The American School in SwitzerlandThe American School in Switzerland

Academic Travel Program

TASIS pioneered the concept of Academic Travel in 1956. Our students have been exploring Europe ever since.

Despite the many challenges the pandemic has imposed upon travel in the past year and a half, we remain committed to our signature Academic Travel Program, a central pillar of our mission and the TASIS experience. 
 
Committed to academic excellence and character development, we have made our natural and cultural setting in Europe our classroom. Our new Academic Travel model aims to provide both greater agency and individualization for each student and a balance of learning experiences across cultural, natural, and winter domains. We were also thrilled to enhance our travel portfolio by becoming a licensed Independent Award Center for the world-renowned Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award in the fall of 2021.

Review the sections below to learn about our High School’s Blue, Green, and White concept and our Middle School travel program, and click here to learn about our role in delivering the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award.

 

 

The Blue, Green, and White Concept

All High School students are required to go on at least one Blue (cultural), Green (mountain/outdoor education), and White (skiing/snowboarding) trip each year. More details about each type of trip can be found below.

Blue Trips

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue trips are cultural trips that are directly related to classroom learning. Examples of trips taken in recent years that would fall into the Blue category include the following:

  • Science students traveling to Zurich to study biology, to the Azores to study environmental science, or to the world-famous European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) to study physics

  • Modern Language students studying German in Heidelberg or Berlin, Italian in Sicily, French in Lausanne, and Spanish in Salamanca.

  • Honors English Literature students traveling as a class to Florence to visit the homeland of Dante in grade 10

  • Modern History students visiting Florence, Art History students visiting Rome, Munich or Vienna, Ancient and Medieval History students visiting Rome, Athens, AP US History students visiting Normandy, and AP European History students visiting Poland

  • Visual Arts students studying photography in Venice or drawing/painting in Granada or Lucca 

  • Performing Arts students attending a theater cast retreat in Italy or performing arts workshops in Prague or Berlin

  • 11th-grade students traveling to London, Milan, Geneva, and other destinations around Europe to visit universities with the College Counseling team

Academic Travel Director Natalie Philpot is constantly looking for opportunities to add new trips, and there is always the possibility that travel plans will need to be adjusted due to the pandemic or other external factors, but below is the list of Blue trips we intend to offer during the 2021–2022 academic year.

2021–2022 Blue Trips
  • Florence for Modern History/IB European History/10th-grade Honors Literature students

  • Zurich for Computer Science students

  • Venice for Visual Arts students

  • Heidelberg, Lausanne, or Bologna for students studying German, French, or Italian

  • Liguria for Environmental Systems students

  • CERN for AP/IB II Physics students

  • Geneva for IB Economics students

  • Munich for AP/IB Art History students

  • Basel for Architecture & Design students

  • Turin and Rome for Ancient & Medieval History students 

  • Leysin for Varsity Volleyball team members

Virtue, Knowledge, and Poetry

BY ALEXIA DOCHNAL ’22

Our Honors World Literature class had the unique opportunity to take an Academic Travel trip to Florence to learn about Dante, further our knowledge of his work, and bond as a group while touring this magical city under the guidance of Dr. Love.

Read the article

Green Trips

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green trips focus on mountain/outdoor education. Taking advantage of our proximity to the breathtaking Alps, they are offered in signature locations within Switzerland or in neighboring countries.

The primary goals of Green trips are to ensure that students gain a level of comfort in the outdoors, learn to respect their surrounding environment and enjoy traditional Swiss alpine experiences, and have an opportunity to learn specific outdoor skill sets, including camping, building a fire, orienteering, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, mountain climbing/rappelling, and more.

Examples of trips taken in recent years that would fall into the Green category include Outward Bound in Austria/Germany and Swiss Adventure in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

2021–2022 Green Trips

Green trips that we intend to offer in 2021–2022 include the following:

  • Hike and overnight stay in a mountain hut for all boarding students

  • Camping in Interlaken

  • Camping in the Dolomites

  • Outward Bound in Baad, Austria

  • Canyoning/Kayaking in Ticino

  • Hiking in Cinque Terre

  • Walking the Via Francigena Camino in Tuscany

  • Sailing in Sardinia

  • Duke of Edinburgh Adventurous Journey

Outward Bound an integral piece of a TASIS education

Read a detailed account of a trip from two chaperones and hear alumni reflect on how Outward Bound changed them.

Read the article

White Trips

 

 

 

 

 

 

White trips are centered around downhill skiing and snowboarding, with students also having the opportunity to try cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skating, and sledding.

TASIS students have been skiing and snowboarding on beautiful Swiss peaks since the School was founded in 1956, and that tradition continues to be an important component of a TASIS education. Day trips to local mountains are offered frequently throughout the winter, and students looking for more time on the mountain have ample opportunity to attend both weekend and four-day trips in world-class locations such as Davos and Engelberg.

A Closer Look at Ski Adventure

By Joy Mack '21

Joy Mack '21 penned a journal-style account of the seven days she and her classmates spent skiing and snowboarding in beautiful Crans-Montana, Switzerland.

Read the article

The Mechanics of High School Academic Travel

In September, all High School students log into Veracross—our Student Information System—and register their interest for the various trips they’d like to go on throughout the year. Space permitting, students are allowed to sign up for more than the three trips (one blue, one green, and one white) they are required to attend.

In addition to the major trips offered during extended weekends each November and February, our faculty members offer many exciting activities throughout the surrounding area as part of our robust Weekend Activities Program for boarding students. (Examples include exploring the Bellinzona castles, hiking Monte San Salvatore, visiting Valle Verzasca, trekking through Valle Maggia, stand-up paddleboarding on Lake Lugano, and much more.) Natalie Philpot also serves as Weekend Activities Coordinator and keeps students apprised of these opportunities through Veracross and our High School Daily Bulletin; parents are kept in the loop through our High School Weekly Bulletin. Ms. Philpot tracks registrations for all trips and works with partners at our trip destinations and each trip’s faculty chaperones to ensure that all logistics are covered.

An integral part of the curriculum, the core components of our Academic Travel Program are included within tuition fees. Boarding students can attend up to two blue trips, two green trips, and one white trip per year at no additional cost while day students can attend one blue trip, one green trip, and one white trip per year at no additional cost.

Middle School Academic Travel

The Middle School Academic Travel Program focuses on team building in beautiful outdoor settings within Switzerland.

This fall, all Middle School students (grades 6–8) will travel to either Gstaad or the Pays d'En Haut region for four days in early November to play sports and engage in team-building activities. In late February, all Middle School students will spend four days at the La Tzoumaz Resort in Verbier Valley. They will spend their time participating in a variety of winter sports and team-building activities.

As with the High School, there is always the possibility that adjustments will need to be made to these trips if conditions change within Switzerland.

 

 

 

 

More Academic Travel Stories

From Russia with Love

Todd Drummond '87, who was recently appointed Director of Assessment and Education Services at the American Councils for International Education, discusses how a 1985 TASIS trip to the Soviet Union altered the course of his life, examines the importance of educational experiences that promote cross-cultural understanding, and reflects upon why political discussions in the United States have become so acrimonious.

Read More about From Russia with Love