A universe of learning awaits at MICDS from world language classes and sister school exchanges to service learning trips and on-campus language immersion camps. Intentional opportunities abound to shape our students as global citizens. Explore our international, domestic and on-campus global learning opportunities below!
We teach four valuable languages at MICDS: Mandarin Chinese, French, Latin and Spanish. Each language contains cultural, linguistic and global qualities that will help MICDS graduates be better equipped with 21st-century skills necessary to appreciate, work and interact with people all over the world. The World Languages Department deems every language offered to be relevant, meaningful and potentially useful throughout one’s lifetime.
Students at MICDS take Spanish from Junior Kindergarten through sixth grade. When entering the seventh grade, they select which language they wish to study in Middle and Upper School.
Discover eye-opening lessons and experiences in the form of exchanges, service learning and international trips. For more information, please contact Mrs. Erin Hamill, Director of Global Learning, at 314-995-7352 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- MICDS and Institution Sainte Marie-Caen Sister School Exchange
Beginning in 2011, we’ve had a biennial exchange with our partner school in Caen, France, Institution Sainte Marie de Caen (ISMC) in 2011. Every other fall, MICDS welcomes students from Caen who stay with MICDS families and attend Upper School classes for two weeks. The following spring, MICDS students and two teacher chaperones travel to France for a two-week homestay with their host families in Caen. There, they attend classes at ISMC and experience the beauty and history of Normandy on school field trips. The MICDS group also spends three days in Paris to enjoy the sights of the City of Lights, including Notre Dame, Saint-Chapelle, Sacré Coeur, Musée d’Orsay, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and shopping at the Champs-Elysées.
Dates of MICDS-ISMC Exchange:
2011-2012; 2013-2014; 2015-2016; 2017-2018 – November visit to MICDS; March trip to France
Current exchange: 2019-2020
- MICDS and Shanghai Foreign Language School Sister School Exchange
MICDS began its biennial sister school partnership with Shanghai Foreign Language School (SFLS) in Shanghai, China, in 2011. Every other June, MICDS students and teacher chaperones travel to China to tour famous cultural sights, attend classes and experience Chinese urban life through homestay visits. The group begins in Shanghai where they meet their Chinese counterparts from SFLS and travel to Suzhou, a cultural, historic site. The trip ends in Beijing, where they visit The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and The Great Wall. In October of the same year, MICDS welcomes the SFLS students and their chaperones for a two-week homestay and school visit.
Dates of MICDS-SFLS Exchange:
2011, 2013, 2015, 2017 – June trip to China; October visit to MICDS
Current exchange: 2019
- MICDS and Instituto Albert Einstein in Mar del Plata Sister School Exchange
Our biennial exchange with our sister school, Instituto Albert Einstein (AIE), in Mar del Plata, Argentina, began in 2012. Every other spring, MICDS Students and teacher chaperones travel to the capital city of Buenos Aires where they tour the city, have a tango lesson and watch a tango show; go to an Argentinian soccer game; spend a day on a Gaucho ranch and eat amazing food. Then, they spend a two-week homestay with host families, attend classes at IAE and spend a weekend at a camp with their host students. In September of the same year, MICDS welcomes the Argentinian students and their chaperones for a two-week homestay and school visit.
Dates of MICDS-IAE Exchange:
2012, 2014, 2016, 2018 – March trip to Argentina; September visit to MICDS
Current exchange: 2020
- MICDS Culture & Service in Peru
The two-week MICDS Peru Service and Learning Program combines community service with hands-on learning in a language immersion environment. Students provide community service in several areas, including a rural school in Cusco, an orphanage in Chincha and a clinic sponsored by the Peruvian American Medical Society (PAMS) in Chincha, where they work side-by-side with American doctors on a mission trip with teachers in orphanages and local schools. Students help in any way they might be needed, which may include: assisting doctors during patient visits, translating for non-Spanish speaking doctors, directing patients in the hospital, working in the pharmacy, organizing donations, stocking supplies, filing paperwork, helping to prepare food or playing with the children.
In addition to community service, students are exposed to Peruvian culture by taking traditional weaving and dance lessons, visiting the capital city of Lima and touring Incan ruins in and around Cusco, including Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, one of the seven New Wonders of the World.
Dates of Service-Learning in Peru travel program:
2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018
Next program: June 2021
Background of MICDS involvement with PAMS Health Clinic in Chincha, Peru
On August 15, 2007, a devastating earthquake struck the central coast of Peru, with the epicenter located 25 miles from the city of Chincha, a small town south of Lima. Over 100 hospitals were affected and 14 were destroyed, severely disrupting health care delivery to the people in that area. Peruvian-American Spanish teacher Ines Shultz reached out for help to the then Head of the Lower School, Michael Ebeling, who, as a result, initiated the annual MICDS collection for Pennies for Peru.
The first MICDS collection was donated to the Peruvian American Medical Society (PAMS) to help with the construction of a new PAMS Medical Clinic in the city of Chincha. Since 2007, MICDS Pennies for Peru collections have continued to help rebuild and further outfit the clinic in Chincha, as well as purchase Leukemia medication for a young girl from the Andes; buy bulk food and supplies for orphanages, nursing homes and schools in Cusco and Chincha and contribute towards the purchase of the first dental X-ray machine at the new dental until of the Chincha Clinic.
- AFS - Semester, Year and Summer Abroad Programs
MICDS has hosted AFS students for an entire year, with recent students joining us from Nigeria, Italy, Chile, Egypt and Germany. MICDS Upper School students are eligible to apply for summer, semester or year-long study abroad opportunities through AFS during which time they will live with a host family, take a full load of classes and are fully immersed in the language and culture of the country. Such experiences inspire global understanding, citizenry and leadership as students learn by understanding diverse perspectives and communicating across cultures.
For more information on becoming an AFS host family or studying abroad through AFS, please visit http://www.afsusa.org/.
- Alzar School - Semester Leadership School in Idaho and Chile
The Alzar School is a semester leadership school for high school sophomores and juniors based in Cascade, Idaho that includes a six-week Spanish immersion experience in Chile. It is built upon the “Six Foundations” of Academics, Leadership Training, Outdoor Adventure, Cultural Exchange, Service Learning, and Environmental Stewardship. Students participate in numerous outdoor activities, including whitewater kayaking and rafting, hiking, rock climbing, surfing, skiing and snowboarding, all while continuing to study their traditional academic courses.
For more information, please visit http://alzarschool.org/.
- Swiss Semester - Semester Program in Zermatt, Switzerland
MICDS has a long-standing relationship with Swiss Semester, a study abroad program of academic, personal and physical challenge, located in Zermatt, Switzerland. Each year, MICDS freshmen are invited to apply to spend the fall of their sophomore year at Swiss Semester. While there, they experience outdoor activities in the mountains and take a full course load of rigorous academic classes that incorporate the surroundings, outdoor activities, student development, and school travel in the course material.
For more information, please visit http://www.swisssemester.org/.
- Upper School Spring Break Cultural Trips
MICDS Upper School students and their families are invited each spring break to travel on cultural tours with MICDS faculty chaperones.
Recent trips include:
- World War II-focused trip in London, Normandy, Paris, Munich, Salzburg and Dachau
- Cultural Jewels of Europe Tour: Berlin, Paris, Florence
Tour of multiple museums and historical sites in each city, a theater performance in Paris, Sketch Paris drawing lesson in Montmartre, a street art workshop in Berlin and a fresco painting lesson in Florence.
- Insider’s England & France
Tour of London, Normandy, the Loire Valley, and Paris.
- La Fiesta: Spain and Morocco
Tour of Madrid, Seville, Granada, Costa del Sol, and Tangier.
- Prague, Budapest, Vienna
- Costa Rica STEM Trip
Launching in 2018, this trip provides the opportunity for students to explore the relationship between communities and the environment at the Monteverde Institute located in the cloud forest of Monteverde, Costa Rica. Accompanied by MICDS teachers and MIV coordinators and teachers, participants learn from local experts about a number of related topics, including community, forestry ecology, carbon neutrality and water quality. Experiences include lectures by local experts, naturalist-led hikes in the cloud and rain forest, hands-on work in the field, introductory or intermediate thematic Spanish and culture studies, interactions with local youth and families and many opportunities for cultural exploration, including walking tours of San José, visits to local farmers markets and traditional dancing and cooking lessons.
Next trip: June 2020
- England Shakespeare Trip
This British cultural immersion adventure featured central, authentic accommodations; superb meals; and exciting cultural activities as participants hopped from London to Oxford to Stratford-Upon-Avon and back again.
At the heart of the experience are four plays put on by four of Britain’s finest acting troupes. We start at The Globe, watching Shakespeare’s work unfold on the stage it first appeared. The scene then shifts to Stratford-Upon-Avon, the site of Shakespeare’s birth and home to the Royal Shakespeare Company. There, we watched two more plays on two separate stages: the grandiose Main Stage and the more intimate Swan. The final act of our adventure created a modern counterpoint as we journeyed to London’s hip West End theatre district for a contemporary production.
Along the way, students went for a ride on Europe’s largest Ferris wheel, the London Eye, for incredible views over the River Thames, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. They spent a day at Oxford University, the place where the Harry Potter movies were filmed, and soaked up some knowledge at the impressive Bodleian Library. We also left ample time for shopping at the eccentric Camden Markets and in Piccadilly Circus, and no trip to the UK is complete without experiencing the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace or going for a ride on a double-decker bus, both of which students got to do right before enjoying that most essential of British traditions: afternoon tea.
Next trip: June 2020
- Latin Trip to Italy or Greece
MICDS Latin and Greek faculty members accompany students to Italy or Greece to study ancient Roman or Greek civilization. The itinerary differs year to year, but trips to Italy begin in Rome, where the group visits sights including the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Capitoline Museums, the Pantheon, and Ostia Antica. Other stops in Italy may include Campania, Tuscany, and Venice. Trips to Greece may consist of visits to Athens, Delphi, Olympia, and Mycena, and a Greek island.
Dates of prior trips: 2015, 2018
Next trip: Greece, 2020; Italy, June 2022
- South Africa Trip
Students spend approximately three weeks in South Africa, visiting the major cities and sights of Johannesburg and Cape Town, exploring South Africa’s cultural diversity, learning about conservation efforts and studying the history of apartheid. Other activities include, but are not limited to, participating in game drives, bush walks, conservation efforts in the Greater Kruger Area and volunteering in a school in Cape Town.
Dates of prior trips: 2017, 2019
Next trip: Summer 2021
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”Nelson Mandela
- Geology and Biodiversity of the Grand Tetons and YellowstoneIn partnership with Teton Science Schools (TSS), this trip allows students to explore science while providing educational opportunities in one of the most biologically diverse and geologically special areas in the United States and planet Earth. Small field groups of students are accompanied by trained TSS staff and MICDS teachers while they explore the park away from the tourist areas on unique and exciting hiking trails. Students will learn field research techniques, create a unique inquiry based research project, participate in guided hikes through the mountains, observe amazing wildlife, foster leadership skills, and create lasting memories and new friendships. All student participants will receive one trimester of high school elective science credit for participating, completing a detailed research project, and keeping daily journals and notes.This opportunity is open to all MICDS rising 9-12 graders.
- Habitat for Humanity, Baytown, Texas
Each year, MICDS upper school students and chaperones spend a week in Baytown, Texas, where they work side-by-side with other volunteers and families in need to frame a home for Habitat for Humanity. Habitat builds homes alongside people who demonstrate need and willingness to partner with Habitat. Homeowner families invest hundreds of hours of their own “sweat equity” labor into their houses and their monthly mortgage payments go into a revolving Fund for Humanity to help fund the construction of more houses.
This opportunity is open to students in grades 9-12 and takes place the first week of spring break.
- AP Art History Trip, Chicago, Illinois
AP Art History students have the opportunity to spend three days in Chicago in April with MICDS Fine Arts faculty members touring numerous art exhibits and landmarks to prepare for the AP Art History Exam. Each of the museums contains collections that cover a significant portion of the material studied in the AP Art History Class. The itinerary includes the Art Institute of Chicago, a walking tour of Chicago architecture and public sculptures, Millennium Park, the Frank Lloyd Wright Robie House, Rockefeller Chapel, the Oriental Institute, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Field Museum.
- Domestic Short-Term Exchange: The Network of Complementary Schools
MICDS is a member of The Network of Complementary Schools, Inc. a group of schools that understands the importance of providing students with a diversity of experiences. Many of these programs are structured to draw upon a special strength or resource of a particular school and, therefore, focus on a single area of interest. Other programs simply present students with the opportunity to experience an academic and geographic community different from that of their home school.
MICDS students may participate in Network exchange programs for a period of one to three weeks. During that time, they live with local host families or in school dormitories. While on a Network program, students interact with students from the host school and may meet students from other Network schools as well. The timeframe spent at the Network school would be negotiated between the MICDS Director of Global Learning, the Network school and the MICDS student applicant. For a list of member schools, please click here.
- International Expo: Grades JK-12, Parents
The International Expo is a biennial school-wide event that promotes, honors and celebrates MICDS’ cultural diversity with a multicultural family fun event to help MICDS students and families embrace all the world’s people with compassion. The entire MICDS community is invited to visit and learn about the cultures and traditions of more than 40 countries through a cultural show, interactive activities, educational displays, artifacts and food tastings. Stations for each country represented are hosted by Parent and Student Ambassadors. The Expo is a joint collaboration between the MICDS Parents Association Passport Committee and the Upper School International Council.
- ¡Aventureros I! MICDS Summer Spanish Immersion experience: Rising SK and 1st Graders
At ¡Aventureros I! MICDS Spanish Immersion Summer Camp, campers follow the path of explorers “visiting” a different country each day, where they will celebrate Hispanic cultures through cooking, nature, arts and crafts, music and games. Led by teachers and counselors, all activities are conducted entirely in Spanish. This camp is ideal for heritage and native speakers, as well as children with limited Spanish proficiency.
- ¡Aventureros II! MICDS Summer Spanish Immersion experience: Rising 6th-12th Graders
At ¡Aventureros II! MICDS Spanish Immersion Summer Camp, older children and adolescents are fully immersed in Spanish language and Hispanic culture through film, cooking, language classes, music and artisan activities. Led by MICDS teachers and assistant teachers, all activities are conducted entirely in Spanish. This camp is ideal for a range of proficiency levels, including heritage speakers.
- International Council: Grades 9-12
The International Council seeks to improve global and cultural understanding and acceptance of MICDS’s growing diversity. Members organize events on campus that showcase the variety of world cultures, languages and customs of MICDS families and people in the St. Louis area. They assist International Programs by welcoming and acting as ambassadors to exchange students at MICDS. They research and attend local cultural festivals and find practical opportunities to use their world language skills. Members promote greater communication and cultural awareness within MICDS through the use of The Ram Report, The Voice and their student newsletter, The Global Local.
- Passport Series: Parents
Through the MICDS Parents Association, parents have the opportunity to be involved in global learning and culture sharing through a parent driven organization called the Passport Committee. Throughout the year, the Passport Committee offers a Passport Series of educational, cultural and social events for international and internationally-minded families to mix and exchange ideas. These events offer families opportunities to celebrate and share cultures through education, music, art, theater, dance, visual arts, food and fun, with the ultimate goal of fostering and building a globally-minded parent community.