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, 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.



Purpose Statement

The TASIS Academic Travel Program uses the natural and cultural setting of Europe to provide opportunities for experiential education to expand minds, build character, and create community within our student body. BLUE trips help students make sense of classroom learning and its pertinence in the real world, GREEN trips encourage students to appreciate the beauty of the natural world by participating in activities that push them out of their comfort zone, and WHITE trips give students the opportunity to appreciate and enjoy a quintessential Swiss mountain experience while building community.





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


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 Brief History of TASIS Ski Week

Mariaurora Rosso ’24

Mariaurora Rosso ’24 traces the evolution of TASIS ski trips from the days where Founder M. Crist Fleming would take the entire school to Andermatt for two weeks of studying and skiing all the way to the present-day model that includes major trips to Engelberg and Davos along with additional opportunities for students who wish to spend considerably more time on the Swiss peaks.

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 Swiss Experience

The Swiss Experience travel program introduces students to experiential learning through exploring the cities, villages, and rural landscapes of Switzerland. Age-appropriate destinations and team-building activities challenge students to step outside their comfort zones as they learn about themselves. The Program is designed to teach and practice the skills required to successfully engage in high school Academic Travel and Global Service Program trips. Through character-building cultural and athletic activities, the Program encourages students to expand their minds, appreciate beauty, and rely on each other, resulting in a stronger Middle School community.





More Academic Travel Stories

A Brief History of TASIS Ski Week

Mariaurora Rosso ’24 traces the evolution of TASIS ski trips from the days where Founder M. Crist Fleming would take the entire school to Andermatt for two weeks of studying and skiing all the way to the present-day model that includes major trips to Engelberg and Davos along with additional opportunities for students who wish to spend considerably more time on the Swiss peaks.

Read More about A Brief History of TASIS Ski Week
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