International Programs

Norfolk Academy strives to “foster intellectual curiosity and individual creativity and personal responsibility so that education goes beyond the classroom and ultimately beyond the experience at this school.” Aware of our role in a world of diverse cultures, a world that grows “smaller” but not necessarily closer every day and a world in which we must cultivate trust in order to dispel mistrust, we strive to offer many opportunities for students to enhance their perspective and enrich their understanding of earth's many peoples, cultures, and languages.

Norfolk Academy’s International Programs inspire and inform students, equipping them with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively engage with local and global communities 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, that allow for increased exploration of self and the development of true global citizens.


List of 9 items.

  • Chinese Exchange and Leadership Development Program

    Our exchange with Beijing No. 101 is entering its sixth year. We typically host students from Beijing No. 101 for 2-3 weeks in January/February and travel to China for 3 weeks in June. While in Beijing, students attend classes alongside their Chinese counterpart, live with Beijing No. 101 families, and explore Beijing and its environs on excursions. For this program, we also partner with Where There Be Dragons, an educational travel company that has worked in China for over twenty-five years. They facilitate an authentic leadership development experience for our students, along with basic Mandarin instruction, rural homestays, hiking, and service-learning in the Yunnan province. Students spend a series of H bells together during the spring semester to fully prepare for their experience abroad.

    There is no prerequisite language requirement for participation.

  • French Exchanges

    Our exchange with Saint Dominique in Neuilly-sur-Seine (Paris) is entering its fifteenth year. We typically host students from Saint Dominique for 2-3 weeks in October and we travel to France for 2 weeks in March (including spring break.) While in France, students live with a host family, enjoy touring the sites around Paris and Normandy, and attend classes at Saint Dominique. This program is open to Upper School French language students.

    French language students may apply for a longer-term exchange, as well. Selected student(s) travel to France for the second marking period of their junior year (9-10 weeks in mid-October through mid-December) and host a student from Saint Dominique for 9-10 weeks during the spring semester (usually beginning around the Easter holiday). This program is open to French language students who have completed French II.
  • German Exchanges

    Our exchange with Copernicus Gymnasium in Löningen is entering is forty-fifth year, and we believe it is the oldest, continuously-running high school exchange between our countries. We typically host students from Copernicus Gymnasium for 2-3 weeks around Easter, and we travel to Germany for 3 weeks in June. While in Germany, students live with a host family, attend classes at Copernicus Gymnasium, and travel to see the sights in Berlin, Heidelberg, Rothenburg, Cologne, Rüdesheim, and the Rhine.

    German language students may apply for a longer-term exchange, as well. Selected students host a student from Copernius Gymnasium Löningen for the first marking period of their junior year and travel to Germany for the second marking period of their junior year. This program is open to German language students who have completed German II.

  • Spanish Exchanges

    Our exchange with sister school Colegio Europeo de Madrid, located in Madrid, is in its third year. We host students from CEM for 2 - 3 weeks in September, and we travel to Spain for 2 weeks in March (including spring break.) While in Spain, students live with CEM host families, attend classes with their host students, and enjoy a variety of excursions to explore Madrid and the local environs. This program is for Upper School Spanish language students, with priority given to juniors.

    Spanish language students may apply for a longer-term reciprocal exchange, as well. The selected student(s) host a student from St. George’s College for 4-5 weeks in January/February and travel to Argentina for a 4-5 week stay at St. George’s in Buenos Aires in June/July. This program is open to Spanish language students in grades 10-11.
  • Service-Learning Programs

    Our weeklong service-learning trip to Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic or Jinotega, Nicaragua is in its eighth year. For students to get the most out of this service-learning experience, we partner with Outreach360, a non-profit organization that facilitates service-learning trips for American high school groups. In years past, students have worked alongside long-term volunteers to teach the children in the town Spanish and English literacy. This past summer, students in Nicaragua helped run an English literacy summer camp for local children. Participants enjoy excursions to the local open-air markets, the beach (DR) or coffee plantations (Nicaragua) and enjoy an afternoon of hiking.

    This program is open to students in grades 10-11, with priority given to juniors.
  • Archaeology Program in Portugal

    Operated under the auspices of Western Iberia Archaeology but open to Norfolk Academy students, the Archaeology Program in Portugal brings students to a region in eastern Portugal called the Alentejo for an intensive experiential learning opportunity. For three weeks, students attend a field school taught by Ms. Sheldon (Director of the Caladinho Archaeological Project & Norfolk Academy teacher) and work to excavate the remains of a first century B.C.E. Roman fortified structure. All students receive instruction in excavation techniques, the handling and processing of artifacts, and the recording of exposed areas and features on site. While the academic goals of this program remain in excavation of the fort and the reconnaissance of the site’s limits, the program also offers students an enriching cultural experience. All field school students live in a rural Portuguese village; consume authentic Alentejan cuisine; partake in town festivals; and experience the hospitality, kindness, and curiosity of the locals on a daily basis. Students also visit museums and other archaeological sites from prehistoric to Roman times with regional experts. Past field trips have included Évora, Castelinho do Rosario, Rocha da Minha, Setúbal, Miróbriga, Troia, Mérida (Spain), and more. No prior experience in archaeology is required, but an interest in the past is. The living and work conditions on this program require maturity, adept social skills, and physical & mental strength. This program is open to students in grades 11-12, and students apply to the program during the fall semester.
  • Eighth Grade Odyssey

    An inter-disciplinary, capstone study-abroad program in Southern Italy and Sicily for Norfolk Academy eighth grade students.

    Pompeii is one of humanity’s greatest treasures. Sicily and southern Italy, known in antiquity as ‘Magna Graecia,’ were colonized by Greece in the eighth century BCE. In many ways today, Sicily is more Greek than Greece, and its temples and theaters are better preserved than many in Greece. It is the ideal destination for students of antiquity.

    Rising ninth-graders have the opportunity to travel to Sicily and Southern Italy for 10 days in June with the goal of demonstrating the interconnectedness of the history, art, architecture, philosophy, literature, mythology, religion, archaeology, geology, science, and mathematics they have learned on their journey and to understand its relevance to their lives today. They use art, photography, poetry, and music to express themselves and continue the conversation with antiquity with which the Western World has been engaged since the intellectual adventure of mankind began.
    Students tap into a true creativity that is born from knowledge of the world, self-knowledge, and the personal experience that accompanies this type of Odyssey.

    Destinations include Erice, Segesta, Selinunte, Agrigento, Syracuse, Taormina, the Villa Romana del Casale, Mt. Aetna, Paestum, Pompeii, and Herculaneum.
  • London: Keep Calm and STEAM ON

    Eighth graders have the opportunity to travel to the United Kingdom for 7 days during Middle School Mini-Mester. Together, they will undergo an interdisciplinary exploration of science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math (STEAM) set against the backdrop of the history and culture of London and its surroundings. Students will visit early surgical theaters, wonder how Alan Turing was able to crack the code of the Enigma Machine, and peruse the stacks in the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford. On this journey, students will engage with a broad range of topics, including: archaeology, architecture, astronomy, botany, biology, computer science, electricity and magnetism, geology, geometry, history of medicine, library science, navigation, timekeeping, and zoology.

    Tentative destinations include:
    Oxford University: Museum of the History of Science, Natural History Museum, Bodleian Library; British Museum, British Library, The Royal Institution/Faraday Museum, Grant Museum of Zoology; Bletchley Park, National Museum of Computing; Museum of the Order of St. John, St. Bartholomew's Hospital, The Old Operating Theatre; Greenwich Royal Observatory, Royal Naval College, The Queen's House
  • Junior Year Abroad

    Norfolk Academy is an associate member of School Year Abroad, which offers students the opportunity to spend their Junior year abroad, living with a European or Chinese host family while pursuing a course of studies that aligns with Norfolk Academy’s rigor and expectations.

    The central elements of SYA—the homestay and an academic program emphasizing foreign language acquisition—ensure that students return home with a real mastery of a second language. At the same time, instructors from peer American schools guarantee that they do not lose ground in their core courses: math and English.  Extracurricular activities and organized travel round out the year.

    Qualified students may apply to study abroad for an academic year or summer in France, Spain, Italy, and China through School Year Abroad (SYA), or to Jordan through Arabic Year at King's Academy.  There is a separate cost for the program. Students apply in January of their sophomore year and attend during their Junior Year.

    School Year Abroad website