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5th Graders Thrive Abroad

Caring and compassion were two of the biggest value take-aways for ISDenver students who traveled to France, Spain and China recently, on our annual 5th grade trips abroad. “Our students became more independent,” explained English teacher Maranda Schwartz, who was a chaperone on the 12-day trip to China, “and it was pretty amazing to see how much they cared about each other.”

ISDenver students who made the trips to Valencia, Spain, and Brest, France, stayed with host families, while Chinese program students visited three different cities in China--Shanghai, Beijing and Xi-An--and stayed in hotels. “At first the students were nervous and a little shy, and even though they have studied the culture, they were a bit surprised by all the hugging by their hosts!” Said Maria Rodriguez, Head of the Spanish Program, and a chaperone on the Valencia trip.  “But by the end, none of them wanted to come home! They get accustomed to their life with their host families --and the main goal is that they are happy.”

French students arrived at the Saint Luis School in Brest and took a moment to discuss what they were looking forward to. They met with their student hosts, whom they had corresponded with prior to the trip, and then with the entire school community - and the excitement built! The next day, it was time to go to class. For our students, it presented a good opportunity to see the differences and similarities between their classes in Brest and ISDenver. Then, students became the teachers when they broke into small groups and read a children’s book in English to students in the K1-K3 and 1st  grade classes.

Chinese students went to the Beijing International Bilingual Academy (BIBA) for two-and-a-half days to see what school is like in China.  While on the trip, students were presented each day with a set of challenges. One set of challenges included to: 

  • interview a local;
  • find a place that sells tofu and try a bite!
  • use the city map to find 3 special bridges and 2 entrances;
  • make a video to talk about their experiences for their friends at BIBA; and
  • to do it all in Chinese! 

 “They realized that they could do it--approach people and make themselves understood. It gave them a great deal of confidence,” Maranda Schwartz said.

Everything was a learning experience for all the students. In Valencia, holy days were being celebrated, which provided excitement and a grand spectacle for our Spanish program students.

In Brest, the students were treated to a private tour of the town from a local historian who focused on monuments that signified the alliance between the US and France. And in China, local tour guides gave intimate glimpses of life there. The Great Wall was a highlight, as was seeing the Terra Cotta soldiers of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China.

“We all believe there are countless positives to this trip,” Maria Rodriquez said. Maranda Schwartz agreed, as did Lauren Cantor, 5th grade English teacher who chaperoned the trip to France. According to the chaperones who witnessed so much positive growth, here are just some of the many skills honed and results achieved by our ISDenver students who go on these once in a lifetime journeys abroad:

  • Open-mindedness: The students immerse themselves in a different culture
  • Developing their independence
  • Organization skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Learning to manage homesickness, and taking care of one another
  • Spending time without technology
  • Developing and becoming more mature

With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why both students and parents look forward to the 5th grade trips abroad as a major highlight of their time here at ISDenver - and seeing students and parents tearily reunite at the airport says everything about coming home!

  • 5th grade
  • abroad
  • China
  • chinese
  • France
  • french
  • Spain
  • spanish
  • travel



More School News & Views

5th Graders Thrive Abroad

On our 5th grade students recently returned from their travels to the countries of their target languages (France, Spain, and China), a highlight of their bilingual, bi-cultural studies. They spent two incredible weeks immersed in the cultures and classrooms abroad, taking part in service activities and culturally relevant projects, and touring the regions!

Read More about 5th Graders Thrive Abroad