At Colorado Academy, we nurture dynamic thinkers and active citizens of the world through a curriculum that develops intellectual aptitude and character. Part of that curriculum includes experiences designed to offer students extended study outside the classroom and out of the country. These programs are strictly optional. Some are more academic and exploratory; others are more service-oriented. Each is designed to be a memorable and educational experience. There are a number of challenging and exciting programs in Lower, Middle, and Upper School. No matter the destination, CA’s Global Travel and Exchange program provides a wide range of opportunities for enhanced learning.
CA faculty members lead our trips, and some trips include arrangements by a trusted professional travel vendor. We are committed to helping students gain invaluable experience as part of a secure and safe travel experience. At CA, safety is our primary concern. Trips may be postponed or cancelled due to weather, staffing, political unrest, travel restrictions or advisories, or any other conditions that would compromise student safety.
Want to enroll?
If you have questions or want to enroll, please contact the teacher sponsoring the program directly. Spaces are limited, and sign-up deadlines are early.
Have Questions About Financial Aid?
Limited financial aid for travel programs is available for students currently receiving tuition assistance. We may not be able to cover fees for all who apply, yet we are committed to providing as many students as possible with the opportunity to participate. If you are currently receiving financial aid and are interested in a program, please contact Director of Admission and Financial Aid, Catherine Laskey. All applications for financial aid are kept confidential, and the Travel and Exchange Program Financial Aid Committee makes all final decisions.
For more than 30 years, the Lower School at Colorado Academy and Erskine Stewart’s Melville Junior School in Edinburgh, Scotland have participated in a Fifth Grade exchange program. Each fall, up to six Colorado Academy students travel to Scotland and participate in a homestay program for approximately three weeks. The following spring, students from those same families become part of our CA community for three weeks.
The two schools, while similar in some ways, have differences that enrich the exchange experience. Erskine Stewart’s Melville Junior School represents the best of Scottish traditions and is located in a beautiful city filled with historical landmarks. Students visiting Edinburgh attend the school, visit historical sites, and have the experience of living in a family with another Fifth Grader whose life they share.
Students apply in April, and decisions are finalized in May. Selections are made by a committee of faculty and administrators on both sides of the Atlantic. Finding a strong match for students is important and central to the process.
CA Middle Schoolers embark on the fifth trip to Costa Rica and our sister community located in the vicinity of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui. This location is ideally situated for student groups. Students explore the natural surroundings, including the nearby rainforest, whitewater raft on the Rio Sarapiqui and/or see the rainforest from a canopy zip line. In small groups, students live with homestay families in the community. In the mornings, the group works on a community project, designed in consultation with the needs and desires of the local community. In the afternoons, there is time to pursue an experiential curriculum designed to promote the understanding of global issues, leadership, and local culture.
This is an exciting opportunity to expose students to Dominican culture and a new way of thinking while giving back and digging deep. Service work in our host community begins in the morning and ends around 2 p.m. The rest of the day entails cultural exchanges, recreation, and other activities anchored in the community. Students experience the must-see sights of Santo Domingo, as well as engage in activities—like merengue lessons!—that help strengthen the long-standing relationships built with community members.
UPPER SCHOOL TRAVEL (Exchange Programs)
Madrid, Spain (NEW!) Language Immersion and Exchange
Dates: Travel – November 15-27, 2019; Host – March 7-22, 2020
For the inaugural year of this exchange, CA students are paired with students from Colegio Virgen de Europa in Madrid in order to promote and improve their cultural and linguistic awareness. The primary goal is to encourage students to build confidence and fluency in a second language and go out into the world to experience another culture firsthand. Central to this experience is the homestay, because it gives participants interaction with native speakers and language use in natural context. The school provides opportunities, both academic and extra-curricular, for students to understand and explore the culture of the other country. ¡Viva España!
Hutchesons’ Grammar School Exchange
Dates: Host – Mid-late October 2020; Travel – Early June 2021
Trip Leaders: To be determined. Contact Daniel Lopez for more information.
Cost: Approximately $2,500. Families incur minimal cost of hosting a Scottish student for two weeks.
Eligibility: Open to all rising Juniors. Application and interview required. Finding a strong match for students is important and central to the process.
Capacity: 4-6 students
This exchange program includes a two-week homestay experience with a Scottish family and studying at Hutchesons’ Grammar School. Students attend regular classes. Also, they participate in a variety of activities with their host families, such as exploring the Scottish countryside.
This science-focused Interim is an opportunity for students to participate in meaningful, multi-day biological research projects in Belize. As time permits, other activities might include snorkeling, swimming with stingrays, and rainforest exploration. This Interim is open to Juniors and Seniors, and is the culminating event for a technical science-writing course taught during the third trimester as a Junior/Senior writing seminar. The journey begins exploring the Mayan ruins of Caracol, the Belize Wildlife Sanctuary, and the research taking place at the Belize Zoo. The heart of this experience is the four days spent at a remote research station, conducting scientific research and contributing to ongoing research projects. Probable research topics include marine gas exchange, coral conservation, competition among marine species, and algae farming by damselfish.
Nordette, Mirebalais, and Cange, Haiti (Trip Pending Review) Service and Cultural Mission
Dates: March 5-12, 2020 with an off-campus retreat on March 13, 2020
Eligibility: Grades 10-12; priority given to students enrolled in the Trimester 2 Haiti social studies elective.
Application deadline: October 25, 2019
Capacity: 8-14 students
Six days in Haiti can be life-changing, and again this year, CA faculty and students return to Haiti to continue work with the nonprofit Road to Hope and CA’s sister school there. After a night in Miami, the group arrives in Cap Haïtien early the next morning to begin an eye-opening, challenging, and unforgettable experience. The group travels from the airport to the city of Mirebalais, where they meet with Père Alphonse, CA’s liaison and director of 17 Episcopal schools in Haiti. After visiting a local school, the group visits the home of Père Alphonse for a meal before traveling to the rural mountain village of Nordette. Once near the village, the group travels the last two miles on foot to St. Patrick’s School, where they spend the night. CA students engage in cultural, educational, and service activities with the students of St. Patrick’s School, as well as a visit to the city of Cange to see Dr. Paul Farmer’s Partners in Health Hospital. Once back in Mirebalais, the group gathers for a final night in the hotel before departing the next morning for Colorado. NOTE: This trip is physically and emotionally demanding and requires advance vaccinations and medical preparations.
Shanghai, Fujian, and Taiwan Chinese Cultural and Language Immersion
The heart of this trip is for deep, authentic cultural immersion. Students see the underlying structures, traditions, and perspectives that shape the people and culture of China as they travel through the modern mega-city of Shanghai, to the traditional Tulou villages of Fujian, and finally to the aboriginal communities of Taiwan. Students are provided with countless opportunities to go beyond the standard tour sites and use their Mandarin language abilities to communicate with the local Chinese and Taiwanese people.
Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands (NEW!) Service Program
In 2016, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the town of Canoa, basically leveling the town. Repairs and community rebuilding are still taking place. Our trip there encompasses a variety of service components, along with working in the local elementary school, assisting teachers with English lessons. Although there is much work to be done, the town is located on the coast, and our accommodations are on the beach, with direct access to the Pacific Ocean. Surf lessons, Spanish lessons, and hikes are a part of the experience. Students have the opportunity to experience a rural coastal town in a part of the world that they probably wouldn’t normally visit. They enhance their Spanish skills, help another community that desperately needs it, and hopefully, learn about themselves and their role as an active citizen of the world. Students also study the biology and unique ecosystems that exist on the Galapagos Islands, where the foundation of evolution and natural selection began.
Paris, Avignon, and Carcassonne, France French Language Immersion with Homestay
Vive la France! Students fly to Paris and enjoy four days of major attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Château de Versailles. Then they travel to Avignon for three days to explore the area that inspired so many Impressionists, including a visit to Cézanne’s studio. Finally, in Carcassonne, they meet their host families, spending a week with them, including excursions to the beach and a local cave. Students also volunteer at a camp for elementary school children, teaching them English.
Considerations for Global Travel
For students choosing to participate in a Travel & Exchange program,
CA families will receive specific program information and materials that
they will need to review, complete and sign, including a trip-specific
Additional Disclosure and Consent. Importantly, the terms of CA existing
agreements signed by CA families apply to all Global Travel & Exchange
Programs. Please note that all trips are subject to change based on
Risk Management and Safety
CA Travel & Exchange programs offer a variety of enriching experiential
learning opportunities for students. Programs are accompanied or led
by CA staff and/or by its vendors who arrange all or part of the trip (see
specific trips for details). From learning through cultural immersion to
engaging in a variety of activities, students have fun and can experience
valuable personal growth. However, students and their families should
understand that these activities involve inherent and other risks.
For example, travel inside or outside the U.S. can involve unique risks,
such as political unrest, terrorism, contact with unusual diseases (such
as Zika), exposure to contaminated food or water, dangerous road or
travel conditions, thievery, abduction and other risks. Students may
be subject to laws and legal systems in foreign countries that do not
provide the same protections as the U.S. legal system. Although CA
considers current geo-political climates in choosing international
program locations, CA personnel are not experts in assessing the
likelihood of terrorist activity, political unrest, the need for vaccinations
or other issues. The student and his or her parents are responsible for
conducting their own independent investigation through the U.S.
State Department (https://www.state.gov/travel/), U.S. Centers for
Disease Control (https://www.cdc.gov), World Health Organization
(https://www.who.int/en/) or other sources.
These inherent and other risks can result in student injury or other
loss. As a result, safety and risk management considerations are an
important part of CA programming. At CA, we endeavor to manage
risks, knowing we cannot eliminate risks or assure students’ safety.
Importantly, CA families should understand that students play an
important role in CA’s risk management efforts. At school, during
global travel trips or otherwise, students share in the responsibility for
their own well-being.
A few highlights for students traveling with these programs include:
CA staff, representatives, contractors or other medical personnel
will be authorized to obtain or provide routine or emergency
medical care for students, to transport students to a medical facility
and to provide treatment (including, but not limited to, injection,
anesthesia, or surgery) they consider necessary for a student’s health,
and parents agree to pay all costs associated with that care and
Students participating in CA activities on or off campus must abide
by the standards of conduct outlined in the CA School Handbook,
a violation of which may result in dismissal from the activities.
Importantly, CA reserves the right to dismiss a student from any
activities if in CA’s sole discretion, a student presents a safety concern,
is disruptive or otherwise conducts him or herself in a manner
detrimental to the activities.
For exchanges, we vet our local host families, including submitting
each to a criminal background check.
If a student is dismissed or departs for any reason, his or her parent
is responsible for all costs of early departure whether for medical
reasons, dismissal, personal emergencies or otherwise.
Students must be in good academic standing and all financial
obligations must be current before they can participate in a trip.
Upper School and Middle School programs are self-carry for
A few financial highlights for students traveling with these
All families are encouraged to purchase Trip Interruption and
Cancellation Protection Insurance.
CA can decide to cancel a travel trip or to combine or alter any
aspect of a travel trip, including itinerary, dates, activities or location
for reasons including but not limited to: weather, environment,
emergencies, or for any other reason CA determines, in its sole
discretion, is appropriate, and no refunds will be granted.
If a travel trip is cancelled, the school will work to reduce costs, but
families can still incur costs which will not be refunded.
Students will not be permitted to participate in a travel trip if the entire
fee is not paid in full by the designated payment deadline.