Global Studies

We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate.
pico iyer


Throughout its long and rich history, Princeton Day School has fostered learning communities committed to academic excellence. Not only do we prepare students for academic success, but we are also dedicated to the development of the whole child. Through our curriculum, extra-curricular offerings, and community-building initiatives, we aim to provide our students with the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to lead fulfilling and fruitful lives in the classroom and beyond.

In order to promote leadership, service, and action, we must instill in our students a clear sense of global citizenship, facilitate their engagement with complex global issues, and help them understand their role in an increasingly interdependent world.

The Global Studies Program at Princeton Day School is comprised of three tenets: globally-focused daily curriculum; school exchange programs; and international travel programs. We believe that through this program, our students will in fact extend the PDS mission to its fullest expression by acting, leading, and contributing with a sense of integrity, respect, and compassion on a global scale.

Spring Trips


Rome, Italy

Students of advanced Latin and/or Greek in 11th and 12th grade are invited to experience Rome with Mr. Gudgel and Mrs. Mangino over Spring Break 2019. This program will be the cultural culmination of the work students have completed in their time as Latin students at Princeton Day School. Students will become acquainted with the Eternal City and experience its culture from ancient times through today. Highlights of the program include explorations of St. Peter's Basilica, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Capitoline Museum, the Palatine Hill, subterranean Roman ruins, as well as potential day trips to Ostia or Pompeii. The group will stay in Trastevere, from the Latin, trans Tiberim (neighborhood across the river). In addition to the cultural wonders the students will experience firsthand, they will also enjoy some of the best food in Rome! Dates: March 11-20, 2019. For more information on this trip, click here.

Normandy and Paris, France:

This trip will be a linguistic and cultural immersion for 8th and 9th grade students of French.  It will allow our students to experience French culture firsthand and to apply the conversational skills they practice in class in a real-world setting.  This program is truly interdisciplinary, combining a focus on French language, history, architecture and art. Every day, students will experience the French way of life; they will learn to orient themselves in the city, take the métro, and of course experience local foods.  Students will have the opportunity to use their communication skills in real-life situations. They will be pushed out of their comfort zone and asked to communicate with native speakers using the language they have been learning in school. Dates: March 8-16, 2019. For more information on this trip, click here.

London, England and Edinburgh, Scotland:

After establishing an English Department tradition of visiting London to explore the city and celebrate British literature, we have organized a trip experience that confirms "Life Along the Thames" as a signature part of both the PDS US English Program and Global Studies. The goal is to give students in grades 10-12 the opportunity to study and experience British history, culture, art and literature through multiple interdisciplinary and experiential lenses connected with select English and history courses. This newly designed trip will include many of the exceptional London highlights provided on previous trips, while also offering a new annual focus on a select British author and an excursion to another key cultural destination, Edinburgh, Scotland. Students will read the selected author's works before traveling to England. They will spend time in the city exploring the author's birthplace and haunts, as well as the settings of his/her novels, poems, or plays. For more information on this trip, click here.

Global Citizenship at PDS: Everyday Learning

At Princeton Day School, we are committed to nurturing globally competent students, equipped with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to investigate and analyze global issues, recognize perspectives, communicate across cultures, and effect positive change in the world through age-appropriate instruction.

In the Lower School, the overarching theme for the social studies program is communities. Children begin their exploration of the world by studying their families, homes, and neighborhoods. As they grow older, their studies move farther out into the world. Students learn about different cultural traditions, similarities and differences within and between global communities, the relationship between people and the land, and immigration.

In the Middle School, students compare different cultures in the ancient world and analyze their influence upon contemporary ideas, customs, beliefs, and institutions. Students study current events and search for themes that connect the modern world to that of the past. The social studies curriculum culminates with a course on World History in the 20th Century.

In the Upper School, students can choose from a wide variety of courses with a global focus. These include World Studies, Sacred Traditions, Global Literature, International Relations, and Comparative Government, among others. In addition to learning and thinking about the complexities of the modern world in the classroom, Upper School students have the opportunity to participate in clubs and actively engage with global issues. Clubs, such as International Action (Interact), Amnesty International, and Model United Nations, are entirely student-led and play an important role in the students’ extra-curricular life.

At PDS, foreign languages are introduced in the Lower School and are part of the core curriculum in the Middle and Upper Schools. Students can study Spanish, French, Latin, and/or Chinese. Foreign language courses emphasize communication skills, cultural knowledge, and global interconnections. In doing so, the foreign language curriculum at PDS complements the work of the Global Studies program throughout all three divisions.

School Exchanges

Princeton Day School affords Upper school students a variety of opportunities to spend extended periods of time off campus in international and domestic academic programs.These programs are primarily designed for high school juniors.Students apply during the spring of their sophomore year.

Programs may be trimester, semester, or full-year duration. While students may have to adjust their schedules and curriculum choices to participate in these opportunities, all programs are intellectually rigorous, with academic standards and expectations similar to our own. We have found that colleges generally look favorably on students willing to pursue such academic adventures.

Chewonki Semester School

Formerly known as the Maine Coast Semester, Chewonki Semester School was established in 1988 by S. Scott Andrews, currently a faculty members teaching U.S. History. Located in Wiscasset, Maine, Chewonki offers 11th grade students a challenging academic program with an emphasis on environmental studies. Students in the school study the natural history of the Maine coast, work on an organized farm, go on two short wilderness trips, help maintain the campus, and participate in a rigorous academic program. Each semester is sixteen weeks long. Each semester up to 40 students are offered admission.

For more information, please visit The Chewonki Semester School website:

High Mountain Institute

Formerly known as the Rocky Mountain Semester, the High Mountain Institute was founded in 1995 by Molly and Christopher Barnes in the spirit of combining wilderness education with traditional academics. Located in Leadville, Colorado, the HMI Semester offers 11th grade students the opportunity to live, travel, and study in the mountains of central Colorado and the canyons of southeastern Utah. Students spend five weeks over the course of the semester on three wilderness expeditions that focus on leadership and community-building and twelve weeks on campus completing a standard junior year curriculum. Each semester up to 42 students are offered admission.

For more information, please visit the HMI website:

Conserve School

Established in 2002 and located in Land O'Lakes, Wisconsin, Conserve School is a semester school for environmentally and outdoor minded high school juniors. For seventeen weeks, students pursue a program of environmental studies and outdoor activities, designed to deepen their love of nature, reinforce their commitment to conservation, and equip them to take meaningful action as environmental stewards. The program interweaves college-preparatory academics with the study of environmental history, nature literature, and the science of conservation, environmental service work, exploration of careers related to conservation, training in teamwork and leadership, and engagement with the outdoors. Up to 60 students are offered admission each semester.

For more information, please visit the Conserve School website:

School for Ethics and Global Leadership

Located in Washington DC and established in 2006, the School for Ethics and Global Leadership is a semester school for high school juniors. The school's residential facilities are located on Capitol Hill, right behind the Supreme Court, and its academic building is a block from Dupont Circle. Its rigorous academic program focuses on ethical thinking skills, leadership development, and international studies. In addition to completing a standard junior year curriculum, students take an ethics and leadership course. The program features visits to and by prominent speakers in such fields as foreign policy, public service, diplomacy, law, and humanitarian aid. Each semester is sixteen weeks long. Up to 24 students are offered admission each semester.

For more information, please visit the School for Ethics and Global Leadership website:

School Year Abroad

Founded in 1964, School Year Abroad is an academic program which places American high school juniors, seniors, and post-graduates in 4 countries, including China, Italy, France, or Spain for a year. Students intensively learn the respective language of their country and live with a host family. The program includes extensive cultural immersion and select courses taught in the native language. Requisite subjects, such as math and English, are taught in English. Extracurricular activities and organized travel round out the year. The program provides academic advisors, college counseling services, and administers the AP, SAT, SAT II, and PSAT tests at each school. Each year SYA brings around 60 juniors and seniors to each of its locations around the world.

For more information, please visit the School Year Abroad website:


While Princeton Day School officially endorses all of the above programs, students may ask the school to consider other programs, as well. Decisions will be made on an individual basis, with special consideration given to programs endorsed by the Council of Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET), an accrediting body to which PDS belongs.

Such applications will be acted upon as either an exchange program or (where more appropriate) as an independent project. All programs must be inclusive in scope, open to any member of the Upper School. While PDS tuition may be waived for students participating in all long-term programs, a limited number of students can receive such financial consideration at one time; such decisions will be made by PDS on a first-come/first-served basis.

International Travel Programs

Princeton Day School’s international travel programs are intentionally and deliberately designed to provide our students with the knowledge, skills, and values required in becoming global citizens. Student trips are directly linked to our curriculum and institutional priorities. As a result, they extend and reinforce our curricular work and initiatives by serving as real-world laboratories for concepts and ideas learned within the walls of the school. As we step out into the global classroom, we are dedicated to maximizing our students’ learning and bringing the elements of global citizenship to life through meaningful experiences, active engagement, and authentic interaction with the host culture.

Over the past several years, PDS has offered many opportunities for students to travel abroad and immerse themselves in foreign cultures over spring break. Students in grades 8-12 have reaped the benefits of traveling to international destinations including:

  • Italy
  • France
  • The United Kingdom
  • Russia
  • China
  • India

Travel Safety Links:

Traveler's Health at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Travel Information at the U.S. Dept. of State

Student Blogs:



Contact the Global Studies Coordinators:

If you are interested in learning more about Global Studies and International Travel at PDS, please reach out to the two new coordinators: Lauren Gleeson ( and Erik Hove(

Head of School Paul Stellato announced that two long-serving members of the Princeton Day School community will take on new roles this year. Third Grade teacher Margie Gibson '84, who was previously the Lower School Community Service Coordinator, will now take on the newly created role of Director of Service Learning, overseeing community service and service learning in all three divisions. In the Admission Office, Jeanne Crowell, who has served many roles in the office, most recently as Assistant Director of Admission for grades PreK-8, has now been appointed Associate Director of Admission. Please click the headline to read more.

[ ... ] about Two New Roles in Service Learning and Admission