Upper School

“The World Perspectives Program equipped me with skills that serve me to this day. I am much more aware of a public speaker’s responsibility to engage his or her audience. I draw from the program’s help with formulating an argument each time I write a paper in college.”
Charlie Salmans, ’13, Political Science Major in The University of Chicago.

World perspectives are deeply embedded in the curricula of multiple departments. Students in 9th grade study cultural diversity through the Foundations of World History course. The 10th grade English course focuses on world literature. In 11th or 12th grade, all students take an introductory course on international relations and a select few write and present a global thesis at our annual World Perspectives Symposium.

In addition to international relations, all upper school students must take a course from a list of courses that incorporate world perspectives in the classroom. A few of those courses are offered through the Global Studies Department, while others are cross-listed with other departments. We encourage you to explore our course offerings to get a sense of way GFA exposes students to  critical global dilemmas of our modern world.

View Course Offerings

GFA also offers a range of off-campus study and travel options, and several clubs for students to develop their leadership skills.


Concentration in Global Studies

For students who are truly passionate and serious about global studies, GFA offers a Diploma with a Concentration in Global Studies, which can be earned by completing a second course from the approved global studies courses, taking a foreign language through Level 4, undertaking an international experiential learning trip or attending one of the approved off-campus study programs, and taking the Global Thesis course and presenting at the World Perspectives Symposium.


Off-campus Study

Each year, GFA offers qualified students the opportunity to apply to approved off-campus programs of study for a semester or a year. All programs provide rich, alternative learning experiences students could not otherwise experience at home. GFA works with programs such as The Island School, School Year Abroad, and The School for Ethics and Global Leadership. The school considers other programs on a case by case basis. Students who are interested in applying for any of these programs should contact Mr. Abel at wabel@gfacademy.org. To view more details about each program, click here.


Travel Programs

The school offers travel opportunities led by GFA faculty to supplement their curriculum through experiential learning, scientific research or leadership development. These programs provide students with a deeper understanding of a particular discipline and the opportunity to conduct original research in global studies, which they can present at the annual World Perspectives Symposium.

This year we are offering a Spanish language-immersion trip to Cost Rica, a Scientific Expedition to Peru, a trip to China, a science trip to Belize, and a trip to Rwanda. Please see detailed descriptions here.


Global Leadership

The World Perspectives Program helps students develop their leadership skills and global competencies by supporting a range of student-led clubs. Students take responsibility for running these clubs: they set annual goals, draw up plans of action, collaborate with each other to implement them, and continuously reflect on their experiences. They gain a deeper understanding of what it means to work with others to attain common goals and greater confidence in their ability to lead.

Global Student Leaders Summit

During spring break, a group of students travels to a foreign country to take part in an immersive tour and a two-day, problem-solving leadership conference, tackling significant global issues in places where they come to life. Students learn from experts such as Al Gore, Jane Goodall and Sir Ken Robinson. Guided by design thinking, U.S. and local students work together to create and present their own solutions to a specific global issue. This year’s conference will take place in Costa Rica and focus on addressing environmental sustainability. Next year’s conference will take place in Dubai and focus on the future of energy. Each summit helps empower students today to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Model United Nations (MUN)

Founded by students in 2009, this club has grown from 10 students who attended a single MUN conference in New York to a group of over 40 students who travel to multiple conferences per year, including the Harvard University MUN conference in Cambridge, the Georgetown University MUN conference in Washington D.C., and the Berlin MUN conference at the John F. Kennedy School in Berlin, Germany. Through these conferences, students develop their public speaking skills and their ability to network with students from all over the world.

International Youth Film Festival (IYFF)

The mission of the IYFF is to help emerging filmmakers from schools around the world reach the broadest audience possible and to generate international dialogue through film. Two students who have a deep passion for filmmaking and interest in world perspectives founded the festival in 2013. In its inaugural year, the festival attracted hundreds of submissions from filmmakers living in multiple countries, including Peru, Israel, Poland, Italy, and China. To learn more about the festival, visit www.iyfilm.org.

Entrepreneurship Club

A small group of four student entrepreneurs found the Entrepreneurship club in 2013 because they needed a space to dream up start-up ideas in the technology sector. With over 30 members today, the club has become a hub for students to exchange ideas, give each other feedback, and get inspired by interacting with guest speakers who are currently working as entrepreneurs.

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