Lipscomb Academy to offer global learning travel courses for high school credit
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After almost a decade of continued growth in providing global experiences for its students, Lipscomb Academy is taking significant steps this year to offer students new global opportunities for academic credit: a three-week study abroad course in Florence, Italy, and a 10-day travel course to Shenzhen, China.
“Global experiences have been important to us for a long time at the academy,” said Jesse Savage, dean of academics, who oversees the academy’s global learning program. “In the last six years, we have gone from one mission trip a year with about a dozen students participating to eight trips with about about 100 students involved, approaching about 25 percent of our high school student body.”
In addition, the foreign language department has taken students on language and cultural experience trips each year for the past decade in locales such as Canada, France, Puerto Rico, Peru, Italy and Costa Rica, Savage said.
This summer, the academy is capitalizing on two relationships to expand their global programs further. Building on its relationship with Lipscomb University’s Global Learning program, the academy will send 13 students to Florence for three weeks in July to earn academic credits in Bible; humanities, arts or science; and world focus, Savage said. Students will stay at the Lipscomb-owned villa in Florence and will visit other cities, including Rome, Pisa, Venice and Cinque Terre.
Also this summer, the academy will expand a sister school relationship with Haiwang School in Shenzhen, China, by sending three students to Hong Kong and Shenzhen for 10 days, where they will study to earn academic credit in world focus.
“We are taking a big step with two new academic travel courses in one year in addition to 10 to 20 students travelling to Costa Rica this summer for language and culture experiences,” said Savage. “Plus, we have a lot of other students traveling or serving abroad this spring and summer.
“We want to prepare our students for the world they are walking into, which is much smaller than it used to be,” he said. “Whether it is through missions, serving or their future jobs, the likelihood our students will find themselves in an entirely different culture during their lifetime is highly likely.”
In addition, recruiters for highly competitive universities value students’ global experiences and global course studies, he said.
“More and more colleges are offering or requiring study abroad programs, and as a college preparatory school, we want to give students a taste of what that will be like.”
The three-week Florence travel course is the longest trip the academy has coordinated. During the time they are there, and throughout the rest of the summer, students will complete three courses: a Bible course, Faith and Culture: Renaissance Italy in Modern America, within which they can choose an emphasis on the humanities, arts or STEM, and Global Perspectives.
Because of Lipscomb University’s villa in Italy, with an on-site full-time resident director, and the university’s expertise in areas such as travel insurance, how faculty should lead a trip and how to travel economically, “We are able to offer a longer-term study abroad experience unlike any of the travel courses other schools in the city can do,” said Savage.
“We seek to inspire curiosity about the world and to challenge students to improve their global community,” he said. “This longer-term model of global learning has the potential to grow students’ global competencies in ways far superior to that which a classroom or short trip could do. We aspire to make students global change-leaders.”
On the China travel course in late May, the Haiwang School students will host lessons in Chinese calligraphy, painting, martial arts, cuisine and badminton in a course called Modern China: History, Culture and Global Impact. Students will tour businesses and volunteer at an orphanage as well as experiencing immersion in the Chinese culture.
As part of the sister school relationship, Haiwang students have visited Nashville and attended Lipscomb’s Summer Experience camps in the past, as well as hosting several Lipscomb administrators to visit the Chinese school last summer. Two Haiwang students are currently enrolled at Lipscomb Academy.
“We have 14 students enrolled who are living away from their families in other countries, and we want to grow that number,” Savage said. “They are sitting in classrooms with their American classmates, adding to the diversity of perspective. We are actively looking to grow our connections to the outside world.
“Long-term, I would love to see a Lipscomb Academy where every single student has an opportunity to study abroad. I would like to see a future where global experience is just part of the standard Lipscomb experience.”