Global Trip Destinations

We draw upon the breadth of international experience in our own Catlin Gabel community when we plan trips abroad. By basing international trips on existing connections, our students have greater opportunities for meaningful, safe, and educational experiences—and enduring relationships.

Every global experience is treated as a diplomatic endeavor, our students acting as ambassadors. The opportunity to travel abroad is a privilege and holds a high level of responsibility.

We are excited to offer eight international trips for the 2017-18 school year: four in the Upper School and one in the Middle School. Check the menu at left to find out more.

Where in the world has Catlin Gabel been? Check it out!


View Catlin Gabel Global Destinations in a larger map

2016-17

Morocco:  Twelve upper school students traveled to Morocco to study the art, architecture and landscape of the sublime and diverse coastal nation. The trip examined women’s role in society, work & family and contrasting systems supporting gender equity between the United States and Morocco. Students had amazing opportunities for photography and collected first-person narratives through person-to-person encounters in homestays, volunteering at the Amal Women’s Training Center, and visiting with Moroccan students.

Cuba:  Twelve upper school students traveled to Cuba, turning an artistic lens on the city of Havana. While taking in the history and daily life of people in the capital city, students travelled to el Valle de Viñales, a rural valley of flat topped hills, with green tobacco fields and various viewpoints that show the beauty of that rural island. The group also spent time at Las Terrazas, an ecovillage established during the 60’s when Cubans concerned about deforestation and sustainability built an ecologically minded town and populated it with artists, musicians and coffee growers. The group worked to understand the Cuban’s point of view on the relationships with the United States and used art as a mechanism for normalizing relationships with the people of the island.

Nepal:  A partnership of CGS and OES Upper School students travelled again to Nepal, with a focus on exploring the cultures and religions of Nepal, exploring the natural beauty and culture of the mountains through the challenge of trekking in the Himalayas, and learning about the effects of the recent earthquake and the recovery efforts. The group began their trip in the historic city of Kathmandu and then travelled to the mountain village of Sermathang, which was severely affected by the 2015 earthquake. Students worked side by side with Nepali youth to help construct a new community/multipurpose hall for the village. The group also spent several days trekking in the mountains in Langtang National Park.

Guatemala:  Six OES and six CGS upper school students worked together to improve the lives of children and families in Chajul, Guatemala, while learning firsthand about community development in a post-civil war environment. This trip marked the third global collaboration between CG and OES. All leaders have traveled together to Chajul, allowing us a swift welcome into the local community.As 10 upper school students traveled through Rwanda and Uganda, they developed a deeper understanding of the ways that historical legacies continue to influence these countries, they examined the major developmental trends within both countries today, and they learned about the perspectives of Rwandans and Ugandans on what the future may hold. They paid special focus to three areas that are inextricably linked with individual wellbeing and developmental potential: education, health, and business. And, they endeavored to see these countries as they see themselves, as opposed to the persistent narrative of Afro-pessimism that prevails in Western media.

Pilgrimage to Rome: Over the summer, a group of ten Catlin Gabel students will travelled to Europe and walk one of the most famous routes--the Via Francigena pilgrimage trail to Rome. The group began in Montreux, Switzerland, located on Lake Geneva. Highlights of the walk included following in the footsteps of Hannibal and Napoleon, passing by medieval castles accenting hills overlooking the Dora Baltea river, ascending and descending several ridges with Mediterranean unfolding below, a walk through Etruscan ruins, and finally arrival in Rome, home to some of the most remarkable sights in the world--the Colosseum, the Vatican, and the Forum. Unlike the millions of tourists that flock to Italy every year, though, students experienced this world, parts ancient, medieval, and modern, as active participants, pilgrims maintaining a tradition intrinsic to this land. All told, students walked some 500 miles along the Via Francigena.

Taiwan:  Fifteen 8th grade Mandarin language students traveled to Taiwan this spring. While on trip, the student were immersed in the richness of Taiwanese culture and language through home stay, school visits, and service learning. They experienced firsthand the hospitality of Taiwanese people, and used their cultural knowledge and language skills to connect with the local people.

Nicaragua: Fifteen Middle School students engaged with the local community in San Juan de la Concepción in Nicaragua. Students had the opportunity to utilize their language skills and participate in service learning with local students every day, as well as learning about the history of Nicaragua.

France: Fifteen Middle School students spent nearly two weeks in France. They began in Paris, visiting the city, and various monuments they had studied in class. The group then spent a week in Epinal, where students stayed with a host family in an immersion setting. They attended school, did community engagement work, and visited the local countryside, as well as the city of Strasbourg.

 

2015-16

China:  Fifteen upper school students traveled to China to study Chinese cultural and to compare the differences between the big city (Beijing), a medium-sized town (Lijiang), and a rural community (Yuanyang).  The students compared the tensions between history and tradition and modernization and between urban and rural communities.

Germany/Austria:  This summer thirteen upper school students will travel to the Alps in Germany and Austria.  On this trip we will get far off (and high above) the usual Common Tourist Tour rat race to experience the magnificent, rugged and scenic mountains of the Alps of Bavaria (Germany) and Tirol (Austria) up close and widescreen.  We’ll travel and explore as the more adventurous and young (and young-at-heart) Germans and Austrians do: staying in hostels, Gasthäuser, and mountain huts; and traveling by U-bahn,S-Bahn, regional trains, Postbus (into the mountain valleys), by bike and by foot.  We will come to appreciate the deep and varied natural and human history of the region. 

Nicaragua:  12 upper school students spent time investigating the past history and current political climate of Nicaragua.  The heart of the trip was time spent in the villages of San Juan and La Concha staying with host families and volunteering in the local community.

Rwanda/Uganda:  As 10 upper school students traveled through Rwanda and Uganda, they developed a deeper understanding of the ways that historical legacies continue to influence these countries, they examined the major developmental trends within both countries today, and they learned about the perspectives of Rwandans and Ugandans on what the future may hold. They paid special focus to three areas that are inextricably linked with individual wellbeing and developmental potential: education, health, and business. And, they endeavored to see these countries as they see themselves, as opposed to the persistent narrative of Afro-pessimism that prevails in Western media.

Taiwan:  Fifteen 8th grade Mandarin language students traveled to Taiwan this spring. While on trip, the student were immersed in the richness of Taiwanese culture and language through home stay, school visits, and service learning. They experienced firsthand the hospitality of Taiwanese people, and used their cultural knowledge and language skills to connect with the local people.

 

2014-15

Guatemala: Six OES and eight Catlin Gabel high school students worked together to improve the lives of children and families in Chajul, Guatemala, while learning firsthand about community development in a post-civil war environment. This trip marked the third global collaboration between CG and OES. All leaders have traveled together to Chajul, allowing us a swift welcome into the local community.

Cambodia: This Upper School trip to Cambodia explored the culture, ecology, history, and contemporary politics of one of the world's truly unique places. We started in the vibrant and active urban Phnom Penh, digging into the history of the country and the current efforts to rebuild after decades of war. We then headed up the Mekong to the more rural community of Kratie. Finally, we spent a week in Siem Reap, alternating building projects with the local NGO, Caring For Cambodia, trips to the Tonle Sap, and visits to the amazing temple complexes including Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and Ta Prohm. Here we contrasted the reality of life in Cambodia today with the proud history of the ancient Khmer empire.

France: For the third straight summer, Catlin Gabel Upper Schoolers have an opportunity to join in the great human tradition of pilgrimage. Over the last two years, Catlin Gabel groups have walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain and the Via Francigena in Switzerland and Italy. All sophomores, of course, make a figurative pilgrimage to Canterbury via Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales," so we have England covered too. This year, we add France to the list! We'll follow the most popular and traveled of the pilgrimage routes through France, the Via Podiensis, also known as the GR65.

Taiwan: This 14-day Middle School trip allowed the participating global travelers to gain a deeper understanding of the Taiwanese/Chinese culture, widen their knowledge about the diverse indigenous people who have lived on this island for more than 8,000 years, and most importantly, use their Chinese language skills to communicate with their homestay buddies and families, and other local people.

Peru: This trip took the Middle School Spanish program to Peru. This trip was designed to place students in an immersion environment that challenged them. Through a variety of interactions, living in residence with other students, and interacting with the community, students’ language and cultural sensibilities were enhanced.

2013-14

Camino de Santiago: This summer, a group of eight Catlin Gabel students traveled to Europe and followed the best known and most walked pilgrimage route in the west—Spain's Camino de Santiago. We began in the French Pyrenees, in the small Basque town of St Jean Pied-de-Port. From there, we crossed the mountains following a route once taken by Napoleon and the setting of the French epic poem, the Song of Roland. Descending into Spain, we arrived at the medieval abbey of Roncesvalles.

Chile/Argentina: On this trip to Chile and Argentina, Catlin Gabel students engaged with and explored the legacy of historical events in several powerful ways. First, we visited several former clandestine detention centers and spoke with survivors of those places. Second, we met with groups that led the resistance struggle during those years, keeping the flame of human rights alive during exceptionally difficult times. Finally, we learned about efforts to pursue justice in the decades since.

Costa Rica: We are excited about our continuing collaboration with the Cloud Forest School of the Monteverde rain forest on 106 acres of former Nature Conservancy land, CFS is a bilingual school that inspires its students to become future stewards of this vast and wondrous ecosystem. Catlin Gabel joined Costa Rican students in an international environmental education program. Our goals are to enhance each student's global and environmental understanding, improve Spanish skills, and promote cross-cultural awareness.

France: Middle School French students traveled to Paris and enjoyed homestays in Epinal.

Japan: In August of 2014, a team of nine ambassadors sustained our 22-year Sister School relationship with Gifu Kita High School (GKHS). They explored their fascinating cultural festival (Bunkasai), participated in their intense sports day (Taiikusai), observed the differences of high school life at GKHS, experienced extreme hospitality in homestays with a student’s family—and that’s just the end of the trip.

Nepal: In Nepal the students explored the culture and landscape of a magnificent country through service, trekking, and touring. The trip combined cultural examination, challenging outdoor experiences, religious studies, and adventure travel. We spent approximately half the time in the Kathmandu Valley (urban) and half in one of the remote trekking areas of the country (rural and mountainous).

Peru: This trip took the Middle School Spanish program to Peru. This trip was designed to place students in an immersion environment that challenged them. Through a variety of interactions, living with a homestay family or in residence with other students, and interacting with the community, students’ language and cultural sensibilities were enhanced.

Pilgrimage to Rome: This summer, a group of eight Catlin Gabel students traveled to Europe and walked one of the most famous routes—the Via Francigena pilgrimage trail to Rome. We began in Montreux, Switzerland, on Lake Geneva. From there, we followed in the footsteps of Hannibal and Napoleon, crossing the Alps via the Grand Saint Bernard pass, where dogs of the same name are still trained to rescue lost hikers.

2012-13

China: What is at the heart of Chinese identity today—the centuries of traditions, Maoist communism, or Western materialism? This trip endeavored to hear the stories of modern China, to see this country from a wide range of perspectives, to move from 1.3 billion to one.

Costa Rica: On this 13-day trip, Middle School students immersed themselves in the richness of Costa Rican language and culture. While on the trip, students worked on community service projects in association with the Cloud Forest School in Monteverde and learned about the ecology of the region.

France: Ordering a crêpe or a crème glacée from a Parisian street vendor, interacting during museums visits, maintaining a conversation at the Maison de L’Europe and Canal Académie, sharing seven days in a French family and being a student in a French Lycée, joining a volunteer association with their French peers--these are moments the students will remember forever. This program seeks to create moments like those, where our students can connect with the culture, language, and people in ways that is real and true. At its foundation is a home and school stay in southern France, as the first part of a reciprocal students exchange.

Guatemala: Six OES and six Catlin Gabel high school students worked together to improve the lives of children and families in Chajul, Guatemala, while learning firsthand about community development in a post-civil war environment. This trip marked the second global collaboration between CG and OES. All leaders have traveled together to Chajul, allowing us a swift welcome into the local community.

Taiwan: This 14-day Middle School trip allowed the participating global travelers to gain a deeper understanding of the Taiwanese/Chinese culture, widen their knowledge about the diverse indigenous people who have lived on this island for more than 8,000 years, and most importantly, use their Chinese language skills to communicate with their homestay buddies and families, and other local people.

2011-12

Ecuador: Students spent an amazing two and a half weeks in Ecuador. While in country, students deepened their understanding of the natural and cultural diversity of the High Andes of Ecuador, strengthened their Spanish skills, and gained outdoor skills and experience in the wonderful Andean Cloud Forest and Paramo (high Andean grassland) ecosystems.

Japan: During a 19-year exchange between CGS and Gifu Kita High School, more than 113 Japanese language students and 14 teachers have traveled to Japan. In turn, 21 teachers and 100 students from Gifu have visited CGS. The exchange trip gives students a unique cultural and language experience. They were expected to dedicate themselves completely to pre- and post-trip study, understanding that their time in Japan is a cultural immersion, not a typical tourist venture. The trip included 10 days travel in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima followed by an 11-day home stay with a Gifu Kita High School student.

Nepal: Nepal's diverse culture and phenomenal scenery will astound you. The trip started in the capital, Kathmandu. Nepal combines the burgeoning energy of a modern developing democracy with the serenity of medieval temples and public squares. Kathmandu Valley, at the heart of the country, is home to seven UNESCO World Heritage sites. These cultural and architectural gems remain in daily use. Pilgrims abound at the Hindu and Buddhist sites, and shopkeepers set out wares amid the stone and wood pavilions first built in the 12th and 13th centuries.

Costa Rica: On this 13-day trip, Middle School students immersed themselves in the richness of Costa Rican language and culture. While on the trip, students worked on community service projects in association with the Cloud Forest School in Monteverde and learned about the ecology of the region...

Martinique: In March 2012 a group of eighteen 7th and 8th graders took a two-week trip that allowed them to use their French language skills and increase their awareness of this island culture and way of life. Highlights included San Juan in Puerto Rico, a day of sailing the Caribbean coast of Martinique on the French steel sailboat Le Rara Avis, a one-week homestay with Martiniquan students and their families in Sainte-Marie on the Atlantic side of the island, and finally some time in the capital, Fort-de-France.

2010-11

Botswana: Students studied the response to the HIV/AIDS crisis in Botswana and provided direct service through established nonprofit organizations, such as orphanages. Students determined the research questions and service goals in preparation for the trip. Maru-a-Pula School was our main host and helped us connect with appropriate organizations and service opportunities. The school is well connected with health organizations through alumni, parents, and friends of the school.

China: This three-week trip included two weeks in Beijing. Days were filled with intense language instruction as well as immersion in Chinese cultural arts such as calligraphy, martial arts, Peking Opera, and culinary arts. During our stay in Beijing, we visited Olympic stadiums, the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Summer Palace. We spent the last week traveling to Xi’an to see the Terracotta Warriors, and then visited the Shanghai area.

Sénégal: French language students traveled to Dakar, Sénégal, for immersion in the vibrant culture of West Africa. Students left Sénégal with an appreciation for daily life in the countryside, and a taste of the sophisticated urban life in Dakar. In rural Sénégal, students stayed with families while volunteering for 10,000 Girls, a nonprofit that promotes education and employment for young women in rural Sénégal. We learned about Sénégalese drumming, jewelry making, and dancing. We studied the country's history, including the importance of Islam, the affect of colonialism, and the influence of the slave trade. We visited the UNESCO World Heritage Site, L’Île de Gorée, a slave-trading island. Finally, we saw the dramatic range of the country's ecosystems—wetlands in the Saloum, deserts dotted with majestic baobabs, and spectacular coastline.

Taiwan: Taiwan was our destination for Middle School's first Chinese language trip. During our trip, students spent their time in Taipei, and Hualien County, where 25% of its population is Taiwanese aborigines. One of the highlights was a visit to Sibao Grade School, inside the Taroko National Park. Our students spent their night with Sibao students in their dormitory and days in their classrooms completing collaborative projects including the study of the ecology of Taroko National Park and the lifestyles of aboriginal people.

2009-10

Japan: During an 18-year exchange between CGS and Gifu Kita High School, more than 100 Japanese language students and 13 teachers have traveled to Japan. In turn, 21 teachers and 90 students from Gifu have visited CGS. The exchange trip gives students a unique cultural and language experience.

Nepal: This trip started in the capital, Kathmandu. Nepal combines the burgeoning energy of a modern developing democracy with the serenity of medieval temples and public squares. The Kathmandu Valley is at the heart of the country and is home to seven UNESCO World Heritage sites. These cultural and architectural gems remain in daily use. Pilgrims abound at the Hindu and Buddhist sites and shopkeepers set out wares amid the stone and wood pavilions first built in the 12th and 13th centuries.

Cuba: A group of 32 Catlin Gabel high school students and four teachers participated in an 11-day “people to people” humanitarian and educational trip to Cuba, where they witnessed history in the making as Cuba began its transition after the long rule of Fidel Castro.

2008-09

India: Understanding cultures across the globe is vitally important in today’s shrinking world. On this trip students explored world religions and become immersed in India’s rich and varied culture. In addition, by traveling to a country vastly different from our own, students learned about themselves and their place in the world. The service component of the trip was designed to empower student leadership and help young people understand the good they can do in the world.

China: This three-week trip included two weeks in Beijing. Days were filled with intense language instruction as well as immersion in Chinese cultural arts such as calligraphy, martial arts, Peking Opera, and culinary arts. During our stay in Beijing, we visited Olympic stadiums, the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Summer Palace.

Peru: This trip immersed participants in the natural and human history and the current culture of this fascinating part of South America. The highlight of the trip was a four-day trek past many Incan ruins to the amazing city of Machu Picchu. We also had time to visit many other ruins, witness agricultural techniques and products, observe the native fauna up close, and even went river rafting.

Older Trips

2008—Cuba: A group of 25 Catlin Gabel high school students participated in a “people to people” humanitarian and educational trip to Cuba for 11 days. There they witnessed history in the making as Cuba began its life after the long rule of Fidel Castro. Since the U.S. government tightened restrictions on travel to Cuba, it has been rare (if not impossible) for a school group to visit Cuba. This visit was made possible by a personal invitation from the Cuban ministry of education to Roberto Villa, a Catlin Gabel high school Spanish teacher who led student trips to Cuba in 2001 and 2003. Villa met with the ministry in 2007, and they formally invited him to visit again with a Catlin Gabel group.

2007—Turkey: Twenty-five students and four chaperones had a life-changing experience over the summer during the course of our three weeks in Turkey. Over three intensive days during Winterim, students prepared for the trip by studying Turkish history and the language, reading extensively, and researching individual sites and cultural topics. They were very well prepared for the adventure. All of the chaperones were struck by the students’ intense interest in all aspects of the trip, even as the thermometer soared to 127 degrees. We could have not have traveled with a more pleasant and positive group of students.

200—Japan: The group traveled to Tokyo, Kyoto, Himeji, and Hiroshima for 9 days, and then did a 10-day home stay with Gifu Kita High School students. At the school, CG students observed some classes and participated in the big Cultural and Sports Day events, “Kitakou-sai 北校祭” .

 

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8825 SW Barnes Road,
Portland, Oregon 97225 |
503-297-1894 |
info@catlin.edu
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