International Studies

At GCDS, learning beyond borders starts with our youngest students and grows in richness each year. Through language study, history, travel, and the arts, their eager minds traverse the globe.

World Languages

As one alum who is now a doctor recalls, "One of the more tangible skills that I can directly link back to Country Day is learning Spanish. Many of our patients speak Spanish, and everyone is always so excited when they hear how well I speak it."

  • Students begin learning Spanish in kindergarten.
  • In grade 6, students can choose between Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Latin, and French.
  • In grade 9, students can apply to take an additional world language class.

History & Geography

History studies at GCDS are designed to prepare students to be well-informed, curious, open-minded global citizens with the foundations for future success in leadership, business, and life in today's interconnected world.

At GCDS, American history is taught with an understanding of global connections and an awareness of cultures such as the Inuit and the Eastern Woodland Native Americans whose societies were established in North America before the founding of the USA.

History and social studies courses with a global focus include:

  • First grade social studies focuses on maps, map skills, and our local and global community.
  • In fourth grade students study the geography, people, and culture of Ghana, Tunisia, Kenya, Madagascar, South Africa, Mexico, China, and Japan.
  • Sixth grade social studies explores the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome.
  • Seventh grade history examines the European Middle Ages, including political, military, and cultural interactions with what is today the Middle East.
  • Ninth grade history studies major topics in modern world history ranging from political revolutions in Latin America to the Boxer Rebellion in China to the formation of the United Nations.

Connections Assemblies and Eat Around the World

Cultural events, guest speakers, and performances bring the world to GCDS, and Eat Around the World introduces children to cuisines from the Philippines to India, Japan to Brazil.

International Trips

International travel has been part of the DNA of the Upper School for over 25 years, and in the past ten years the number of offerings has expanded to include five annual trips.

  • Language immersion trips to Spain, France, and Italy offer Upper Schoolers an opportunity to deepen cultural knowledge and linguistic skills.
  • The China trip offers ninth graders and their families a chance to be part of a 10-day, eye-opening exploration of this important country's past and present.
  • This year, students will also have the opportunity to go on a new trip to Costa Rica.

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Exchange Students

Each year, exchange students are enthusiastically welcomed to our ninth grade class. Few things are as powerful in breaking down barriers and transforming misconceptions about other cultures as having a good friend and classmate who comes from Spain, China, Germany, or Afghanistan. It is a wonderful opportunity both for the students who join us and for our Upper Schoolers who get to know them.


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