Global Immersion Studies Program
The Lowell Whiteman School’s Global Immersion Studies program challenges students to broaden their global perspective and deepen their understanding of diverse cultures while they learn more about themselves.
During the school year, students begin learning about their destination country and planning their own trip with their leaders. The connection to academics happens gradually – students become engaged because they want to learn about where they are going.
We do not travel like tourists – we experience first-hand how they live. For this reason, the journey of Foreign Trip, our experience of four weeks in-country, is much more significant than merely “visiting” a country.
GIS is a balance of adventure, education, cultural immersion, and opportunities for self-discovery.
Each year small groups, twelve students and two faculty guides, depart for one of five destinations. Their destinations range from Mongolia to Senegal to Bolivia. All of the trips are guided by principles of responsible travel. Faculty and student groups travel humbly and do so in order to learn and they strive to minimize any negative impacts on local communities or their environments.
LWS travel groups support local economies whenever possible and seek out meaningful interactions with the people of the communities they visit. All trips include homestays where students are immersed in a community. Students live, eat, and work with local families. In addition, LWS groups engage in community service, typically working with community members on a project of their choosing. LWS students and faculty help harvest crops, build, paint, garden, and help improve water sources. We value these experiences from play to work to daily living as opportunities to enhance our understanding of a broader world.
Our GIS program brings a wealth of experience to students and a sense that they are members of a world community.
Students return from Foreign Trip having learned different lessons. While they have all expanded their worldview in some way, their experiences are uniquely their own. For some, the most significant experience is communicating in a language they have only known in the classroom and building relationships with friends a world away. For others it is taking on the challenge of an adventure, a physically challenging homestay or high altitude trek. For many, it is as simple as removing themselves from their comfort zone and, faced with the unknown, cultivating a greater sense of their own abilities.
Whatever their story, students return knowing more about themselves and the world around them. By exploring the world and processing those experiences, they return to speak of their discoveries with both authority and a sense of awe. The adventure of Foreign Trip opens the door to an entirely new way of seeing the world and one’s place in it.