CFL: St. Luke’s Students’ Global Adventures

V Parker
From Global Studies Director Beth Yavenditti:

It was a busy spring for St. Luke’s global travelers.

China Trip
Over March break, 10 intrepid students travelers, Mandarin teacher Jingjing Lai and I made our way to China to see some sights and spend time at our Shanghai partner school.

Our first stop after arriving in Beijing was a big one—the Great Wall of China. Once back in Beijing, we toured the Forbidden City and Olympic venues, as well as practiced some tai chi in the Temple of Heaven Park. We visited a vocational high school where students were learning how to run businesses in the hospitality industry and took a cooking lesson, where we made a traditional Beijing noodle dish. We even met up with St. Luke’s alumnus Erik Eveland ‘16, who was studying abroad in Beijing.

We flew to Xi’an to see the famed and jaw-dropping TerraCotta warriors – thousands of ancient, life-size warrior statues that were crafted to protect the emperor in his afterlife. The next stop was our Shanghai partner school, Dongchang High School. A highlight of our trip was when our students were paired with Dongchang students for an afternoon of Chinese field day activities. We also spent an afternoon touring Shanghai, a city that showcases a mix of Western and Chinese influences. Two students (Jack Laibe and Riley Susser) and Jingjing Lai extended their time in Shanghai for a homestay, school immersion experience and a visit to Hangzhou.

This whirlwind trip, filled with incredible sites and delicious food, gave all of us a better understanding of Chinese history, culture, and customs. The next St. Luke’s China trip will be spring 2021. View the CFL 2019 China Trip photo gallery.

Argentinian Visitors
In the spring, we had 14 visitors from our partner school in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Many thanks to all the St. Luke’s host families who welcomed our visitors with open arms. The Argentinians attended classes, shared their own cultural experiences with St. Luke’s Spanish students, and took trips to New York City and Boston. View the CFL Argentinians Visit St. Luke’s photo gallery. There will be a trip to Argentina in June 2020.

Andorra Science Trip
On June 8, Janet Jochem and Chris Phelps went with St. Luke’s students to the mountains of Andorra to do research on climate change and animal life in alpine climates. St. Luke’s partnered with Earthwatch to organize this program where students work with researchers in the field. Undaunted by a June snowstorm, the group planted 900 trees during the past few days and continues to learn more and do essential work.

As student traveler, Jonathan Hobson posted on June 12: “Our day began with a 1,200-foot vertical hike, subject to Andorra’s spontaneous and sometimes unpredictable conditions. We hiked for two hours through mud, rocks, and snow, eventually settling in a meadow with a 6-inch snowpack created by the previous day’s weather. The view from 7,400 feet above sea level was phenomenal; we had a clear view of the many mountains that painted the horizon. Here, we continued the work from Monday by digging holes for the 300 saplings we brought with us.”

Read more of what he wrote and posts by others in the group: Climate Change in Andorra blog.

Next year, more global adventures await. Some of the 2019-2020 opportunities include:
  • Sixth grade students in Samantha Gordon’s World Cultures classes will work on a virtual exchange with the American School Hong Kong to learn more about each other’s lives and communities.
  • French exchange students will visit St. Luke’s, with a chance for families to host French students (Spring 2020)
  • Visiting Argentina and our Argentinian partner school (June 2020)

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St. Luke’s School is a secular private school in New Canaan, CT for grades 5 through 12 serving 25 towns in Connecticut and New York. Our exceptional academics and diverse co-educational community foster students’ intellectual and ethical development and prepare them for top colleges. St. Luke’s Center for Leadership builds the commitment to serve and the confidence to lead.