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Global Learning

Students in China

Norfolk Academy's International Programs allow our students to journey beyond the classroom with teachers and peers.  Students gain the knowledge and skill necessary to effectively engage with communities in our Tidewater region and around the globe; develop maturity of mind, body, and character; and become culturally perceptive citizens. 

We provide a variety of opportunities to learn abroad, from traditional exchanges to service-learning trips to global classroom programs, which allow for increased self-awareness and the development of true global citizens.

8th graders in Pompei

The first thing that I realized was that I am more capable than I thought; I never thought I would have
been able to have conversations in Spanish like I did. The second thing I learned was all of the
small differences between Spanish culture and ours that make both cultures unique.
Finally, I learned that you can make friends no matter where you are in the world.

Emme  ’19Spanish Exchange Program

Our Programs

  • Reciprocal Exchange
Short-Term Cultural Exchange, Beijing, China

Participants will host a student and then travel to Beijing where they will attend classes (in English) at Beijing No. 101, a prestigious public school with a rigorous college preparatory curriculum, experience daily life with host families, and explore the city and its environs on excursions to such landmarks as the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and the Great Wall. 

  • Reciprocal Exchange
Short-Term Exchange, Löningen, Germany

Third-year German students have the opportunity to participate in an exchange with our partner school, Copernicus-Gymnasium in Löningen. Students will enjoy living and studying with their host families while exploring the rest of Germany with Norfolk Academy faculty and knowledgeable local guides. Whether surveying Berlin from atop the Reichstag, boating down the Rhine in Rüdesheim, or helping the night watchman make his rounds in medieval Rothenburg ob der Tauber, students will embrace the German culture.

  • Reciprocal Exchange
Short-Term Exchange, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

Third-year French students have the opportunity to participate in an exchange with our partner school, Saint Dominique, in Neuilly-sur-Seine, an upscale suburb a short Metro ride from the heart of Paris. Students can stroll along the Champs-Élysées or marvel at the Eiffel Tower in between classes at this elite French institution, go on weekend trips to the French countryside with their host families, or traverse the battlefields of Normandy’s famed coastline with their classmates and faculty leaders.

  • Reciprocal Exchange
Short-Term Spanish Exchange, Chía, Colombia

While in Colombia, third-year Spanish language students live with a host family, enjoy visiting sites around Bogotá, and enjoy special topics classes at our partner school, Colegio Bilingüe Rochester, centered around Spanish language, Colombian culture, and the school’s unique sustainability efforts.

  • Reciprocal Exchange
Long-Term Exchanges in Argentina, France, Germany and Spain

A select group of third-year language students have the opportunity to participate in long-term reciprocal exchanges with partner schools in Argentina, France, Germany, and Spain. Students live with host families, attend classes, join teams, and immerse themselves in the host language and culture before reciprocally welcoming their exchange students to Norfolk Academy. 

  • Global Classroom Program
Understanding Climate Change, Bolivia

Students explore natural landscapes across a range of altitudes, live alongside indigenous Quechua families, and learn about the history and culture of Bolivia. We partner with Where There Be Dragons to facilitate an authentic experience including homestays, trekking, and service-learning. Students take on important leadership roles, embracing the ambiguity of unfamiliar cross-cultural environments and fundamentally challenging their own worldviews and lifestyles back home.

  • Global Classroom Program
Keep Calm and STEAM On, London

Eighth graders have the opportunity to travel to the United Kingdom for seven days during Middle School Mini-Mester. Together, they undergo an interdisciplinary exploration of science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math (STEAM) as they examine exotic animal species at the Grant Museum, wonder how Alan Turing was able to crack the code of the Enigma Machine, and attend lectures at the Royal Society. With London as their textbook, students are sure to discover new fields of interest that will spark inquiry long after they return to school.

  • Global Classroom Program
Eighth Grade Odyssey, Italy

On the Eighth Grade Odyssey, participating students follow in the footsteps of the Ancients while traveling through time from Sicily’s Greek past to the era of its Roman invaders and beyond, investigating the past and finding a new appreciation for history, literature, science, architecture, and, of course, gelato. The adventure begins with students’ exploration of the World Heritage sites of Sicily, while swimming its waters and hiking Mt. Etna, and culminates in the trifecta of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Ostia—the ancient City of Rome’s port and gateway to the Empire.

  • Service-Learning Program
Education for Social Change: A Hands-On Teaching Experience, Dominican Republic

In this program, students learn the fundamentals of the teaching profession and experience firsthand the reality of international development work. Students begin the course by gaining practice in curriculum development, instruction, and classroom management as they learn alongside local educators before traveling to the Dominican Republic to apply their new skills while teaching English with our long-time partner, Outreach360

  • Junior Year Abroad
School Year Abroad (SYA), China, France, Italy, or Spain

Students in this program can study for the entirety of their junior year at SYA sites in China, France, Italy, and Spain while living with a host family and honing their skills in another language. But this program is much more than just school. Participating students will consider Chinese history from atop the Great Wall, fall in love with Romantic paintings in the Louvre, prepare authentic Italian cuisine, or cheer on their favorite Spanish fútbol team as SYA takes learning outside of the classroom.

  • Junior Year Abroad
Arabic Year (AY) at King’s Academy, Jordan

Modeled after Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts, King’s Academy is an American-style boarding school in Jordan. Students enrolled in AY gain fluency in Arabic, soak in the history and culture of the Middle East, and “learn by doing” through off-campus educational excursions throughout Jordan and the region. King’s Academy also offers summer programs for interested high school students.