BOZEMAN — Back-to-school time is around the corner, but not every student is heading back into the classroom.
The Traveling School is in its seventeenth year of taking high school girls abroad for an entire semester.
The 15-week program takes these young women out of the traditional classroom.
“High school is that interesting time where they’re defining who they are and trying to figure out what they enjoy, so this school really brings academics out into life. Everything is experiential and place based," Traveling School Academic Dean and Program Director Aung Thomas said.
The Traveling School takes students from all across the United States and even some international students to southern Africa in the fall, and for the spring semester they travel to South America. These students are learning much different things abroad than in the United States classroom.
“We will be in a campground where elephants are right there so it will be based on observing elephants and recording our findings. It also changes; sometimes we are sitting out on the salt flats and we’re learning about the geography of how those formed and its really cool. We get to connect what we’re learning with where we are and understand these principles in ways that it's applicable and interesting and engaging for the students," Traveling School Teacher Allie Mack said.
And the students who return from these trips are seeing the true meaning of education.
“I think I just started to appreciate deeper learning and deeper understanding and deeper thinking of things. Our public education system, we don’t really go deep into thought; we are just memorizing things, but our school, there we are applying it so it actually meant something," 17-year-old Traveling School Alumnus and Bozeman High student Harley Emmons said.
Tuition for the Traveling School program is close to $30,000.