A Transformative Summer Near and Far

This summer, MICDS Upper Schoolers ventured to China, South Africa, Peru and the Grand Tetons as part of our global learning program.

Teachers and students partnered with educators from the Shanghai Foreign Language School (SFLS) and learned about local traditions and customs across China. They toured Shanghai, enjoyed an overnight sleeper train to Xian where they visited the Terracotta Warrior Museum, and went to the City Wall of Xian. They also went to Tiananmen Square, toured the Forbidden City and learned about the Drum Tower, among many other stops.

On a trip that combined community service, cultural engagement and adventure, 15 MICDS juniors and seniors and three teachers spent 18 days in South Africa. They visited the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg and Kruger National Park, where they participated in data collection surveys to support ongoing wildlife research studies and helped clear invasive plant species. The students also went on safaris and sightseeing adventures in Cape Town, worked with local students, hiked Lion’s Head Peak for a sunrise view and to the Cape of Good Hope to see a wild penguin colony. Naomi Ferguson ’20 shared, “Our visit to Soweto was one of the most memorable experiences as I witnessed some of the happiest people even when they had very little resources and opportunities compared to what I have. What they did have was each other and a deep love for their neighbors and that was all they needed to be happy.”

Our global learning Peru trip participants had a wonderful time exploring and getting to know Cusco. They visited many towns and even learned how to harvest salt in the Incan tradition.  They interacted with children and distributed school supplies purchased from our annual “Pennies for Peru” collection, books written by MICDS Spanish 200 students and winter clothes. “It was wonderful to see the interactions and I know the locals really appreciated the care and kindness,” said Upper School Spanish Teacher Sarah Elliott. Students volunteered by working at a health fair at the clinic and at a local school. They visited a local citrus, avocado and chicken farm and Tabernero, a pisco distillery, to enhance their cultural understanding of the region. Bonnie Sneider ’21 said, “I realized more than ever why we study foreign language: to open up the doors to the importance of engagement with people who are different than ourselves.”

Twelve Upper School students visited the Teton Science School in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, taking a course on the geology and biology of the Grand Tetons. They worked on developing field science practices, leadership in the community and connection to place. After, the students presented their results to friends, family and MICDS community members. “At the beginning of the year we learned a lot about the scientific method; going into the trip with that prior knowledge was helpful,” said Ethan Kolman ’23. Science Teacher Kevin Hava said, “Teton Science School staff members commented on how impressive our students were. They asked great questions. They had a solid background and understanding.” Science Teacher Laura Bradford said, “Our hope is that we never stop asking questions and that we keep that spirit of inquisitiveness alive.”