Ashley Hall Travel Programs | Developing Global Citizenship

2019-2020 Ashley Hall Travel Programs

Note: Based on Interest

Ashley Hall Travel Programs are an extension of Our School’s Mission, our Hallmarks, and an enhancement of existing curricula to which they are relevant. All programs are proposed annually in a manner similar to an academic course, with definable and measurable pedagogical goals, and are unique, faculty-driven innovations, deriving from our teachers’ ambitious need to heighten curricular, professional, and personal aspirations. Much effort is made to offer programs which are affordable and appropriately scheduled to create consistent opportunities for all students. 

Research has shown that effective and enriching school travel programs, both domestic and abroad, contribute to the development of global citizenship in students which increases their historical empathy, elevates levels of tolerance, enhances their overall critical thinking skills, and creates sustained interest in the target subject matter. A recent study from the University of Minnesota found that instructor-led travel programs “introduce students to concepts, practices, locations, people, lifestyles, and a side of themselves that many have never encountered. When this fast, immersive experience is well facilitated and the meaning of what the students are experiencing is authentically engaged, students are empowered and their perspectives can grow to encompass new ways of thinking they had not previously imagined” (Anderson, Lorenz, White 2016).

There is limited aid available for international programs based on financial need. To apply, complete the application below and send to Janet Morrison in the Ashley Hall Business Office at   

Application for Financial Aid for International Travel Programs

Program applications, detailed itineraries, actual costs, and schedules for pre-departure orientation sessions will be available from the travel leaders of each program. To learn more, click the inquire button above or contact the travel leaders indicated below. 

Louisiana Bayous and Byways: Cajun, Creole, and Caribbean Influences on the American South

Louisiana Bayous and Byways: Cajun, Creole, and Caribbean Influences on the American South is a cross-curricular road trip that allows participants to experience the diverse cultural and environmental influences that have shaped the music, cuisine, literature, religious beliefs, social customs, and architecture of southern Louisiana. By providing an authentic cultural immersion experience, the trip will foster students’ abilities to appreciate the many connections between the place and its people. The trip may also count as one of the three subject areas required for the Senior Thesis.

The journey begins in Acadiana, Louisiana’s “Cajun Country,” where students will listen to live Zydeco and Cajun music, try out the local dance steps, and sample delicious Cajun and Cajun cuisine from local vendors. On the way to New Orleans, we will head south towards the Gulf Coast and Isle de Jean Charles, whose residents have been named the nation’s first “climate change refugees,” to witness the impact of rising waters and oil production on the state’s rapidly shrinking wetlands. A guided kayaking eco-tour will give further insight into the environmental challenges facing the area. Then it’s on to New Orleans, a melting pot of colors, flavors, and musical notes. Students will take a guided tour through the city’s historic Lower Ninth Ward, where 100% of the homes were rendered uninhabitable by the levee breaches during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and complete a day of volunteer work with the organization Lower Nine. We will also explore the meaning of the term “Creole” as we meander through the historic French Quarter, visit historic literary landmarks and cemeteries, take an evening Voodoo/Ghost Walking Tour, experience a traditional jazz performance at Preservation Hall, and sample sugar-dusted beignets at Cafe Du Monde. Another highlight will be a tour of Laura Plantation, a beautifully restored Creole sugar plantation where Br’er Rabbit made his first appearance in the slave tales of Compair Lapin.

Participating students will:

  • Explore the concept of “cultural hybridity” as it applies to the cuisine, music, religious practices, architecture, festivals, and traditions of the area
  • Investigate the impact of climate change and human interventions on Louisiana’s shrinking wetlands
  • Explore the relationship between natural environment and culture
  • Develop a senior thesis topic related to an aspect of the trip itinerary

Where: New Orleans and Acadiana (Breaux Bridge, Lafayette), Louisiana
When: November 22-26, 2019
Who: 12th graders
Approximate Cost: $1,500 (5 days/4 nights)
Travel Leader: Libby Russler, Sarah Margaret Decker, and Meghan Ward
Application Deadline: May 17, 2019
Capacity: 18 students
Informational Meeting: TBD
Contact: Libby Russler at

Spanish Immersion: Costa Rica

Ashley Hall Travel Programs

Every Ashley Hall language immersion travel program is uniquely designed to provide transformative experiences abroad. In February of 2020, 6-8th graders studying Spanish can travel to Costa Rica to experience appropriately challenging language acquisition situations, service learning, peer-to-peer interaction, and authentic cultural exposure with this dynamic program created in tandem with Unearthed Travel.


  • Tropical basecamp accommodation surrounded by jungle wildlife just a short walk to the beach.
  • Daily experiential learning language lessons.
  • Wildlife rescue center volunteer project of wild species with the end goal of releasing the animals back into the wild.
  • Visit a local primary school and join local students for after school activities.
  • Overnight retreat with an indigenous women’s co-op community in the mountains. Spend an afternoon and overnight learning about the traditional way of life including hunting, painting, roof weaving, and one of Costa Rica’s most well known industries – CHOCOLATE! Sustainable tourism has become another vital industry of this developing country and this community presents a prime example of how to preserve a nation’s culture and traditions in a responsible and educational way.
  • Visit a local recycling center to lend a hand and learn about how local communities are making an impact on preserving the pristine environmental landscape.
  • Educational excursion to visit a waterfall before heading to the beach for a swim and snorkel.

Along with Ashley Hall faculty travel leaders, up to 18 students will be accompanied throughout by local language immersion guides and an Unearthed Program Leader. Unearth Travel’s first program was to Nepal in 1991, and they have been running trips to Costa Rica for 10+ years. They have an impeccable safety record due to their robust risk management policy, highly skilled program leaders, and professional, longstanding partnerships with local communities and organizations on the ground. Unearth’s local partner in Costa Rica specializes in environmental conservation and educational experiences and has developed a unique network engaging with communities for over 12 years. They are positioned to provide an outstanding personalized experience, as well as deliver assurance around safety and wellbeing for travelers in Costa Rica.

Where: Costa Rica
When: February 16-22, 2020
Who: 6th-8th graders
Approximate Cost: $2,800
Travel Leaders: TBD
Contact: Katie Phillips at

Exchange with Gambach High School in Fribourg, Switzerland

Continuing our successful 1:1 exchange experiences of the last 3 years, Ashley Hall has built a partnership with Collège de Gambach to offer a week-long educational experience in Fribourg, Switzerland for one Ashley Hall teacher and one 10th grader. The teacher and student will experience true cultural immersion, including shadowing at Gambach and separately spending every night in a home-stay with a Gambach family. Gambach will reciprocate and give us the opportunity to welcome one teacher and student to Ashley Hall and Charleston.

The chosen teacher and student will be directly exposed to the culture and traditions of Gambach, as well as to the medieval history of Fribourg, founded in 1157. Collège de Gambach is a bilingual public high school in the city of Fribourg. Currently, all 950 students speak some English, and their mother tongues are French (two thirds) and German (one third). Gambach actually began as an all-girls school run by nuns over 100 years ago. Based on the premise that a good school must prepare students for real life situations, Gambach helps its students achieve a high level of methodological knowledge as well as a sense of responsibility and self-determination. Ashley Hall is proud to build a sister school relationship with Collège de Gambach.

In addition to the travel experiences, the chosen Ashley Hall student will connect her Oral Defense Project (ODP) with the assistance of Ashley Hall faculty and be assigned various preparatory work.

Where: Fribourg, Switzerland
When: 1 week in Spring 2020 (exact dates TBD)
Who: One 10th grader and one faculty member by application
Approximate Cost: $2,500
Travel Leaders: TBD
Contact: Jeff Dionne at

French Language Summer Immersion Program

This program entails 3 weeks living with a host family in Tours, France while attending school at the Centre Linguistique pour Etrangers (CLE). This experience couples formal classroom instruction with the experience of total immersion whereby every interaction is a learning moment.

CLE is an independent institute for French studies founded in 1985 in Tours, France. It is located in the Loire Valley just 55 minutes south of Paris by the TGV train. CLE offers small classes, with just seven students per course, as well as individualized tutoring programs upon request. It is a region where the ‘finest’ French is spoken, preserving the traditional expressions, accent, and dialect. The CLE founders’ and faculty’s years of teaching abroad have helped them to create a friendly school with a positive atmosphere. They offer high quality French courses for students of all levels.

Our program  includes twenty hours of instruction time per week with the option to enroll for private tutorials and afternoon activities. Class size is limited to seven students per course to ensure individual attention and to promote academic excellence.  

The ideal way to discover France and its people is to live with a local family and to share their way of life. Even if the student’s level of French is limited, chatting at the family dinner table remains one of the best ways of improving your comprehension and vocabulary. The student also has the opportunity to discover the opportunity to study Francophone world views and lifestyle, and, of course, the famous French cuisine.

The host-family plays a very important role in the outcome of the student’s stay. Families are carefully selected and screened to ensure a warm welcome and a high quality home stay. The school regularly visits the host-families, and it is their warm and caring nature that helps to contribute to the reputation of CLE. To welcome the student to the Touraine region, the host-family will meet the students upon arrival in Tours to take them home.

Where: Tours, France
When: June 6-28, 2020
Who: Students who have completed Intermediate-3 French and will be 16 years old by or during the trip
Approximate Cost: $6,000-$6,500
Travel Leaders: Olivia Hipp and Ellen Kitchens
Contact: Olivia Hipp at, Sarah Margaret Decker at and Ellen Kitchens at

New England Program: Camping, Fishing, Hiking, and Coastal Adventuring

Ashley Hall and Putney Student Travel have teamed up to create our very own New England Program, a 13-day summer experience in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts for rising 5th-7th grade students. Students will explore inland lakes, rivers, and mountains, and the coast of Cape Cod. This program gives students the opportunity to become a discerning, purposeful, and experimental traveler, and supports the life science studies learned in the classroom by observing various landforms, ecosystems, cultures, and lifestyles in New England.


  • Summit the iconic Camel’s Hump, one of Vermont’s tallest peaks.
  • Spend two nights with naturalist instructors at an Appalachian Mountain Club Hut in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.
  • Visit the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and investigate coastal ecosystems.
  • Explore Cape Cod’s rugged coastline by kayak with professional guides.
  • Shadow local farmers, artisans, and environmental educators to gain a better understanding of the diverse New England landscapes.

Ashley Hall is pleased to partner with Putney Student Travel, an organization which has been supporting student travelers for 68 years with a perfect safety record and programming of the highest quality. The New York Times called them “the grandaddy of educational student travel.”

We look forward to a dynamic summer experience with our students!

Where: New England, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts
When: June 11-23, 2020
Who: Rising 5th-7th grade students
Capacity: 14 students
Approximate Cost:
Travel Leaders: Allison Jordan and Katie Bramblett
Contact: Allison Jordan at

Ἡλλάς: A Modern Odyssey

Ἡλλάς: A Modern Odyssey is a 10 day travel program through Greece for 8th-11th grade students studying Classics. Students will have the opportunity to explore how the landscape of Greece and its place within the Mediterranean influenced its history, literature, religion, mythology, art, and architecture. Going beyond their classroom studies of the Greek language, students will hear how this language has evolved over the millennia and how Greece has integrated their ancient past with the modern world.

On our journey, students will stay in beautiful three and four star hotels in Nafplio, Olympia, Delphi, and Athens. Traveling on a private chartered bus, students will visit the sights, museums, and archaeological wonders in Nafplio, Epidavros, Mycenae, Mystras, Sparta, Olympia, Delphi, Osios Loukas, Athens, and Cape Sounion. We will also take a day cruise to visit the unforgettable islands of Hydra, Poros, and Aegina. Bringing their studies in the classroom to life, students will explore the world’s best preserved ancient Greek theater, race in the stadium where the original Olympics were held, walk along the Sacred Way to the Temple of Apollo, hike the ancient rocks of the Acropolis and stand in the shadow of the Parthenon, cruise through the rich, blue waters of the Aegean, and visit the National Archaeological Museum, which houses the world’s single greatest collection of Greek antiquities.

Where: Greece
When: June 14-23, 2020 (may change within one to two days depending on airfare availability) 
Who: 8th-11th grade Classics students
Approximate Cost: $4,500-$5,300 (depending on number of participants) 
Travel Leader: Desiree Landry, Allison Parks, Roscoe Davis
Contact: Desiree Landry at

Civil War Capitals, Battlefields, and Monuments: Gettysburg, Washington, D.C., Richmond and more!

Join Ashley Hall on a tour of Civil War capitals, battlefields, and monuments on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line. Trip leader, Christopher Frisby, hails from the area near Gettysburg, Antietam and Harpers Ferry. His third great-grandfather was a soldier in the famous Massachusetts 54th regiment. Mr. Frisby has led efforts to restore a Civil War era cemetery, secured an official monument to soldiers, and worked as an intern for a summer with the Chief Historian at Antietam National Battlefield. This trip will include visits to the capitals of the Union and Confederacy, Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia, respectively, and incorporate stops at two of the most important battlefield sites of the war at Antietam, Maryland, and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; and because of its proximity to those sites, Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, where John Brown famously attempted his raid on the federal arsenal in 1859. 


  • Gettysburg Battlefield National Park: Site of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War over three days
  • Washington D.C.: The American capital then and now. Many sites to see!
  • Richmond, Virginia: Confederate Capital. Monument Avenue is a must see!
  • Antietam National Battlefield: Site of the bloodiest single day of the Civil War.
  • Harpers Ferry, West Virginia: Site of John Brown’s failed raid of 1859.

This experiential tour is an opportunity for students to engage the historical landscape around them, and to learn more about often hidden aspects of the Civil War from medicine to music to food. We will visit the house where Lincoln stayed the night before he gave the Gettysburg Address. We walk the Bloody Lane and sit in the Dunker Church at Antietam. We will stroll Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia. The trip aligns well with the Upper School curriculum wherein all juniors study American history.

Aside from exploring important historical sites, students will have the chance for some serious fun, rafting or kayaking on the Potomac River, and exploring the Gettysburg sites by bicycle. These activities will be led by professional guides and National Park Service Rangers. In Washington, D.C. we will take time to explore many of the wonderful museums and monuments available to us on the last two days of the trip. Some of these sites include: The Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture, The National Portrait Gallery, and the National Zoo.   

Where: Richmond, VA, Washington, D.C., Gettysburg, PA, Antietam, MD, Harpers Ferry, WV
When: July 12-18, 2020 (6 nights)
Who: Rising 9-12 graders
Approximate Cost: $1,000-$1,400 (depending on trip enrollment)
Travel Leaders: Chris Frisby and three other faculty members
Capacity: 40 students
Transportation: Private motor coach bus
Contact: Chris Frisby at

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Ashley Hall is a private school for girls, serving kindergarten through twelfth grade students, with a coeducational preschool in Charleston, South Carolina.