International Travel

The World as Our Classroom

As a small school, we understand the importance of offering experiences that expand students' horizons. Our international travel program builds global Girls on a boat in Quebecawareness and leadership skills, awakens high schoolers to a whole new world of possibilities, and gives them skills to become empathetic activists in the world community. These trips are only possible with the close partnership of our community. 

The Lopez International Students Education Program (InSTEP) is a nonprofit foundation that provides funding to ensure that finances are no barrier and that all students have the opportunity to participate; their website can be found at Established in 1989, the program has earned accolades from parents, teachers, students, and the Washington Education Association. As of spring 2018, over 300 Lopez students had taken InSTEP sponsored international trips. Lopez InSTEP, a totally community-funded program, has provided over $120,000 in grants to support this travel. We currently take high schoolers to Japan, Nicaragua, Québec, Greece, France, and Peru.  

Each trip provides its own window toPeople loading dirt into wheelborrows the world. Students traveling to Nicaragua focus on history, the economics of a developing country, service projects, and improving their Spanish skills. In Japan, students visit our sister island of Ishima, tour ancient sites and temples, and immerse themselves in cultural history. Stays in Kyoto and Tokyo broaden their understanding of modern Japan. The Greece trip dives into a view of 5000 years of history as students travel from Athens into the Peloponnese. The classical sites are visited but an appreciation of Bzyantine, Ottoman histories are also shared as all have shaped the Western world.

Both French trips focus on strengthening students' language skills. As they travel to Québec by train, they learn about Canada and about French Canadian history. Staying in Québec and Montreal, students visit the Museum of Civilization, Rue St. Jean, the Citadelle and, Parliament. Rock climbing, snow skiing, and ice skating are part of this winter trip. The France trip features our longest home stay (Provence for four to five days), a five-day barge trip on the Canal du Midi, plus visits to historically rich Bayeux, Mont-Saint-Michel, and Paris.

Our Spanish Club students have traveled to Nicaragua every two years since 2001 as part of a service-learning experience. These students have consistently been hard workers who return with beautiful and sometimes heart-breaking stories to tell about the resilience of the Nicaraguan people struggling to overcome the effects of extreme poverty. They've worked side-by-side with the Nicaraguan people engaging in a full range of work activities including helping with construction work on a clinic, helping with dental hygiene education programs in the schools, and working at a cooperative coffee plantation high in the mountains digging trenches for a new water system. In addition to the service portion of the trip, their college-style curriculum has included lectures, field experiences, tours, and meetings with local activists.

Due to the current political situation in Nicaragua, students traveled to Peru in 2019, where they lived and worked with local families near Cusco.

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