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Packer Students in at the Hippo Hostel in Port Elizabeth South Africa

Travel Programs

Our Spring Break travel programs provide expanded opportunities for Middle and Upper School students to deepen their global understanding through first-hand experience. 

Packer’s global travel programs are designed to develop students’ empathy, global literacy, and leadership skills. These are not sightseeing trips, but opportunities for students to build lasting connections with other communities, schools, and organizations around the world. Project-oriented and cross-cultural, our programs expose students to new contexts, often across languages, fostering their global competencies as well as their understanding of themselves. 

In all of our travel programs, we allocate daily time for the students to reflect on their experiences and process new ideas, often leading to new and deeper peer-to-peer connections. By engaging together, students grow both individually and as a group. Our travel programs do not conclude when students return to New York: they expand through post-travel workshops and events designed for students to share their broadened perspectives with the rest of our community.

Upper School Travel Programs 2019-20

To assist in your planning, please note the travel programs we anticipate offering 2020-21 and 2021-22, below.

To read about the 10th Grade International Symposium programs in Greece and Peru, please visit Global Learning.

Global Partnerships

These travel programs are long term and ongoing relationships with community partners in different parts of the world. They represent an institutional commitment to maintaining a reciprocal relationship with community partners.

Packer/ArtWorks for Youth Global Partnership Program in South Africa

This will be the twelfth journey in a partnership between Packer and the ArtWorks for Youth program in Port Elizabeth. Student participants co-lead (along with adults and fellow students) a sports or arts-based activity that they develop prior to departure. Students learn about South African culture by meeting with local artists,  exploring public art in downtown Port Elizabeth, visiting wildlife preserves, learning about the lasting impact of apartheid rule, Students will also be partnered with a South African peer and together they will participate in a number of one-on-one activities – including a story exchange, that allow them to forge a strong, enduring connection focused on promoting a mutual sense of understanding. 

Culture, Language and Arts Exploration

These programs enable students to explore their interests in topics and themes related to language, culture and the arts, using their talents and skills to engage and connect across cultures. These travel programs may be connected to curricular, co-curricular, or interdisciplinary subjects or topics.

Exploring Costa Rica: Cultural, Linguistic, Ecological, and Service Immersions

Students actively immerse themselves in the history, culture, environment, and language of Costa Rica to make meaningful connections with different rural and indigenous communities by living with Costa Rican families, hearing and speaking the native language, contributing to community projects, and learning from our diverse practices and perspectives. The itinerary is focused on people, places, and themes which will facilitate a deeper level of understanding and empathy for all participants. Activities include a homestay in rural villages; exploring the rainforest; learning about sustainable and organic agriculture; visiting the Maleku indigenous reserve; exchange at local schools, Spanish language immersion throughout the trip, among others.

China Close Up: Culture, Language, and History

Each day, we hear the news of the ups and downs of the United States’ relationship with China. Will our countries be able to come together to solve global problems? How will our economies impact one another in positive and negative ways? The China travel program aims to engage students in these questions and also further develop their interest in Chinese language, culture, and history. Students will have a chance to visit sites such as the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City in Beijing as well as the cities of Shanghai and Suzhou. The experiences enhance students' understanding and appreciation of Chinese culture as well as the way it continues to influence China today. Through homestays in Beijing, students will have the chance to observe and participate in the daily life of families as well as engage and exchange with Chinese peers.

Sustainable Futures

These programs engage students in deepening their learning and connection to the natural world and environmental studies, building on themes of outdoor education and education for sustainability.

Exploring the Sustainable Development Goals in Panama

Collaborative Travel Program 

In collaboration with The Global Education Benchmark Group and Envoys, Packer is initiating our inaugural collaborative program — giving the opportunity for Packer students to travel with a group of students and educators from independent schools around the country! The program engages students in this global epicenter of international trade, exploring current cultural and environmental challenges, international diplomacy and trade realities, and local perceptions of the world and their surroundings. Yet students also experience the incredible biodiversity of the rainforest and learn about ongoing efforts to preserve its land and the indigenous people who live within the jungle. Students will use the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals as a lens to analyze and understand this important country. 

The River Transcendent: Ecological Study, Waterways Conservation, and Fly Fishing in Idaho’s Wood River Valley

Based out of Ketchum, Idaho, this ecology-intensive program will be led in partnership with Trout Unlimited, a nationally-recognized nonprofit organization dedicated to waterways conservation, fisheries preservation, youth education, and diversity, equity, & inclusion in recreational fishing. Once in Idaho, among a variety of conservation-based activities, including day-fishing trips, Packer students will visit the Stanley Fish Hatchery. Additionally, they will apply basic NOLS leadership strategies to their daily activities and by camping along the Big Wood River with six high school students from the region itself, they will be provided the opportunity to expand their cultural and political perspectives. This is a great opportunity for students interested in the outdoors, environmental conservation and peer to peer learning. 

Arts Performance Programs

These extended programs enable students in performance groups to travel within the United States to perform and connect with local communities. 

Jazz Band Performance Program in New Orleans

New Orleans, the birthplace of Jazz, continues to be the destination spot for immersion in this truly American art form. As we wend our way into the Deep South via bus, we will be performing at assorted venues (including some in New Orleans) all while enjoying live Jazz played and sung by world-renowned musicians. In keeping with some of Packer's richest conventions, our students will also have the opportunity to engage in community service with younger students as they conduct music-related workshops in the Recovery School District. In the best possible tradition, a visit to the city where high-energy jazz happens every minute of every day will help give students a strong foundation to use as they create the music they so enjoy playing.

Future Programs

Proposed Programs for 2020-21

Packer/Artworks for Youth Global Partnership Program in South Africa

Students will work collaboratively with their Packer peers to design and implement arts based programming with youth at the Artworks for Youth program in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  

Engaging with Our Past, Connecting with Our Present in Italy

Packer’s Program in Italy encourages this in-depth engagement with the ancient Rome as a means of grappling with the issues and questions facing our modern-day world. 

Proposed Programs for 2021-22

Packer/Artworks for Youth Global Partnership Program in South Africa

Students will work collaboratively with their Packer peers to design and implement arts based programming with youth at the Artworks for Youth program in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  

Collaborative Travel Program - Location TBD

We look forward to partnering with the Global Education Benchmark Group to offer a collaborative global program, engaging Packer students, as well as students from schools around the country, in a deep dive into an important global issue. 

Middle School Travel Programs

Middle School students have opportunities to engage more deeply in their study of languages and cultures through the World Language travel programs. Each spring break, Middle School students who are studying French can visit Montréal and Québec City, while Spanish-language learners can travel to Puerto Rico. They have opportunities to connect with people from different cultures, experience the cultures and countries that they study in class, and step outside of their comfort zones. These encounters serve to activate their passion for their language of study and prepare them for a more rigorous form of study in Upper School.

Faculty Travel Programs

Packer is a partner of the Ndonyo Wasin Primary School in the Samburu region of Kenya. Every summer, as a part of an in-house professional development program on building global competence as an educator, several Packer teachers travel to Ndonyo Wasin to collaborate with the school's faculty and facilitate exchange between Packer students and NWPS students. Please see the description for this global partnership program in Global Learning

Tené Howard
Director of Global Programs and Community Engagement

Our global programs very deliberately put our students at the center of their own learning and expand what it means to be a citizen of our world.

Read More about Tené Howard

Did You Know?

Large group of high school students pose on a global trip

In our signature International Symposium program, every 10th Grade student travels abroad to Greece or Peru at no additional cost. 

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