experiential education + foreign exchange

INTL’s experiential education and language exchange program emphasizes collaboration, community involvement, and a sense of adventure. We encourage our students to be risk-takers, explore the diversity of our world, and develop the skills necessary to take on the challenges of today’s and tomorrow’s world.

Students across all grades also have various local and domestic experiential learning locales, providing them with academic, social, and physical learning experiences. From visiting a local pumpkin patch in preschool to environmental science studies in Yosemite for 5th grade to traveling to Costa Rica to help build rural village structures in 8th grade, to spending a semester abroad in high school, INTL’s experiential learning and foreign exchange opportunities engage their curiosities and develop their international mindset.

experiences in elementary and middle school

Each year, upper elementary and middle school students have the opportunity to participate in international exchange and travel.* These unique experiences are thoughtfully aligned with their curriculum and help to solidify their language skills as well as expand their cultural understanding.

For example, 4th-grade students can travel to China for a 10-day cultural exchange trip to experience Chinese life and culture firsthand. Students explore Hangzhou and Shanghai, live with Chinese host families, and attend a local elementary school with their Chinese peers. Middle School students travel to a suburb near Paris, live with host families, and attend a top school, while also visiting and seeing Parisian cultural sights.

experiences in high school

High school students have the option to participate in a variety of international service and cultural trips. They might choose to help on an organic coffee farm in Costa Rica or build a turtle hatchery for an endangered species in Nicaragua. Students are also able to spend a semester abroad through Round Square to further develop their language skills.

Service and language trips are often part of a student’s Community, Action and Service  (CAS) goals, an experiential learning component of the IB Diploma Programme in grades 11 and 12. In the CAS program, students complete a wide variety of extracurriculars, community service, and active options to meet and reflect on personal learning goals.

Round Square

Round Square is an internationally diverse network of 200 like-minded schools in 50 countries on six continents that connect and collaborate to offer world-class programs and experiences, developing global competence, character, and confidence in our students. The member schools are like-minded in their shared understanding of the hardwired link between character education and academic success. As a Round Square school**, INTL offers students the possibility to participate in worldwide student exchanges, international Round Square conferences, service, and research projects for students in middle and high school.

To learn more about this diverse network of international schools, visit the Round Square Website.

Duke of Edinburgh Award International

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award** is an internationally recognized program for young people age 14 and up, building their skills to equip them for life and work. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award was founded in 1956 in collaboration with German educationalist Kurt Hahn by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who remains the Patron of the Award. In the past sixty years, millions of young people in over 140 countries have participated and received Awards, with millions more benefiting from its impact in communities around the world.

Students design their own Award program, set their own goals, and record their own progress. They choose a service, physical recreation, skills activity, go on an adventurous journey, and, to achieve a Gold Award, take part in a residential project. The only person they compete against is themselves by challenging their own beliefs about what they can achieve.

To learn more, visit the Duke of Edinburgh Award Website.



*For the health and safety of our students, INTL has paused all exchange trips until the resolution of the pandemic.

** INTL is in the process of merging with Alto International School, which is a member of Round Square and the Duke of Edinburgh International Award US.