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.
Upper School Global Studies Trips for 2018
Upper School Spanish Exchange: Valladolid, Spain—March 2019
Dates of Travel: March 14–March 24, 2019
Cost of Trip: $2,500–2,700. Includes airfare, 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.
Trip Description: This exchange enables students to enhance their communication skills and use language resourcefully in real life situations as they deepen cultural understanding and develop life-long friendships. Students are paired with English-language learners at the Instituto Delicias in Valladolid, Spain and remain in a homestay for the duration of their stay. Students will also have the opportunity to take dance classes and cooking lessons as they build their language skills and learn about the rich traditions of this region.
Valladolid is a quaint and very accessible city in the heart of Castilla y León whose history dates back to pre-Roman times. As the seat of the Court of Castile during the Middle Ages and the capital of Spain under Ferdinand and Isabel, this city leaves a rich and varied history to explore. It is also the place where Christopher Columbus died and were some of Spain’s most renowned Golden Age writers such as Quevedo and Cervantes lived and worked. We will not only be able to examine first-hand Valladolid’s important role in the history and culture of Spain but also that of other renowned cities such as Salamanca and Segovia. Students will end their trip with a visit to Madrid, Spain’s cultural, political and economic capital.
For students in grades 9 to 12.
Upper School China Exchange: Shanghai, Suzhou (Homestay), Beijing—March 2019
Dates of Travel: March 14–March 28, 2019
Cost of Trip: $5,000–5,200. 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.
Trip Description: The China exchange is a language and cultural immersion program for Chinese language students at Riverdale. This exchange program offers students opportunities to apply their Chinese language skills in real life, improve their Chinese proficiency, communicate across cultures, collaborate and find common ground with Chinese students, develop long-lasting friendships with peers in China, and experience the many dynamic facets of modern Chinese society.
Our exchange partner in Suzhou, the Suzhou No. 6 School, also known as the Suzhou Senior High Art School, nurtures a collegial, talented, and open-minded student body that is a fantastic match for Riverdale students. Riverdale students will participate in school life with their Suzhou buddies and stay in homestays with their families (for 3 nights/4 days). In addition to Suzhou, this exchange program features Beijing and Chengdu metropolitan areas as its two other destinations. As China's capital, political and cultural center, Beijing presents ample opportunities for students to explore both traditional and contemporary China, such as the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, etc. Chengdu is the capital city of China northwestern Sichuan province, an "foodie's heaven" and also home to the famous Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. By visiting Dujiangyan water irrigation system, a UNESCO site dating back to 2,500 years, and meeting with experts from Chengdu Urban Rivers Association, we will be learning about water preservation and ecological sustainability in China. Our second homestay will be in the nearby Linshui county, where it offers us an invaluable glimpse into the daily life of farmers in rural China and their perspectives on the country's continued change and development.
For Chinese language students in grades 9 to 12.
Unearthing the Past: Integration of Land, Sustainability, and Society on an Irish Archaeological Expedition - March 2019
Unearthing the Past: Integration of Land, Sustainability, and Society on an Irish Archaeological Expedition—March 2019
Dates of Travel: March 13–March 30, 2019
Cost of Trip: $3,500–3,700. Includes airfare, 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: Not required for US passport holders.
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.
Trip Description: This trip introduces students to the concept of community archaeology as they do fieldwork at an active site within the Irish National Heritage Park, hailed as the cornerstone of Ireland’s Ancient East. This outdoor museum depicts 9,000 years of recreated Irish history, allowing students to journey through time to unearth the past and understand the stories that shaped Ireland. Students will interact with local communities through homestays with farm families and local school visits. Students will develop educational materials for younger groups to foster an appreciation and understanding of architecture as they promote an awareness of the integration of land, sustainability and society.
For students in grades 8 to 12.
Upper School Music Trip to Australia—March 2019
Dates of Travel: March 15–March 28, 2019
Cost of Trip: $5,200–5,500. 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.
Trip Description Every few years, students in the Upper School Music Program have the opportunity to participate in a musical and cultural exchange with Geelong Grammar School near Melbourne, Australia and the Hale School in Perth, Australia. Students visit Australia during a 15-day trip over Spring Break to Melbourne, Perth and Sydney and then host visitors from the Hale School the following winter for a week. Both in Australia and in New York, students stay with host families, attend classes with their host brothers and sisters and participate in group cultural, educational and social activities in an effort to get to know one another as well as become familiar with their respective cities, cultures and musical styles and traditions. Some highlights of the trip include: a recording session at a state-of-the-art recording studio, participation in various music concerts and workshops with Australian peers on both coasts of Australia and visits to the Australian Outback and the world renowned Sydney Opera House. Students will also be exploring Australia through various critical lenses including sustainability, ecology and colonialism.
Upper School Japan Exchange—June 2019
Dates of Travel: June 13–June 27, 2019
Cost of Trip: $5,000. Includes airfare, 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.
Trip Description: The Japan trip is a language and cultural immersion program for Japanese language students as well as other interested Upper School students at Riverdale Country School. This exchange program offers students opportunities to apply their Japanese language skills in real life situations, improve their Japanese proficiency, communicate across cultures, collaborate and find common ground with Japanese students, develop long-lasting friendships with peers in Japan, and experience the many dynamic facets of modern Japanese society. Homestay locations will be arranged from as far north as Hokkaido to as far south as Okinawa. More details on this portion of the experience will follow in the early Spring of 2019. During the homestay portion of the program, students will stay with a Japanese family and attend a Japanese school. They also will participate in daily family activities, sit in on classes, and participate in uniquely-Japanese cultural activities like tea ceremony, kendo, or ikebana. Students will also be exploring Japan through various critical lenses including the ecological, social, cultural and political challenges of globalization in modern-day Japan (the impact of earthquakes, the fraught US- Japan relationship, the impact of Western standards of beauty on Japanese culture, the subjugation and forced assimilation of the Ainu people) as well as the legacy of a nuclear age.
For students in grades 9 to 11.