Travel Programs

Environmental Field Studies Trip to Iceland, Spring 2019

The Nightingale-Bamford School embarks on travel programs and exchanges as part of its educational mission, believing that “it is only through direct personal encounters with other people and the environment that true cultural learning and intercultural growth can occur.” [Cushner, Kenneth. Teacher as Traveler, 2nd Edition. (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2018), 5] Global and cultural competency, as well as language acquisition and fluency, are only truly cemented by taking our students beyond the borders of our city and our nation. As a relationship-centered school, we value the added depth that comes from students and teachers traveling together, connecting their classroom learning to the wider world. We design our programs to develop critical thinkers, compassionate citizens, and agents of their own lives. We believe that through immersion in another place, students learn to value difference as a source of strength and means of growth.

Our travel program prioritizes trips that:

1.    Connect to a curricular program emphasizing skills that develop a sense of internationalism, democracy, environmentalism, adventure, leadership, and/or service (the Round Square IDEALS).

2.    Further the goals of global competence, defined by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as students who:

  • Investigate the world beyond their immediate environment by examining issues of local, global, and cultural significance;
  • Recognize, understand, and appreciate the perspectives and world views of others;
  • Communicate ideas effectively with diverse audiences by engaging in open, appropriate, and effective interactions across cultures; and
  • Take action for collective well-being and sustainable development both locally and globally.

3.   Allow every Upper School student, regardless of language choice, the opportunity to travel to a region that speaks the language that she studies, preferably during the junior or senior year.

Upper School Travel Options Spring 2020

Pine Ridge Girls’ School
Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota

Nightingale students travel to western South Dakota, visiting the Pine Ridge Girls' School on the Pine Ridge Reservation and learning about Lakota history and culture. Our sister school, known in Lakota as Anpo Wicahpi ("Morning Star"), is five years old and has approximately 40 students in grades 6–10; its mission is both to be college preparatory and to increase the students' understanding and appreciation of their native culture. We will meet with students and teachers, observe and participate in some of the rituals of the school, and give a brief presentation about our school and life in New York City. Visits to Wounded Knee, the Badlands, and both Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial are grounded in the meanings of those places to the Lakota people, and conversations with tribal elders illuminate aspects of Lakota culture that still shape the lives of the people on the reservation. The trip includes a fair amount of walking on uneven terrain and one strenuous hike. Some preparatory research will be assigned, to be shared with the traveling group. The group will fly into Rapid City, SD and travel in a van with a driver throughout the week.

Immigration at the Border
El Paso, Texas

In conjunction with the World Leadership School and the American Girls School Traveling Consortium, Upper School students will travel to the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso, TX to study immigration through a Border Awareness Experience. Through local NGOs, students will learn about migrant workforce efforts, legal advisory initiatives, duties of border patrol, and the legal processing of immigrants. Students and faculty from three girls schools across the U.S. will come together for this program, as part of the American Girls School Traveling Consortium. Prior to the trip, students will meet virtually and collaborate on research with their peers from the other schools. During the trip, the group will stay in a dormitory at a local retreat center.

This program will be led by the World Leadership School, whose approach is to "disconnect, de-center, and re-envision. Students disconnect from technology and their normal rhythms of life; they are pushed off balance, or de-centered, through immersive experiences; and they work alongside local leaders and students in order to see the world, and themselves, in a new way."

Rome and Southern Italy

The study tour of Rome and southern Italy organized by the classics department revolves around sites and artworks that students have studied since the beginning of their Latin instruction in Class VI. The focus of the tour is, therefore, on the ancient Roman world: the Roman Forum, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Circus Maximus (chariot-racing track), the Castel Sant' Angelo (Mausoleum of Hadrian), the Phlegraean Fields and Lake Avernus (locations associated with the Underworld in the Aeneid), the Greek colony of Cumae (the Cave of the Sibyl in the Aeneid), and Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii. From visits to Roman churches and such museums as the Vatican, the Capitoline, the Galleria Borghese, and the Archaeological Museum of Naples, students will come into contact with works of art not only from antiquity but also from the Medieval and Renaissance eras known to them from their history and art classes: the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, paintings by Raphael and Caravaggio, sculptures by Bernini and Michelangelo. Such famous locales as the beautiful coastal town of Sorrento, the cosmopolitan island of Capri and its world-renowned Blue Grotto, the breathtakingly scenic Amalfi Coast with the picturesque towns of Amalfi and Positano, as well as numerous sites and neighborhoods of common interest in Rome (Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Catacombs of St. Callisto, Piazza Navona, Trastevere) will broaden the scope of this cultural experience.

Modern and Ancient China

Nightingale will metaphorically turn the blue doors red as it travels to China. Open to both students of Chinese and those who haven’t studied the language but are interested in the history and culture of one of the world’s oldest civilizations, the trip will include seven UNESCO world heritage sites across Beijing and Xi’an, as well as museums, performances, volunteer opportunities, and the chance to learn and practice Chinese language skills during exchanges with local schools.

During the trip, we will see the most famous highlights of the country, including Beijing, the capital of China, with visits to the landmarks of rulers past. We’ll soak in the centuries-old sites of Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City—home to Chinese emperors since 1421—and travel to the Great Wall of China, the Summer Palace, and the Temple of Heaven. We’ll round out the experience with direct interactions with local students, hands-on cultural workshops in Chinese calligraphy, kungfu, paper cutting, etc, as well as have a unique chance to teach English and share American culture with young orphans. We’ll eat our way through the country as well, with Peking roasted duck, steamed dumplings, and noodles galore. After a high-speed train transfer to Xi’an, one of China’s oldest cities, we will see the Terra Cotta soldiers, the ancient Xi’an city wall, and many places rich in history and culture.

As a true cultural and linguistic experience, this trip requires a commitment to engaging with the language and culture of our hosts. While open to rising sophomores through seniors, as well as non-Mandarin students, priority will be given to students who are currently enrolled in Mandarin classes, particularly juniors and seniors in advanced courses. As a group, we will have several meetings during community time leading up to the trip, and students who have not studied Mandarin will receive a crash course in the basics.

French Immersion in France

In 2020, Nightingale will launch a French language trip to Paris, Normandy, and Brittany. Designed as a capstone immersion experience within the Upper School French curriculum, the trip will offer the chance to connect our learning within the blue doors to the wider Francophone world. The Impressionist paintings studied in Class IX will take on new meaning once you’ve seen the gardens at Giverny, just as our debate about the Gilets Jaunes will seem more real when you stand by the Arc de Triomphe and imagine the protest unfolding around you.

With a focus on art, history, and French culture, we will first spend time learning about sites in Paris, such as la Cathédrale de Notre Dame, le Musée de l’Orangerie, or l’Arc de Triomphe. We will visit Round Square or other partner schools to experience life as a student in France, and hopefully have a delicious meal (or two, or three) along the way. From Paris, we will follow in the path of artists and history, heading north through the gardens where Monet painted in Giverny, before arriving at the coast of Normandy. There, we’ll imagine both the horrors of D-Day and the beauty of Proust and Satie, visiting towns such as Honfleur, Cabourg, Bayeux, and Caen. From Normandy, we’ll head west into Brittany, imagining medieval life in the abbey at le Mont St-Michel, or the day-to-day experience during the occupation in the walled city of St-Malo.

As a language-learning experience, this trip requires a commitment to speaking French and engaging with the culture of our hosts. As a group, we will have several meetings during community time during the school year leading up to the trip during spring break. Rising sophomores through seniors who are currently enrolled in French, or who have completed French through their junior year, may apply. Priority will be given to juniors and seniors, particularly those currently enrolled in advanced courses.