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Open to the World - Intersession

We are each an essential part of the world. That’s why we impart an international perspective and teach diverse ideas at St. Mary’s School. Students here step outside of their familiar experience so that they might see through the eyes of others. That’s not a question of standing aside from the place and culture in which you were raised, but of gaining the perspective that allows you to appreciate who you are, who you will become and why. Our curriculum is uniquely suited to developing internationally-minded people who recognize their common humanity and joint guardianship of our shared planet. Our goals are aspirational. At St. Mary’s School, success is found hand-in-hand with the growing world, in partnership with teachers, our peers, our families and the community. Together, we are joined in pursuit of a common, better future. 


St. Mary's is proud to offer Intersession, a week-long opportunity for Middle School students to extend their learning beyond the traditional classroom. Students are offered a wide variety of activities, some of which take students far from Orange County, while others keep students close to home. Intersession is a natural fit in the St. Mary's student-centered approach, and it encourages students to interact with their world, collaborate with peers, teachers and community partners, to experience personal growth.

International Field Studies

As an IB World School, St. Mary’s is always looking for opportunities to apply the concepts taught in classrooms to the world outside of our campus. Our International Field Studies, near and far, provide hands-on, extraordinary experiences for our students to gain greater awareness of other communities, cultures and themselves and the interdependence that binds us all together.

List of 4 items.

  • Italy Exchange and Trip

    Applicants: Students in Grades 6-8

    St. Mary’s partners with the International School of Milan (ISM) to provide an exchange program for both of our schools. ISM, a Kindergarten - Grade 12 World School, is the largest international school in Italy; and this dynamic exchange program helps to develop internationally-minded attitudes, experience new perspectives, gain in-depth knowledge of Italian culture, and create friendships and memories that last a lifetime. This unique partnership offers St. Mary’s families the opportunity to host an ISM student in their homes.
    In spring, our students journey to Milan where they reconnect with ISM students while staying in host family homes and attending ISM. During their travels, our students will tour Rome, Florence, Venice and Pisa and explore Ancient Roman, Medieval, and Renaissance historical sites, experience the great art and architecture found there, and embrace the wonderful culture, cuisine and customs of the area. The tour is inspired by and supports our Middle School history curriculum.

  • Costa Rica

    Applicants: Grades 6-8

    The Costa Rica Field Study is an irreplaceable opportunity for students to immerse themselves in the language, culture, green lifestyle, and the positive mentality of this wonderful Spanish-speaking country. With the rainforest, countless rivers, and vast flora and fauna in the background, our students will take part in daily activities aimed at expanding their knowledge, personal experiences and understanding of the world. We will explore, discover, learn, build relationships, and engage in meaningful and sustainable service. At the core of this field study, is the collaboration and partnership that we have with the Monte Sion School, which is located in the Cabecar indigenous region. Here, our group will work hand-in-hand with members of the Monte Sion community to make improvements to their school. Our travels take us from Rancho Margot, nestled between rain and cloud forests in a UNESCO biosphere reserve at the foot of the Arenal Volcano, to Puerto Viejo and the Gandoca Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge in the Caribbean Sea. Throughout our journey, we meet local and global leaders and visionaries who deeply care for the protection of the environment and inspire us to make the world a better place to live in. All of this while having the time of our lives. ¡Pura Vida!
  • France

    Applicants: Grade 6 – 8 Students

    This field study provides an enriching experience into the history and culture of France. Students embark on a journey throughout Paris’ famous landmarks: The Louvre, Champs Élysées, Arc de Triumph, Notre Dame Cathedral and Eiffel Tower. A visit to The Chateau de Versailles, Monet’s gardens in Giverny, and a trip to the countryside and Normandy, will offer unique historical perspectives on the experiences of WWII soldiers. We will visit “D-Day” beaches, the Memorial Museum the American Military Cemetery and pause to pay our respect to fallen soldiers. The south of France and Monaco are also part of our itinerary. Students experience all the beauty France has to offer: the language, the picturesque scenery, and the famous French cuisine, while walking in the footsteps of Louis XIV, Napoleon and Victor Hugo. C’est la vie!
  • Galápagos Islands

    Applicants: Grades 6-8

    In 1859 Charles Darwin introduced the world to the theory of evolution--and the Galápagos Islands. His descriptions of the unique flora and fauna found on this remote archipelago made it an instant mainstay in the world’s imagination. Located 600 miles off
    the coast of Ecuador, Galápagos were named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, and it's easy to see why. During this trip students will visit the natural habitat of the Galápagos tortoise; see colonies of sea lions, marine turtles, blue-footed boobies, and frigate birds up close in the wild; enjoy snorkeling, and see sharks, eagle and golden rays, as well as dozens of species of tropical fish, clams, starfish and marine invertebrates; participate in a field-to-plate cooking class; visit the Pululahua Volcano and take in the streets and markets of Quito, Ecuador’s capital city.