Extending the Reach of the GWA Mission
Part of George Walton Academy’s mission is to prepare students to become contributing citizens in a global society, both while they’re enrolled at GWA and in their lives beyond the classroom. The Global Studies Program allows our students to travel and serve, enhance self-development and awareness, and extend their knowledge and interests in global issues.
More Than Just A Destination
GWA’s global studies program provides upper school students a chance to travel abroad through exchanges and cultural immersions. But did you know that overnight travel is planned for GWA students as young as third grade? Our school’s mission promises to provide “challenging instruction, engaging experiences, and global perspectives”, and what better way to meet our mission than to provide those things in one experience?
Our students travel throughout the nation and the world in order to engage with our curriculum in ways that allow them to increase their knowledge through direct experiences while allowing space for observation and reflection. Learning doesn’t just happen within the four walls of our classrooms. Rather, we want students to understand real-world connections to what they have learned in class and we believe in the incredible power of taking students off campus as a means to transform the learning process.
Students currently in lower school are growing up into a world that will be vastly different from the one we currently occupy, and while we may not have an exact roadmap, we do know that we need to be scaffolding their educational journey with an abundance of experiences and opportunities to intentionally steep in deeper learning. Over the next few weeks, we will be exploring global studies through a series of articles and videos and addressing the importance of exposing our students to various educational methodologies in locations at home and abroad.
St. Paul’s School
George Walton Academy is proud to partner with St. Paul's School to provide engaging international exchange opportunities. Students from St. Paul's experience education in America as they spend several weeks at GWA, hosted by one of our school families. Students from these GWA host families then have the chance to travel to Barcelona where they spend several exciting and enriching weeks studying at St. Paul's School.
Dainfern College (in progress)
Johannesburg, South Africa
George Walton Academy has received national recognition for excellence in global education from EF High School Exchange Year, the leader in high school exchange.
The EF High School Exchange Year Global Education Excellence Award is presented annually to high schools that demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to international understanding and global awareness. GWA was one of a select group of high schools and districts recognized across the United States for the 2018-19 school year.
"George Walton Academy has shown an outstanding commitment to offering a global education,” said Bob Fredette, President of EF High School Exchange Year. “By welcoming exchange students into the classrooms, GWA has created new and unique learning opportunities for not just the exchange students, but for the American students and faculty as well."
This year, GWA welcomed two EF High School Exchange Year exchange students. Not only were the students accepted into the school, but they became an integral part of the school's academic and extracurricular life and involved the greater community in the exchange experience. “My experience at GWA has been amazing,” said EF students Thea and Maria from Norway and Italy.
Local exchange coordinator Sherry Coffman added, "We thank GWA for welcoming this year's students from around the globe. The community and visiting students shared an unforgettable experience thanks to the generosity of George Walton Academy administration, teachers, students and families."
In addition to welcoming students to the U.S., GWA students have opportunities to travel abroad themselves as part of the Academy’s global studies program. Educational trips are offered to Spain, Belize, the Galapagos Islands, South Africa, and Croatia. “Learning doesn’t just happen within the four walls of our classrooms,” said Femke Côté, GWA Associate Head of Curriculum and Global Studies. “Rather, we want students to understand real-world connections to what they have learned in class and we believe in the incredible power of taking students off campus as a means to transform the learning process.”
Pictured in photo l-r: Femke Côté, GWA Associate Head of Curriculum and Global Studies, Maria Aggazio (Italy), Thea Bergan-Antonsen (Norway), Sherry Coffman, EF High School Exchange.
GWA’s Global Studies Program is founded on four main objectives. Through intentional and diverse international travel, service, exchange and study, the Global Studies program seeks to accomplish the following:
Create opportunities through which students can learn to participate in a life without borders in an increasingly inter-reliant world.
Cultivate greater empathy within our students through global exposure and service-centered trips.
Foster 21st-century soft skills such as cultural literacy, cross-cultural competency and adaptability.
Establish long-term relationships with schools that are similar to GWA in the following areas: