Travel Programs

Traveling to other countries embodies the mission of Thayer Academy, as it enriches the educational experience for all who participate. Along with a fresh outlook on their own education, students report a marked growth in self-confidence, an overall increase in sophistication, and a degree of language acquisition far exceeding what is possible in the classroom alone. Further value accrues to the larger Thayer community when we welcome onto our campus and into our homes students and faculty from Thayer Academy’s sister schools.

Upper School Programs

Exchange Programs

The need for true global citizenship is more important than ever. For many, the first chance to sample cultural differences comes through a student exchange program. To that end, Thayer has cultivated a rich set of sister-school exchanges, some of which grow out of our foreign language instruction. In this way, the Academy and its students develop long-term relationships with schools and students in other countries. These programs include visits to Thayer by foreign students. If you and your family are interested in hosting one of our guests from abroad, please contact Darah Smoot Harper ( / 781.664.2213).

Wei Yu High School - Shanghai, China
  • Offered every year in May. Students from China visit Thayer in the fall.
  • Faculty Contacts: Darah Smoot Harper, Director of International Exchange Programs ( / 781.664.2213) and Jenn Welch, Upper School Diversity Coordinator/Associate Director of Admission ( / 781.664.2219)


This sister-school program operates as a Senior Project. Students spend several days in Beijing seeing the jewels of the capital city, including the Forbidden city, the Olympic site, a bicycle excursion along an elevated wall, and a day trip to the Great Wall of China. Then, we travel to the city of Xi’An, in Shaanxi Province, to view the clay soldier army of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang. From there, the group travels to the ancient (and ultra-modern) city of Shanghai before the return trip to Boston.

Northampton School for Boys - Northampton, England
  • Offered every year in June. Students from England usually visit Thayer in October.
  • Faculty Contact: Darah Smoot Harper, Director of International Exchange Programs ( / 781.664.2213)


This program, in existence for twenty-one years, has provided many benefits to students, families, and faculty from both schools. Besides the cultural experience of the actual exchange, there have been internship exchanges for British students here at Thayer, and there is the possibility of Thayer students’ doing Senior Projects in Northampton. Numerous relationships from past years have endured, with Thayer families going to visit the families of students they had hosted several years previously.

Our trip to England this year takes place right after Commencement in June. Four days in London will introduce students to one of the major capitals of the world and will include shopping, visits to art and historical museums, Buckingham Palace, and three nights of London theatre.

Our eight days in Northampton will include visiting the Northampton School for Boys and many of the wonderful cultural sites within an hour’s drive of the town. Those visits include Oxford or Cambridge, Stratford-on-Avon, various castles, the Whipsnade Animal Park, and the late Lady Diana Spencer’s estate. Also, of course, staying with a British family is a highlight of our time in Northampton.

Lycée Stanislas - Cannes, France


This Senior Project trip offers an intensive immersion program of excursions, classes, and homestay aimed at providing students with an appreciation of French culture, language, and history. This extension of our French language courses begins with a nine-day homestay and sojourn in Provence and the French Riviera. The homestay takes place in Cannes during the famed Cannes Film festival and promises enrichment opportunities both personal and educational. The first leg of the trip is followed by a five-day exploration of Paris visiting many of the treasures of the City of Light and a day trip to Versailles.

Note: All participants in this program must also meet the requirements of a complementary Senior Project during the two weeks prior to traveling. Students are urged to make this part of the senior project community service-oriented.

CHIREC School - Hyderabad, India
  • Offered every year in December/January. Students from India usually visit Thayer in the spring.
  • Open to all Upper School students.
  • Faculty Contact: Darah Smoot Harper, Director of International Exchange Programs ( / 781.664.2213)


This sister-school program has been in existence for over seven years and provides students an experience with the world’s second most populous nation and tenth-largest economy. The CHIREC School is located in Hyderabad, India, the country’s second-leading technology center. The trip includes a homestay with Indian families and excursions to Agra, to view the Taj Mahal, and Delhi, one of the world’s great capitals.

Spain - Madrid, Toledo, the Galicia region in the city of Vigo
  • Offered every other year in June. Students from Galicia visit Thayer for 4 weeks in the summer, typically from end of June to end of July.
  • Open to all Upper School students who have completed 2 years of a language.
  • Faculty Contacts: Marc Rando, Foreign Language Department Head ( / 781.664.2283)


This 12-day trip includes tours of Madrid, Toledo, and Salamanca. Students homestay for 5-6 days in Galicia. In Madrid, students see the great Spanish masterpieces in the Museo del Prado, visit the most important bullfighting venue, and see the home of soccer giant Real Madrid. In Toledo, we take a trip back in time as we visit a city begun by the Romans and influenced by Christian, Jewish and Muslim presence since the Middle Ages. Salamanca, home to one of Europe's oldest and most prestigious universities, serves as our midway point in the trip to Vigo, where students will spend time with families in a homestay.

Travel Programs with a Service Component

Peru - Cusco & Ollantaytambo
  • Offered every year in May as a Senior Project opportunity.
  • Open to all seniors.
  • Faculty Contact: Jake Diamond, Upper School Spanish Teacher ( / 781.664.2212)


Students do extensive pre-travel research and participate in discussions to learn about Peruvian history and culture, focusing on the Incan civilization and Andean culture. Upon arrival in Cusco, we volunteer in an orphanage, tour ancient Incan sites and explore this beautiful colonial city in the Andes. We live in a large guest house with our host family near the center. After five days we go to the small town of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, live with local families and do agricultural service. We experience traditional life in rural Peru. We then hike the Inka Trail and visit Machu Picchu.

This two-week trip is open to 12 seniors and takes place during Senior Project Month in May and early June. Should more than 12 students apply, a committee made up of the Spanish Department and the Administration will review the applications and finalize the group.

Students Shoulder-to-Shoulder - Various Destinations
  • Offered every summer.
  • Domestic travel programs open to 8th graders; domestic and international programs open to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors.
  • Faculty Contact: Erica Archabal ( / 781.664.2202)


Since February 2014, Thayer has maintained a rewarding alliance with Students Shoulder-to-Shoulder (SStS), a non-profit organization promoting experiential learning, service, ethical leadership, and global citizenship. Since the summer of 2014, over 20 Thayer students have traveled with SStS to such foreign destinations as Bolivia, Nicaragua, Kenya, and Cambodia; and to domestic locations such as Detroit, New Orleans, and South Dakota's Pine Ridge Reservation. Over that time, two Thayer faculty have served as trip counselors. All involved have reported tremendous excitement about these SStS offerings and profound and lasting impressions left by the experiences. In the coming years, we hope to see continued Thayer participation in the broad array of programs offered by SStS.

As envisioned, our relationship with Students Shoulder-to-Shoulder has demonstrated value on a number of fronts. Among other things, this program...

  • Complements Thayer's mission as we seek to inspire our students toward excellence, achievement, and contributions “to the common good”
  • Offers Thayer students access to a set of truly intriguing and unique travel experiences
  • Encourages an ethos of global citizenship that will augment our current Learning-Through-Travel efforts
  • Provides valuable professional development opportunities for Thayer faculty members, more of whom we hope will become SStS course instructors
  • Corresponds fittingly with our Global Scholars Program, which has been so well-received by so many elements of the Thayer community

Our membership in the Global Schools Coalition assures one spot for a Thayer student on each of the SStS trips. Those spots are held until February 15, after which student applications from non-member schools are considered. A limited amount of financial assistance is available. To apply for aid, please email Mr. Koskores ( and share, in one paragraph, why you want to participate in this program.

The Dominican Republic
  • Offered every other year in March.
  • Open to Upper School students studying Spanish.
  • Faculty Contact: Gloria Blanco, Upper School Spanish Teacher ( / 781.664.2321)


This service and learning trip to the Dominican Republic includes service work, a Spanish language course and exploring the beauty of the island. Thayer currently partners with IIC (Institute Intercultural del Caribe) and Project Esperanza to achieve our goals of having a meaningful week in a Caribbean Spanish-speaking country. Students perfect their Spanish in interactions with the children and through the experience of daily living with Dominican families.

Study Abroad Programs

Artists in Residence - Cortona, Italy


The goals of this program are to enable student artists to study and appreciate some of the world's greatest works of art and to nurture their own talents with field and studio work under the close supervision of both Thayer Academy faculty and Italian instructors. This experience complements Thayer's painting & drawing curriculum for art students.

The Ancient World - Greece
  • Offered every year in May as a Senior Project opportunity.
  • Open to all seniors.
  • Faculty Contact: Callie Schneider, Upper School Latin Teacher ( / 781.664.2233)


Seniors who have taken Latin or who have an interest in archaeology, art, history, or architecture of the ancient world are eligible for this Senior Project trip. The trip length is approximately 12 days and takes place during the Senior Project period.

  • Explore modern cities and villages in Athens, Cape Sounion, Nafplio, Olympia, Delphi, and Zakynthos Island

  • Visit current excavations and talk with real archaeologists as they work in the field (Corinth Excavations and the Agora in Athens)
  • Stand in the shadow the Acropolis, walk in the footsteps of Plato, Pericles, and Hercules, and gaze upon some of the most remarkable works of Greek art
  • Sample Itinerary

Middle School Programs

La Culture Québécoise
  • Offered every other year in June.
  • Open to rising 8th and 9th grade students of French.
  • Faculty Contact: Angela Toussaint, Middle School Foreign Language Department Head ( / 781.664.2320)


Mme Toussaint invites you to explore the fascinating history and culture of Québec, one of the most “European” cities in North America.

This linguistic and cultural excursion will be chaperoned by Mme Toussaint, and her husband, Thayer sixth grade teacher Jeff Toussaint. The city of Québec is the center of French culture in Canada, and the Old City, inside the walls pictured above, is reminiscent of villages all over France. Although there is no homestay element to this program, business and everyday conversation are conducted almost exclusively in French, which gives our students a chance to hear French spoken in the daily lives of everyday Canadian citizens. This trip will provide an authentic language experience for our middle school French students.

Sample Itinerary

For More Information

To learn more about Thayer Academy's travel programs, please contact:

Darah Smoot Harper
Upper School French Teacher and Director of International Exchange Programs


"I’m an adventurous person and I love to travel, and Thayer’s had a big part in that. When I graduate, I will have gone on three trips through Thayer: the Dominican Republic, Spain, and China." - Regan O'Donnell '16

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