Ashley Hall Travel Programs | Developing Global Citizenship

2018-2019 Ashley Hall Travel Programs

Note: Based on Interest

Ashley Hall Travel Programs are an extension of our school 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. Participation in the trip will count as one of the three subject areas required for the Senior Thesis.

The journey begins in Acadiana, Louisiana’s “Cajun Country,” at the Festivals des Acadiens et Creoles where students will listen to live Zydeco and Cajun music, try out the local dance steps, and sample delicious Cajun and Creole 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. They will also explore the meaning of the term “Creole” as they 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. On the drive home, we will spend one night in Montgomery, Alabama, where we will visit the newly opened National Memorial for Peace and Justice, the nation’s first memorial dedicated to victims of lynching. 

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 human interventions and climate change 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: October 12-17, 2018
Who: 12th graders
Approximate Cost: $1,100 (6 days/5 nights)
Travel Leaders: Libby Russler, Sarah Margaret Decker, and Meghan Ward
Application Deadline: May 21, 2018
Capacity: 18 students
Informational Meeting: Thursday, May 10, 2018 (during Assembly period in Hoshall)
Contact: Libby Russler at

Le Canada Francophone: French Immersion Program

A select group of 6th-8th graders will have the wonderful opportunity to explore the wintery world of our neighbors in Canada while growing their French abilities through authentic cultural and linguistic immersion on this 7-day trip.

The students will spend first four days of the trip in the heart of Quebec City where they stay with host families in pairs. Each family will also have children around the same age as our students so as to provide them with a Quebecois counterpart.

While in Quebec, the students will attend languages classes in the morning at École Québec Monde, a language school with French courses specifically designed for our students. They will spend the afternoon exploring the region with organized activities such as dog sledding through the snow to a maple syrup farm, exploring an ice hotel, and seeing the magnificent Parc de la Chute Montmorency waterfall. The last two days will be spent exploring the history and sites of Old Montreal. If interested, please contact Olivia Hipp for further information on how to apply.

Where: Quebec City & Montreal, Canada
When: February 17-23, 2019
Who: 6th-8th graders
Approximate Cost: $2,400-$2,800
Travel Leaders: Olivia Hipp and Meghan Osborne
Capacity: 10-15 students
Application Deadline: September 10, 2018
Contact: Olivia Hipp at

Amalthea Scholars Program

Ashley Hall Travel Programs

This is a “Town-as-Text” program that uses a place as a primary source. Therefore the scope of the work will be accomplished by starting with a place as the inspiration for an interdisciplinary project. This year our “town” will be the Umbria region of mainland Italy.  Italy has been chosen to reflect the curriculum of students in their ninth and tenth grade year Humanities courses. The Umbria region is rich with Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance history, art, architecture, and music. Likewise, there are abundant natural occurrences, such as earthquake fault lines, local crops, and caves. It is this combination of archaeological and natural occurrences that creates a unique setting for interdisciplinary study. 

Participants will have the opportunity to examine the modern and ancient settings of central Italy through research, on-site exploration, and an interdisciplinary capstone styled project. This project is the culmination of this program, and it consists of four parts: a research paper, a yearlong journal, an experiment or a building project, and a lab or technical paper. Students will take ownership of the work that they accomplish; they will choose their topic, framework the scope of their research, design their experiment or building project, and examine their experience throughout this entire process. Participants will also have the opportunity to travel to their place and to experience it firsthand during the travel portion of this program, which will occur in February 2019.

Where: Central Italy
When: February 15-24, 2019
Who: Rising 9th and 10th graders by application
Approximate Cost: $3,600-$4,300
Travel Leader: Alison Adams, Lillian Apple, Dave Czernecki, Andrea Muti, Libby Russler, Grant Vatter, and Mary Webb
Application Deadline: (open to new students)
Contact: Alison Adams at

Showa Study Program

Travel Programs at Ashley Hall

After a successful experience last year, Showa Women’s University’s Junior/Senior High School is again offering a week-long educational travel experience in Tokyo for one Ashley Hall teacher and one 10th grader. The teacher and student will experience true cultural immersion, including shadowing at Showa Junior-Senior High School, every night in a home-stay experience in a Japanese home with a Showa family, and multiple excursions to Tokyo museums, neighborhoods, and sights. The chosen teacher and student will be directly exposed to the culture and traditions of Showa, the intricacies and massive scale of Tokyo, and the wonders of Japanese culture. In addition, with the assistance of Ashley Hall faculty, the student will connect her Oral Defense Project (ODP) to this experience and be assigned various preparatory work.

Where: Tokyo, Japan
When: February 13-20, 2019
Who: One 10th grader, 1 faculty member
Approximate Cost: $2,500
Travel Leader: Kelly Sumner
Capacity: 1 student, 1 teacher
Application Deadline: October 1, 2018
Contact: Jeff Dionne at 

New York City: Performing Arts Tour

The Performing Arts Department is touring New York City during Spring Break in 2019. This trip is open to 7th – 12th grade students in dance, drama, and strings. Students will experience a workshop with seasoned professionals in their area of performing arts. The whole group will also see 2-3 shows that incorporate the three combined art forms. Students will learn about opportunities in the performing arts including performance, management, and education. All students will be responsible for completing assignments on the Learning Commons prior to the trip to fully understand the multi-faceted arts community in New York City. 

Where: New York City
When: Spring Break 2019
Who: 7th-12th graders in Dance, Drama and Strings
Approximate Cost: $1,000-$1,600
Travel Leaders: Liz Dinwiddie
Contact: Liz Dinwiddie at

China Fieldwork Seminar

For the very first time, Ashley Hall is offering a group travel program to China. Students will gain invaluable insight into China’s cultural heritage and modern ascension through a journey across Beijing, Guilin, Yangshuo, and Longsheng. In Beijing, students will be introduced to China’s cultural heritage in the Middle Kingdom’s capital city. Guilin, a picturesque southern city famed for its storybook rivers and mountains, is where students will engage in cultural activities throughout the community. Students will discover the beauty from the vantage point of the Li River while enjoying a cruise to the ancient fishing village of Yangshuo, and see the famed rice terraces and learn about minority communities in Longsheng.

Among the many highlight experiences are a walk on the Great Wall, an exploration of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City,  a 3-night homestay in Guilin, Mandarin language classes, master lessons in the martial art of Taiji Quan, interaction with students at a high school, a Li River cruise, a hike through rice terraces, a sunrise meditation, and so much more. 

The Chinese Language Institute (CLI) will provide custom assistance before and during the experience, including pre-departure coursework with multiple Skype conferences with a dedicated staff member. Ashley Hall students will develop an independent research project which matches their interests, and whenever possible we will partner with our Ashley Hall students from China.

Where: China: Beijing, Guilin, Yangshuo, and Longsheng
When: March 22 – 31, 2019
Who: 6 – 12th graders
Approximate Cost: $4,900
Travel Leaders: Jeff Dionne, Laura Parks
Capacity: 16 students

Contact: Jeff Dionne at

Spanish Immersion | Santiago De Compostela, Spain

The Spanish Immersion Program at Ashley Hall provides an opportunity for students to live fully immersed in the Spanish language and culture (specifically Galicia) on their journey to becoming more linguistically and culturally competent. This venture broadens students’ global perspectives, deepens their comprehension of the Hispanic world views, and helps them become more proficient in the language. The immersion travel experience of 2019 will return to Santiago de Compostela, Spain for three weeks where students will live with Spanish host families and attend family owned and run language school, Iria Flavia. This program is designed to give students an authentic Hispanic experience by attending classes coupled with excursions in the afternoons and on weekends, as well as free time to enjoy everything that SDC has to offer. SDC is located in the North West of Spain. Santiago de Compostela is a beautiful, historic, and safe city that is famous for religious pilgrimages, and also for being a student friendly town. 

In order to participate in this immersive experience, participants must have completed Intermediate 3 Spanish and be 16 years old by the departure date. Additionally, participants will attend several weekly training sessions during second semester to prepare for life abroad.

Where: Santiago de Compostela, Spain
When: June 8– June 29, 2019
Who: Students who have completed Intermediate 3 Spanish and are 16 years old by departure date
Approximate Cost: $5,500 – $7,500
Travel Leaders: Desiree Landry and Erin Dunahoe
Contact: Mahe Van Dyck at

Adventures in the Canadian Rockies

The goal of this trip is to expose Ashley Hall students to the incredible beauty and magic of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. This will be accomplished by exploring historical, cultural and environmental aspects of the region. Students will also gain more of a global awareness as it relates to environmental and cultural issues. Based on our successful trip in 2017, we know this trip will produce more discerning, worldly and compassionate members of our Ashley Hall community.

Participating students will:

Where: Alberta and British Columbia, Canada
When: June 13-21, 2019
Who: 7th and 8th graders
Approximate Cost: $3,100
Travel Leaders: Claire Christensen and Allison Bowden
Capacity: 12 students
Contact: Claire Christensen and Allison Bowden at and

Charleston, South Carolina and Ghana, West Africa: Linked through Time

Although South Carolina and West Africa are over 5,000 miles apart, they were inextricably linked through the slave trade of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, the negative effects of which are still manifested in rural Ghana today. According to the Ghanaian historian and lawyer Mohamed Shaibu Abdulai, “the slave trade actually prevented the coming into being of an agrarian revolution in Ghana, and likewise an industrial revolution. Because before you can industrialize you need to have stable agricultural production. So slavery has a very long effect.” Africa’s loss of millions of the strongest men and women during the slave trade is one reason for this underdevelopment.

This travel experience for students in rising 9th-12th grades will allow them a chance to explore the various ways in which the Atlantic Slave Trade is remembered, taught, and memorialized in Ghana, West Africa. At the same time, they will return to Charleston with a deeper understanding of how the Ghanaian culture has added richly to the current fabric of their city and this region of South Carolina. The travel experience will explore the significance of the connection of these two areas of the world and will give the girls an opportunity to live and work alongside rural Ghanaian villagers. Partnering with Project Okurase, one of whose founders is a professor currently at MUSC, the girls will see what it means to be a participant in outreach that is sustainable and locally-driven.

While there will be planning and educational sessions throughout the year to prepare the girls for the trip, the summer experience will begin in earnest with some classes in the Charleston and greater Lowcountry region, with visits to some or all of the following: Sullivan’s Island, the major site for the landing of the slave ships; the Penn Center (St. Helena Island), a center of rich historical significance in the heart of the Gullah Culture; MUSC Urban Farm (which has sponsored a site in Okurase), and local playgrounds. The trip to Ghana will be mainly focused on assisting with community projects in the village of Okurase, and there will be excursions to Elmina Castle, one of the most important stops on the Slave Trade route, Cape Coast, a restored UNESCO World Heritage site, and Kakum National Park, one of West Africa’s surviving tropical rain forests and home to over 40 large mammals and 400 bird species as well as many species of butterflies, flora and fauna.

Where: Ghana, West Africa
When: July 6-July 8 (local); July 9-July 20, 2019 (in Africa)
Who: Rising 9th-12th graders who are comfortable with primitive living conditions
Cost: $4700-$5,100 (dependent on number of participants)
Travel Leaders: Anne Weston and Chris Frisby
Application Deadline: September 10, 2018
Contact: Anne Weston at

International Children's Choir Festival in England: Canterbury and London

A select group of 7th-12th graders in the Upper School Choirs are invited to attend one of the finest choral festivals in Europe, The International Children’s Choral Festival. This week-long Choral Festival has taken place in Canterbury and London since 1997 and is centered around three major choral performances: a joining of voices for the ancient service of Evensong in Canterbury Cathedral, a massed full-evening concert in Canterbury Cathedral, and the final festival concert in Southwark Cathedral in London with the Virtuosi of London Orchestra—all under the direction of Henry Leck and Dr. David Flood. 

Every morning they will attend rehearsals alongside other choral groups from all over the world, followed by a cultural excursion in the afternoon. Ashley Hall students will attend two master classes as well as a one-on-one coaching with Henry Leck and David Flood in preparation for our evensong service at Canterbury Cathedral. Highlights include a sightseeing tour of London, Canterbury, and Windsor, learning and taking part in the evensong service which has been sung daily without break for 1,400 years at Canterbury Cathedral, riding the Underground to a show at London Theatre, spending an afternoon having tea at Tiny Tim’s Tearoom and Moat Tea Rooms, and so much more. Students will stay with Ashley Hall travel leaders at Christ Church University in their brand new facilities, St. Georges Centre, Lanfranc House and Petros Court, which are all near the Cathedral with private rooms and bathrooms.

Our choral members will receive our repertoire in the Fall of 2018 in preparation for our trip. Please attend our informational meeting to learn more about this life-changing trip. I hope that you will join us!  Follow the link below to listen to meet Henry Leck and David Flood.

International Children’s Choir Festival video

Participating students will:

  • Gain first-hand knowledge of British musical heritage
  • Explore international repertoire and perform with the conductors who know it best
  • Develop ensemble unity: Music is the universal language
  • Have educational growth through cultural exchanges
  • Learn how to adapt to new performance spaces and work with different directors in preparation for performances
  • Return with self confidence and independence in their knowledge of the repertoire that we sing at Ashley Hall

Where: London & Canterbury, England
When: July 20-27th, 2019
Who: 7th-12th grade choral members
Approximate Cost: $3,000
Deposit due: September 15
Travel Leaders: Katherine Clarkson and Jill Harper
Capacity: 28 students
Application Deadline: September 15, 2018
Contact: Katherine Clarkson 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.