The world is your classroom

To prepare students to navigate both the opportunities and challenges characteristic of our increasingly interconnected world, Ethical Culture Fieldston School extends the boundaries of the traditional classroom with a variety of global learning experiences for students in Fieldston Middle and Fieldston Upper, mostly in the form of spring break trips and summer programs. 

ECFS believes that global education and travel should not be mere tourism; they must entail service in action. By combining service learning with cultural immersion, our students come away from their adventures with a better understanding of another culture through firsthand experience.

Whether through the partnerships that we have formed with educational or non-profit groups in China (Beijing and Nanjing) and French Guiana, trips to France, Spain, Quebec, and elsewhere that complement our students’ study of foreign languages, or service programs faculty have led in Costa Rica and Haiti — global learning at ECFS enriches our academic programs with the multicultural dimensions of learning at all stages of development. By broadening their perspectives, students gain a deeper understanding of international issues and their responsibilities as global citizens.

Examples of recent global learning experiences  

London (Fieldston Upper)

This trip featured a partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI) in a joint filmmaking workshop  and cultural introduction to British history. Students worked hand in hand with local artists to weave stories and initiate dialogues on film at the BFI/Southbank film center. Over the course of the trip, students toured the British Museum, took a day trip to Stonehenge and Bath, saw a play in the West End, and enjoyed a group bike ride through Hyde and St. James Parks. 

Ecuador (Fieldston Upper)

Students participated in a service learning program while immersed in the indigenous culture of Ecuador. They visited a local school for three days and then explored the Galapagos Islands — the natural habitat of giant tortoises, land iguanas, colorful fish, and sea turtles, among many other flora and fauna. 

Taiwan (Fieldston Middle)

The goal of this trip was for participants to explore the modernity and traditional culture of Taiwan, discover the beauty of its scenery, and develop a relationship with local people. By visiting the iconic cities, villages, and natural landmarks, students learned about the history, geography, cultures, and lives of different ethnic groups in Taiwan. Students also engaged in a community service project when visiting an indigenous village in Central Taiwan.

Ghana (Fieldston Middle)

This trip provided students with a look into Ghana’s history as well as the opportunity to see rural and urban life in modern day Ghana. In partnership with Project Okurase, students visited the village of Okurase to engage in community projects aimed at improving sustainability for the people in the village. While working with the people in Okurase, students participated in a cultural exchange of customs, history, language, and art. Students also visited the Kakum National Park to learn about rainforest flora, Cape Coast and the African Diaspora Museum, Makola Market in Accra, Kwame Nkrumah National Park, and the historic Elmina Castle. Students learned about the history of the slave trade in Ghana and its connection to Charleston, South Carolina.