Global Travel

We are called International for a reason.

Every year, our students have the opportunity to participate in unforgettable trips all over the globe. These unforgettable experiences, inextricably shared yet deeply personal, are full of transformative learning moments that truly embody our school’s mission and values. 

Each destination has a specific theme and focus—athletic, linguistic, or scientific—but all have a cultural and service learning dimension. They provide extraordinary opportunities to enhance our students' globally-focused education outside the classroom and enrich their linguistic proficiency.

The trips abroad take place during the academic year and last about two weeks each.

2019-2020 High School Trips

US Border - Immigration Policy & Research

Theme: Historical and current understanding of Latino immigration to the USA; Photojournalism

Overview: This program examines the lived reality of immigration within the United States, providing opportunities for students to seek out the truths that exist outside of our urban bubbles. We begin the program by delving into the legal and administrative complexity of immigration in one of our country’s most perplexing border states. At the same time, we explore the influence that local private businesses have on the economy of the state and the region, Arizona.

Later on, we experience a different side of the United States working hand-in-hand with members of community schools in Tucson in a peer exchange project. Through direct collaboration with families separated by the border between Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Mexico, we recognize how the strands of the American story are woven by a variety of people within and beyond our borders. We finalize by visiting the border, engaging in meaningful conversation with local immigration agents and crossing to Nogales, México.

Tahiti Exchange

Theme: Cultural Exchange, History, and Traditions

Overview: International has had an exchange with the premier high school in Tahiti for nearly 30 years. It has offered our students a unique opportunity to gain close acquaintance with the islands, the Polynesian
spirit and the authenticity that accompanies getting to know a friend and their family. Stories of our students forging life-long friendships are legendary. Living Polynesia au quotidian gives the student a deeply
personal entry into a way of life that is Polynesian, French and perhaps even mixed in with Chinese customs and culture too. The opportunity to reciprocate with our spirit of generosity and all that California offers
is magic too. 

There will be an overnight venture into the inner valleys of the island to swim under waterfalls and to visit vestiges of the ancient Polynesian culture. We will learn the Ori, the exciting and emblematic traditional Tahitian dance. In addition, we will visit the offices of the Tavini Huiraatira, the independence party, and with a representative from the Tapura Huiraatira, the autonomous party of the president of French Polynesia to gain insight into their political landscape. An emphasis will be placed on developing conversations with the people of the islands.

Students will meet with community representatives related to their topic to discuss and to hone their understanding. The locale is suitable for such rencontres as Papeete is a relatively safe, compact city with friendly people who’ll enjoy indulging in conversation. Our students will definitely want to share their findings upon our return!

It promises to be a wonderful journey of discovery. It’ll be enormously fun, at times exhilarating, and always (in)formative.


Theme: Community and Service

Overview: The service and cultural trip to Senegal is a unique opportunity for our students to visit a country rich in history and culture, as well as experience a personal connection to our school’s long-standing international service project, Project Senegal. The group will stay in a small, rustic hotel on the ocean near M’bour, the seaside port where our sister school, Ecole Natangue, is located.


Theme: Science and Conservation

Overview: The idea for this trip is to immerse students to scientific research, while also giving them time to meet local communities and learn about the important ecosystems around them.

Students will work with local organizations and engage in current scientific research by collecting data in the Mamoní Valley Preserve, located two and half hours southeast of Panama City. Students will also explore the expansion of the Panama Canal and the conservation challenges that come along with the expansion. They will better understand the balance between economic development and degradation on the environment. Students will meet and interact with indigenous and local communities to grasp the struggle between lifestyle, tradition and the desire to join the global economy. They will also take part in service activities in the villages.

This trip is a truly well-rounded visit that will leave the students with a deep understanding of how the country is working to conserve its natural habitats and endemic species while also developing economically. The trip to Panama is a science and conservation focused trip where students will get the opportunity to conduct research and learn about the challenges facing this biodiversity hotspot and the people who live there. Although we will be focusing on Panama, this experience can lead to a deeper understanding of the challenges that are being faced in many other countries across the world as well.

South Africa

Theme: History and Justice

Overview: This trip is a wonderful opportunity for students to consider the impact of the Apartheid Era in South Africa and the extent to which the reconciliation process has been successful since the ending of apartheid in 1994. We will visit Robben Island and other key apartheid landmarks, as well as talk to artisans, entrepreneurs and political activists about these pressing issues. Students will develop a deeper understanding of and appreciation for peace and reconciliation efforts in South Africa post-apartheid. They will also be involve in authentic and meaningful interactions with diverse community members.


Theme: Understanding the Islamic World and Environmental Protections 

Overview: We seek to build a better comprehension of the faith of Islam, its contributions to world history and civilizations, the issues that affect the development of contemporary Muslim society, and the factors that shape and determine international politics and relations. Through a mixture of workshops, guided tours, observations, and interactions, we develop fact-based perspectives on this faith, practiced by over one fifth of the world.

The Basic Law of Oman considers the protection of the environment and prevention of pollution a social principle and responsibility of the State. We consider the means and methods by which this constitutional principle is carried out throughout the country, and the degree to which the nation is succeeding at preserving biodiversity, natural reserves, and ecosystems.


Theme: History

Overview: Discover a fascinating amalgam of very old and very new, a place where medieval castles and scars from fifty years of communist dictatorship prevail like nowhere in Europe. Students will discover fascinating places such as the Dracula's castle, Bucuresti, Brasov, Sighisoara, Alba Iulia, Sibiu. Students will be walking on centuries of old cobbled walkways, visiting beautifully host chic, street-side cafes, and off the gothic and baroque buildings, Transilvania’s Saxon villages boast fortified churches that are still shrouded in silence since the day they were build, half a millennium ago.


Theme: The Real Colombia (Linguistic Trip)

Overview: Students explore the rich physical and human geography of one of the most populous and diverse countries in South America. They learn about the region’s history in the context of indigenous cultures, the Spanish conquest, and Colombia’s rapid economic development. Students interact with local community members and have the opportunity analyze the relationship between people and the land in this culturally diverse place.

Through music, art, dance, and food, students experience the rich, dynamic, and vibrant diversity of rhythm, color, taste, smell, and heart this spectacular country has to offer.

Students have the opportunity to build their Spanish language skills through structured immersion and
targeted Spanish language activities.

US South -- Civil Rights

Theme: Road Trip and Conversation for Civil Rights and Culture

Overview: This trip is for students with a curiosity and interest in honing their understanding of US history, politics and culture.   Its dynamic program is designed to promote thoughtful engagement and reflection on the diversity of American peoples and inheritance.            .

In part, this is is a road trip:  We will be traveling by van from Atlanta to New Orleans with stops in Birmingham, Montgomery and Selma. We will visit sites rich in historical significance, of conflict and reconciliation, on the road towards American civil rights.  We will retrace, in part, the road taken by the Freedom Riders.  We will examine the influence that communities in the churches and among students—who, for instance, peacefully resisted at the lunch counters—fueled the changes in US civil rights.

We will be meeting with different constituencies, such as groups of students, retired folk and government officials.   There’ll be culturally engaged time too:  sport, theater, regional food and music, for starters!  

In New Orleans, beginning the week of April 7, we will bathe in the energy of this city’s vibrant cultural life.  We will renew ourselves of the spirit of a multiculturally diverse region with a strong accent on the African American experience.

Laos, Vietnam & Cambodia

Theme: Connecting with History

Overview: For those passionate about exploring and reflecting on unfolding history, socio-economic change, and human resilience, this trip will explore the theme "When West Meets Southeast (and Visa Versa)." We'll travel to three Southeast Asian countries - Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia - to explore the many inter-connections between France, the US and Southeast Asia, with different threads of reflection on Empire, War, Culture, Art and Religion.  Our preparation will include revisiting the history of colonialism (French Indochina), learning about American intervention in the region (the Vietnam War), and examining the experience of Southeast Asian immigrants and refugees, including many here in the Bay Area.

During the trip, we’ll travel from bustling urban centers to off-the-grid rural villages. We’ll visit ancient monuments (notably, the incredible UNESCO World Heritage site, Angkor Wat) and natural wonders (Halong Bay, one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World). We'll visit organizations that deal with the aftermath of the Vietnam War and the Cambodian Genocide; we'll talk to local spiritual leaders and connect with Buddhist monks.

In the process, we'll reflect on the many ways our countries' histories,  cultures and economies have shaped (and are shaping) one another.


Overview: The high school trip to India is one of our most celebrated traditions. This year, the plan is that 11th graders will get to discover the many faces of this fascinating nation. Traveling to Delhi, Agra, Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry and Madurai, students will visit the Taj Mahal, churches, mosques and the famous Meenakshi temple in Madurai; they will do a workshop with a street theatre group, interact with puppeteers, musicians, dancers, educators and social activists. Of course, students will also be giving back through community service for local youth. Itinerary may be subject to change.

India, 2019

Vietnam, 2018

India, 2017

Senegal, 2018

Kyrgyzstan, 2019

Tahiti, 2018

Malawi, 2017

Vietnam, 2018

India, 2012

China and Tibet, 2019

Vietnam, 2018

Senegal, 2016

India, 2017

Thailand, 2018

Thailand, 2018

Thailand, 2018

Peru, 2016

China, 2018

Cuba, 2017

Galapagos, 2015

Dominican Republic, 2017