School-Sponsored Trips

Students Take on Canada


Upper School French students embarked on USJ’s inaugural Canadian Study Program in Québec during the summer of 2017. Students enjoyed excursions such as whale watching in Tadoussac, a weekend trip to Montrèal, and visiting a real native American reservation along with other cultural and social activities while going to immersion classes in Québec City.

During the two-week trip, the four students had 40 contact hours of immersion study in French in a collegiate setting at Bouchereau Lingqua International, one of Industry Canada’s Top Three certified training institutions. Their second language skills improved dramatically as they learned to appreciate another culture, which also provided them with a deeper affinity for their own.

"This immersion trip is an amazing opportunity for students to experience a new culture without having to cross an ocean,” said Teresa Floch, Upper School French Teacher and trip coordinator. “Not only have they improved their spoken French and increased their confidence in the language, but they have also boosted their own self-confidence and independence.”

Nashville, Hannibal, Washington, New York, Quebec … Middle School is on the go

As Mark Twain said, “Supposing is good, but finding out is better.” As a part of their education, Middle School students get to find out first hand what they learn in the classroom.

• Sixth Grade students enhance their study of Tennessee History with a day trip to Nashville, where they experience state government in action. Besides a tour of the State Capitol, they see the Hermitage, home of U.S. President Andrew Jackson; Bicentennial Mall State Park and State Museum, which gives the development of Tennessee; the Parthenon, where students learn about Greek mythology to help prepare them for Seventh Grade English; and Fort Nashborough on the Cumberland River.

• Seventh Grade students discover how a young boy growing up in the small town of Hannibal, Missouri, became one of the world’s most beloved authors. Their trip to Hannibal culminates their novel study of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. They visit Twain’s home and the cave where Tom and Becky got lost. The three-day trip includes stops in St. Louis at the City Museum, St. Louis Science Center, and the St. Louis Arch.

Eighth Graders culminate their study of American History each spring with a guided tour of Washington D.C., New York City, and Baltimore, Maryland. They see Mount Vernon, the National Archives, Smithsonian, White House, Capitol, and Baltimore Inner Harbor. At Arlington National Cemetery, students take part in the ceremonial placing of a wreath on the tomb of the unknown soldier. The second half of the week is spent in New York City, visiting the Empire State Building, National Cathedral, Wall Street, Central Park, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty; and seeing a Broadway play.

• Middle School French students have the opportunity to travel to French-speaking Quebec over winter break. Their taste of Canada and French culture includes a maple syrup factory, a walking tour of historic Quebec, the Chateau Frontenac, frozen Montmorency Falls, and a stop at the world’s largest winter festival, Carnaval de Quebec. They see a carnival parade, go sledding, and ice skating.

Spanish Immersion Trip, Summer 2014

As a college student, Jimmy Glosson saw first hand the invaluable lessons that studying abroad can have on one’s life. As a teacher, Senor Glosson wants his students to share in the same experience through immersing students in the language and culture by taking them abroad.

“As a student, I had exciting, communicative teachers who spoke exclusively in the target language and created opportunities for students, such as conversation clubs and study abroad programs,” said Glosson, who teaches Upper School Spanish. “When I became a teacher, I wanted to duplicate those experiences for my students. My goal as an educator is to instill a love for the Spanish language and Hispanic culture in every student. The Costa Rica Study Abroad Program makes that easy for me to do.”

Since 1998, groups from USJ have completed the study abroad immersion trips to Costa Rica. Through the program, students live with Costa Rican families, attend classes at the Intensa Language Institute, use public transportation, and enjoy cultural experiences that range from the country’s traditional method of sugar production to flying on a zipline through the tropical canopy amidst the famous Costa Rican flora and fauna.
Thirty-three students and three teachers took the trip this past summer.

“Spanish is not just an academic discipline,” said Glosson. “It is a lifelong skill that can open doors to personal and professional relationships and economic and philanthropic opportunities, and connect even the most provincial of minds and personalities to people groups, past and present.”

“Leading tomorrow’s generation through this door of opportunity is a privilege. I am reminded of that when I look into the wide-eyes of my students as we begin the journey together, immersed in the language that will change their lives forever.”