Each year we take our students to a new country in which we hope to expose them to the things we teach about in our classrooms: language, history, culture, art-as well as the things we preach to them through the tenants of our school: character, leadership, and service. Our Dragons Abroad Blog captures the stories of our students and their experiences as they come to know and interact with the world (some for the first time).
In the spring of 2016, five students traveled to Guatemala to partner with Constru Casa, an organization that builds houses for the indigenous Maya. Constru Casa is an organization that works with populations that don't meet the minimum financial requirements of organizations like Habitat for Humanity (families that make an average of $4 a day). This is the third international trip that Middleburg Academy students embarked on since the creation of the International Program.
In the summer of 2015, a group of Middleburg Academy students journeyed across Spain, Italy, and France. Here's an excerpt from a blog post on Madrid: "Being in the United States, it can be difficult at times for the students to truly understand the point in which the world is at this critical time in history. Thus, these discussions and these experiences spawned interesting conversations about world politics and what needed to happen in order to create a more successful global future. With these thoughts in mind, the students hit the streets of Madrid to explore their curiosities and see first hand what makes this part of the world tick. They came back with incredible stories of visiting art museums, walking through the beautiful Retiro Park and paddling there in the lake at the Monument for Alfonso XII. Others went shopping and incorporated Spanish clothing, art, jewelry, and shoes into their own styles (which many then fashioned later in the evening at dinner). It was during this time that everyone found their own little piece of Madrid, a special memory they they would take with them as we moved on."
Shortly after their school year in June 2014, nine Middleburg Academy juniors changed roles from students to teachers during a 17-day visit to China. The students taught American history, geography and cultural lessons to Chinese students at a camp hosted by the OVO International School, a boarding-day school in southern China. “Our students are doing a great job working with students from varying backgrounds, with varying language skills, and with differing levels of interest. Their knowledge is impressive, and they are working hard to explain the differences that make our country unique.” The Middleburg students, along with Head of School Colley Bell, also took in plenty of lessons. They received crash-courses in Tai Chi, tea preparation, tofu preparation, calligraphy and Mandarin. They also took time to visit the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, the Summer Palace, the 2008 Olympic Village, a Buddhist temple and the city and mountains of Shenzhen.