GIS Prep 2019

This year our community embraced a philosophy of stewardship that expands our commitment to a “sense of place”. As our community embarks on Spring Break, the reality of our 2019 Global Immersion Studies trips’ departures sets in. We took this time of anticipation to sit down with Margi, our Director of Global and Outdoor Education to hear more about how stewardship applies to Global Immersion Studies (GIS).

Margi explained, “Because human beings have a moral responsibility for the care of the natural world and the human-created environment, the idea can be summarized simply: Care for people and land; then strengthen the relationships between them. This carries with it an expansive expectation that as members of the Steamboat Mountain School community, we have a responsibility for how we live, no matter where we are.” Our GIS trips typically include a service element and this year we will be setting a school record for most service days spent on a trip. The seniors, headed to Tanzania, will use 16 of their 23 days to give back to local communities. Margi, who will be on the Tanzania trip with the seniors, says she hopes students will gain a greater sense of gratitude from this trip.

The freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors have been preparing for the GIS trip from the start of the school year before they knew what countries they’d be visiting. What sets Steamboat Mountain School’s GIS program apart from other study abroad programs is that our students and faculty have been working together, learning from each other, and traveling in similar groups from the start of our school year. Preparing for GIS is not just about booking flights and safaris. Preparing for GIS is about building trust in a group, asking essential questions that require a deep look into the culture, and shared experiences. Desert Week, hiking fourteeners, classroom time, weekend ice climbing trips, and community service are chances for students to grow their emotional intelligence, physical capacity, and mental experiences. These shared experiences also offer time for students to explore with their peers, to be put into unfamiliar situations (e.g. repelling into a canyon), and to be exposed to the elements (this year’s Desert Week brought days of torrential downpour). Margi says, “By the time students leave for their GIS trips they are prepared to build knowledge rather than just experience things.”

Stay tuned for bi-weekly blog posts, right here, on our students’ Global Immersion Studies. Bon Voyage, Penguins!