the Gobabeb Desert Research Station. There, students will have the opportunity to participate in climate change research, explore desert ecosystems and learn to navigate using the unique constellations of the Southern Hemisphere.
Riverdale Latin Student Trip to Rome—March 2018
Trip Leaders: Scott Ettinger, Emily Sclafani
Dates of Travel: March 18–March 25, 2018 (first week of Spring Break)
Cost of Trip: $3,800, plus $250 on hand (on cash cards or bank cards) to cover incidentals. Includes airfare, all ground transportation, sightseeing (entrance fees and guides), lodging, breakfasts, lunches, dinners. Financial aid is available: please contact Sheila Hicks-Rotella (firstname.lastname@example.org). Trip cost will be billed directly from the Finance Office.
Visa: For US citizens, no visa is required. Your passport must have more than 6 months left: expiration date after Sept. 25, 2018. Students who hold non-US passports, consult Mr. Ettinger.
Required Vaccinations: It is advisable for all travelers to update their routine vaccinations. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your annual flu shot. There are no additional vaccinations required or recommended for travel to Italy. Note that we will not be traveling in remote, forested, or back-country areas.
Application: All applications are due by Friday, October 27, 2017. Please download and complete the application form, and submit to Mr. Ettinger.
Eligible Students: Currently in 9th Grade or above and have studied Latin at any level.
Trip Description: We are gearing up for Riverdale's eighth Latin Student Trip to Rome during the first week of Spring Break 2018. We will explore remains in and around the ancient Roman capital as well as the buried and recovered towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum and the immense country estate of Emperor Hadrian. We will visit exquisite Renaissance sites like the Villa d'Este in Tivoli and the Villa Borghese in Rome. Museums, palaces, the Roman Forum, the Colosseum, a wealth of sites and artefacts that bring to life so much of what we’ve studied in the classroom and on the page, together with sites that reflect later developments in art, architecture, religion, and culture. We will of course visit St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums including the Sistine Chapel. We will also experience the streets, piazzas, and fountains—and some of the restaurants— of modern Rome.
We will travel with the Paideia Institute for Humanistic Study, Inc., an organization that promotes study of the classical humanities. In consultation with Mr. Ettinger, they arrange our travel, lodging, touring and dining experiences, and a representative (knowledgeable in Latin and also versed in the wonders of later and modern Rome) will accompany us as tour escort and—together with Mr. Ettinger—tour guide. We will spend one night in Sorrento (not too far from Pompeii) and the rest of our nights in Rome.
Art and Culture in St. Petersburg, Russia—March 2018
Trip Leaders: Asya Reznikov, TBD
Dates of Travel: March 16–March 24, 2018
Cost of Trip: $5,500. Includes airfare, ground transportation, sightseeing (entrance fees and guides), lodging, breakfasts, lunches, dinners. Financial aid is available: please contact Sheila Hicks-Rotella (email@example.com). Trip cost will be billed directly from the Finance Office.
Visa: Required for US passport holders (we will secure visas). Passports cannot expire within 6 months of travel.
Required Vaccinations: It is advisable for all travelers to update their routine vaccinations. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your annual flu shot. The CDC also recommends Hepatitis A.
Application: All applications are due by Friday, December 1, 2017. Please download and complete the application form, and submit to Asya Reznikov or or Alex Martinez (in KNF’s office).
Trip Description: Immerse yourself in art and culture in St. Petersburg! We will stay in the historic center of St. Petersburg, the cultural capital of Russia. The city is a throng of arts and cultural delights including museums, palaces, opera and ballet.
St. Petersburg is home to over 200 museums, the largest of which is the Hermitage, one of the largest art museums in the world. We will explore the Hermitage, including a special tour of the spectacular collection of the gold room. A visit to the Russian Museum will introduce us to the the history of Russian fine art and craft. We will take a hydrofoil to the enchanting summer palace of Peter the Great—Peterhof (sometimes called the Russian Versailles)—where we will view the palace and gardens. At Tzarskoe Selo, a town located 20 miles south of the center of St. Petersburg, we will bask in the opulence of a sprawling imperial Russian palace, former residence of the imperial family and visiting nobility. We will tour and sketch in the palace and grounds and visit the famous Amber Room, which mysteriously disappeared during WWII and was restored in 2003. A trip to Pavlovsk, an 18th-century Russian Imperial residence built by Catherine the Great for her son, will be the site for our sketching and photography projects.
We will eat local Russian cuisine, walk along the Neva River to watch the parting of the bridges, and take a tour of the palatial stations of the underground metro. Our cultural exploration wouldn’t be complete without seeing an opera and a ballet at the world famous Mariinsky Ballet and Opera Company.
Join us as we embrace art and architecture, sketch in our journals, attend performances, and eat delicious Russian meals together! While all Upper School students are encouraged to apply, priority will be given to Visual Art students who have completed the Foundations course. Please contact Asya Reznikov (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions.
Astrophysics in the Colorado Rockies—June 2018
Trip Leaders: John Saunders
In the Field: June 12–June 20, 2018
In the Lab: June 21–July 13, 2018
Cost of Trip: $3,000.
Students who will be Juniors or Seniors in Fall 2018 may apply for this research program. While the program is intended for rising 11th and 12th graders, rising 10th graders with a very high level of interest and especially strong success in science and math are also encouraged to apply.
Trip Description: The Riverdale Astrophysics Program will challenge students to collect data and conduct original astrophysics research. Students will learn about the processes within stars that give rise to periodic variations in brightness and they will conduct photometric measurements of stars using hands-on methods.
The Riverdale Astrophysics Program will start with a trip to the Colorado Rockies to observe the night sky and take data on variable stars. We will leave on the afternoon of graduation, 6/12, and spend the next seven days at cabins in Lodgepole Pine forests of the High Mountain Institute near Leadville, Colorado. In the evenings, we will use our telescope and CCD camera to do photometry on variable stars and asteroids. During the afternoons we will engage in a variety of mountain activities such as hiking, rafting, and kayaking. When we return from the trip, we will spend 15 work days from 6/21 to 7/13 working on analyzing that data and collecting additional data from remote telescopes.
Students will have the opportunity to craft their work into a presentation and poster at our Science Symposium in the fall, and students with continuing interest in the field may use this work as the first step toward a scientific publication.
Students will earn a stipend of $80.00 per day during the time they are working at the RCS campus, between June 21 and July 13.
Application Process: To apply, a student will be asked to 1) write a paragraph saying why they are interested in the program, 2) read and annotate a chapter about variable stars that US science teacher John Saunders will provide, 3) meet with Mr. Saunders to discuss the chapter, bringing lots of questions for him, 4) provide Mr. Saunders with the name of a Riverdale science teacher who will write a recommendation for them, and 5) submit paperwork for a work permit.
Application Deadline: January 17, 2018
Qualified applicants will have:
- A strong interest in astronomy
- An ability to be responsible with delicate and valuable scientific equipment
- Demonstrated success in science and math
- A willingness to work with computers
Prior knowledge of physics or computer science is not required or expected. We will learn all the topics we need as we go. However, if a student has prior experience with coding, there will be opportunities to use those skills in exciting ways.