Global Academic Programs
Berkeley Carroll's travel programs are part of the academic program, not stand-alone sightseeing trips. The kind of authentic global thinking we foster requires students to prepare beforehand and to engage in serious reflection while abroad. Throughout, students consider both their own place in the world, and their responsibilities to its future.
The Upper School offers many travel programs annually.
This language immersion trip builds upon the academic learning in students' Spanish classes at Berkeley Carroll. Students travel to the beautiful and historical city of Granada, and immerse themselves in the language, culture, history, and environment that represents contemporary Spain.
This program focuses on language skills and interpersonal communication. Students live with host families and attend language classes at Itaca Centro de Formación, a language school with an emphasis on learning by experience. They spend time with their host families, interact with native speakers during the afternoon cultural visits, and meet local students in Spanish secondary schools.
Students also learn about the Judeo-Christian and Muslim influence in the region, visiting architectural landmarks such as Granada's famous palace, La Alhambra, and Córdoba’s famous mosque, La Mezquita. They experience important Spanish traditions such as flamenco and tapas, and read excerpts from the works of the Spanish poet and playwright, Federico García Lorca, beloved child of Andalucía.
This language immersion trip builds upon the academic learning in students' French classes at Berkeley Carroll. Students travel to Cap d’Ail, France, a beautiful, small city between Nice and Monaco and immerse themselves in the language, culture, history and environment that represents contemporary France.
The program focuses on language skills and interpersonal communication. In the morning, students attend classes at a language school, Centre Méditerranéen d'Etudes Françaises. They are lodged on the premises in a large park overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and are exposed to real life situations when interacting with native speakers at the Centre and during the afternoon cultural visits. They learn about the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, particularly the past and the present of the various cities they visit: Nice, Antibes, Menton, Monaco and Cannes. In addition, they study artists and writers who were inspired by the region.
Ubuntu, a uniquely Black South African term meaning “Humanity” governs the Black South African experience. “I am because we are” informs the history of the fight for freedom in Apartheid South Africa. A partnership with the Envoys Travel, this trip focuses on reframing South Africa as a nation of blackness and complements BC’s Upper School electives “Apartheid & Jim Crow” and “Africa and the West.” Students focus on the system of Apartheid, resistance to this oppression, legacies of racial oppression, and memorials of remembrance of this history. A goal of this program is to reclaim engagement with South Africa by focusing on the current work of black South African artists, entrepreneurs, educators, and civil rights leaders.
The program is based out of Johannesburg and Cape Town and designed to match BC’s course curriculum. Activity highlights include the Apartheid Museum, Nelson Mandela's House. and Tour of Soweto in Johannesburg; a safari at the Pilanesberg Game Reserve in the Bojanala Region within the North West Province; and Table Mountain, Cape Point, Boulder's Beach, Robben Island, District Six Museum, and Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town.
A partnership with the Envoys Travel, the academic program in the Galápagos Islands challenges students to become better world citizens by enhancing their knowledge of evolutionary adaptations and conservation biology while cultivating a sense of wonder and respect for the diversity of the natural world.
Before departure, students research one of the iconic and endemic species of this remote island chain, such as the flightless cormorant, the marine iguana, or the fur seal. While in the Galápagos, they learn through various experiences, engaging with local experts who lead them through the islands’ different ecological zones and share their knowledge on breeding behaviors, feeding habits, and other aspects of local animals, such as marine iguanas, green sea turtles, and penguins. Students join the NASA GLOBE Observer program and contribute to the data collection, entry, and analysis collected by scientists and satellites. They also conduct interviews with park rangers at the Charles Darwin Research Institute to further understand conservation efforts regarding the islands’ tortoises and hike to the Sierra Negra Volcano to learn about volcanology and the need for protection of the delicate ecosystem. At the program's conclusion, students engage in a multi-party negotiation exercise that highlights the tensions between economic development and environmental conservation.
As the site of major moments of resilience and activism, the American South houses a unique history of complexity: immense violence and joyous liberation. This trip involves a journey through key civil rights and Black American landmarks of the South and explores key questions such as: To what extent does the South constitute its own nation? Has the South ever healed from the Civil War? Along the way, students process what they are learning with each other and with southerners they meet in both formal and informal settings, exploring the nation’s history of racism and ongoing environmental issues in this region that target Black and low-income communities.
Stops include Birmingham, Alabama to visit the 16th Street Baptist Church, meeting place of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and site of the 1963 terrorist bombing that led to the death of four little girls; Montgomery, Alabama to connect with peers at a local independent school and visit the Equal Justice Initiative Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice; Selma, Alabama, the site of the infamous 1965 civil rights march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge; New Orleans, Louisiana to tour and learn about the Whitney Plantation and the French Quarter, boat on the Bayou, hear live jazz at Preservation Hall, and explore the contributions that Black Americans have made to music and southern cuisine and celebrate the cultural ingenuity and diversity of Black Southern culture; Jackson, Mississippi to visit the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and Tougaloo College; and Memphis, Tennessee learn about blues music at the Rock N Soul Museum.
Students travel through the canyons of Southeastern Utah and, in the process, learn to navigate with topographical maps, better understand their own decision-making styles, cook on a WhisperLite stove, and live comfortably outside for an extended period of time. On this trip, a partnership with HMI, students hike by ancestral Puebloan ruins that are situated within a half-mile of a uranium mine as they grapple with the complexities of the western landscape including land designations of National Monuments, the work of the Bureau of Land Management, and the conservation movement. They see the vestiges of old cowboy hide-outs near spring-fed pools, walk by barbed-wire fences illegally set up by cattle ranchers’ legal permits on BLM land, and camp in the shadows of the Bears Ears, the eponymous features of the Bears Ears National Monument.
Students also experience the major tenets of backpacking: community building, engaging mindfully with the geography and human history of a place, and better understanding ourselves through communication and leadership. While physical ability is important in navigating exposed terrain with everything they’ll need on their back, more important in a backcountry setting is being able to laugh, to help a friend, and to make decisions that align with Berkeley Carroll’s values.