It doesn’t matter where you are as long as you explore, ask questions, be curious, be adventurous — be a bit like Bilbo.

-Sydney, TGS Student

weXplore is what sets TGS apart from every other school. Rather than after school diversions or “field trips” tangential to the academic curriculum, weXplore places the unique people, sights, and events located in and around our host countries at the core of the students’ learning experience.

Lessons begun in the classroom come alive as students reflect, analyze, question, compare, and articulate their responses to a challenging series of workshops, cultural exchanges, museum tours, and nature expeditions. These trips, planned in coordination with the TGS faculty, cover every subject area in the curriculum, and are designed according to the latest pedagogical research about effective experiential learning. weXplore adventures also build teamwork and citizenship, as students depend on one another to solve problems and overcome obstacles.

You can follow our adventures on the TGS blog, where our students and teachers communicate their explorations with people all around the world.

weXplore Highlights

Term 15: Athens, Greece

During our term in Athens, Greece, our ninth and tenth graders brought Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey to life by embarking on a six-day sailing expedition inspired wholly by the destinations encountered in the book. The TGS Odyssey, as we called it, began in the reputed home of Odysseus: the port town of Lefkada. Here, we explored Lefkada’s vistas, forests, and beaches by bicycle while discussing themes from The Odyssey. Next, we sailed south to Ithaca, where we enjoyed a scenic mountain hike on our way up to Homer’s school. In the evening we paid a visit to Odysseus’ palace — the perfect spot for a literature lesson on Odysseus’ origins. The following day we set sail towards Ceffalonia, where we traded our 100-foot yacht for smaller rowboats. Huddled aboard these lightweight vessels, we rowed through crystal-clear, blue-green waters deep into the Melissani Caves, or as fans of The Odyssey might know them, ’the cave of nymphs.’ These lore-filled caves proved to be the perfect place for a science lesson on mineral formation, as the caves’ inner chamber is filled with impressive stalactites and stalagmites. That afternoon we downsized our vessels once again, this time opting for single-person kayaks. As we paddled up the Kefalonia coast, we had time to reflect on the events of our trip as we took in a breathtaking Greek sunset. Our final port of call was the island of Zakynthos, a locale mentioned in both The Illiad and The Odyssey. After an archaeology lesson focusing on Zakynthos’ roots in the Neolithic age, we set off to explore one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece: Navagio. This small, otherwise nondescript, cove has become a must-see destination for photographers due to the rusted-out shipwreck washed up on its otherwise pristine shore.


  • Global studies lessons at the Acropolis
  • Visit to the Parthenon
  • Lefkada bike tour
  • Rowboat through the Melissani Cave of the Nymphs
  • Guided walk through Homer’s School (Ithaca)
  • Odysseus Palace
  • Hike to Pelikata Hill
  • Kayaking along the Lixouri coastline
  • Byzantine Museum of Zakynthos
  • Navagio (shipwreck) beach
  • Archaelogical Museum of Delphi
  • Ruins of Delphi
  • Monastaries of Meteora
  • Food sampling at Kastraki Village
  • The Triumphal Arch of Galerius and Rotunda
  • Roman forum (Thessaloniki)
  • Churches of Acheiropoietos
  • Museum of Byzantine Culture
  • Monastery of Mega Spileo
  • Chemistry studies in the Dhirou Caves
  • Biology lessons in Monemvassia
  • Engineering lessons at the Corinth Canal
  • Vouraikos Gorge train trip
  • Diros Caves
  • Visits to Tripoli and Mystras
  • Sparta Olive Oil Museum
  • Sports lessons at the site of the ancient Olympics
  • TGS Olympic Games at Elafonisos
  • Architecture lessons at Nafplio
  • Rock climbing, horseback riding, and star gazing at Meteora
  • Scuba and snorkeling at Santorini
  • Santorini photo tour
  • Oia excursion
  • Catacombs of Milos
  • Mediterranean cooking lessons
  • Term 14: Costa Rica

    During our term in Costa Rica, our ninth and tenth graders traded their classrooms for thirty days living and learning in the rainforests, villages, and coasts that make up this ecological wonderland. Their adventure began high up in the trees of the Monteverde cloud forest, where they took in sweeping views of lush greenery and rainbows. We next moved on to La Fortuna, where they gained a feel for the natural world surrounding them through hikes, horseback riding, and a visit to a cheese farm. We next headed to the El Zota Biological Field Station, which spans 2,400 acres of protected land and is one of the largest of its kind in Costa Rica. Here, we saw firsthand numerous endangered or threatened faunal species and marveled at the vast array of mammals, birds, and reptiles that inhabit the towering forests. We next strapped on life vests, cracked our knuckles, and white water rafted down the Pacuare River — considered by some to be one of the five best rafting rivers in the world. After drying off and letting our adrenaline run its course, we headed to La Amistad National Park, where we met with members of Costa Rica’s indigenous population and had the privilege to learn about their way of life. Our tour of Costa Rica concluded with a visit to Drake Bay, where we snorkeled, collected marine data, and swam with wild dolphins.


    • Ziplining in the Monteverde cloud forest
    • Volcanic hot springs at Arenal
    • Geological hiking and horseback riding in La Fortuna
    • Biology research and primate observation at El Zota Biological Field Station
    • Home stay and service learning in Orosi
    • Farm visit and cheese making
    • Dancing and cooking lessons
    • White-water rafting down the Pacuare River
    • Cultural discussions with the indigenous peoples of La Amistad National Park
    • Coffee brewing at a local finca
    • Scientific research at the Las Cruces Biological Station
    • Snorkeling and marine data collection at Drake Bay
    • History lessons at the Ruins of Ujarrás
    • Geology lessons at Arenal National Park

    Term 13: Auckland, New Zealand

    During our term in New Zealand, we spent two weeks exploring the North Island’s Bay of Plenty and Bay of Islands. Our time in the Bay of Plenty began with a visit to Hobbiton, where our students had the opportunity to snap selfies next to hobbit holes while learning about how the set was created. Our trip next moved deep underground into the stunning underworld of the Ruakuri Cave, where our students black water rafted under the watchful eyes of millions of tiny glowworms. We followed up this pulse-pounding activity with a visit to the No. 8 Farm, where our students learned about the importance of farming to New Zealand’s economy and residents. After shearing sheep and feeding deer, we headed off to White Island, New Zealand’s only live marine volcano, to witness science in action. Here our students had the perfect vantage point to watch as hot gases exploded up from the earth in spectacular fashion. Our students also had the opportunity to venture into the mighty Waipoua Forest and walk under the same stars that guided the Maori’s ancestor Kupe from legendary Hawaiiki to New Zealand. Finally, our students were welcomed into the breathtaking Hokiangi Harbour to learn the ancient Maori craft of bone carving.


    • A Maori feast at Aotearoa
    • Kuari Museum
    • Jim Taranaki’s bone carving studio
    • Twilight tour of the Waipoua Forest
    • Dune Ride up the Ninety Mile Beach
    • Science lessons at White Island
    • Black Water Rafting in the Ruakuri Cave
    • A guided tour of Hobbiton
    • No. 8 Farm Tour
    • Kayaking at Abel Tasman National Park
    • Christchurch
    • Hiking at. Mt. Somers
    • Jump rock rafting at Peel Forest
    • Mesopotamia Station
    • Abseiling on Andrews Stream
    • Sailing and indoor rock climbing in Auckland
    • Visit to the New Zealand Herald newsroom
    • Healthy eating discussion in Chef Jinu Abraham’s kitchen

    Term 12: Hiroshima, Japan

    During our term in Japan, we spent five days exploring the old capital of Kyoto — a city that has been left largely unscathed by the ravages of war. While here we had the opportunity to explore Nijo Castle, one of seventeen historic monuments in Kyoto that have been certified as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We also set sail on the Hozugawa River for a two hour scenery-laden boat ride. The ride concluded in the Arashiyama area, where we were able to visit the holy Tenryuji Temple and Sagano Bamboo Forest. Our time in Kyoto also included a chance to improve our cooking skills with the Women’s Association of Kyoto, who instructed us on the proper way to roll sushi. A trip to Gion Corner provided an insightful look into seven traditional performing arts, including Kyogen comedy, Kyomai dance, and Gagaku imperial court music. The highlight of the trip for some of our students was an hour spent taking afternoon tea with a maiko at Ochaya Tomikku, a traditional tea house in the Gion Geisha district. After we finished sipping tea, we visited the awe-inspiring Sanjūsangen-dō, a beautiful Buddhist temple containing 1,000 armed statues of Kannon. Finally, our visit to Kyoto culminated with a Samurai Kembu exhibition at the Otsu Traditional Performing Arts Center, where nimble swordsman demonstrated the samurai spirit with their blades.

    View the complete Japan photo gallery


    • Hiroshima Peace Park
    • Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
    • Hiroshima Castle
    • Itsukushima
    • The gardens at the Imperial Palace in Kyoto
    • Sagano Bamboo Forest
    • Tenryuji Temple
    • Fushimi Inari Shrine
    • Sanjūsangen-dō
    • Samurai Kembu exhibition at the Otsu Traditional Performing Arts Center
    • Tea with a maiko in Kyoto’s geisha district
    • Traditional cloth dyeing at Roketsuzome Yamamoto
    • Walked the pilgrimage routes of the Kumano Kodo
    • Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art
    • Tsukiji Fish Market
    • Yokohama’s Chinatown
    • Sumo wrestling in Tokyo
    • Student documentary filmmaking in Rikuzentakata
    • Weekend trips to Kobe, Osaka, Naoshima, and Nagasaki
    • Visit to the NHK television studios
    • Igloo building contest at Osorakan Park
    • Model United Nations in South Korea

    Term 11: Tanzania Intersession

    Our two-week intersession in Tanzania began with a day trip to the Materuni waterfalls, where we visited a local farm to learn about the importance of coffee to Tanzania’s economy before making the 30 minute hike to the falls themselves. Next, we spent four days aiding in the construction of a new school for local students, digging its foundation and ensuring that the children of Moshi would have a quality place in which to learn for years to come. Our trip also included a visit to the fertile Pare mountains, where we learned about the traditions and cultures of Tanzania’s indigenous population. After enjoying a tranquil night of camping at Lake Chala, we headed to Tarangire National Park for an authentic African safari, complete with lions, zebras, elephants, giraffes, and hippos. Our twelfth graders’ time in Tanzania included an incredible challenge, perhaps the most daunting undertaking of their high school career: climbing to the Uhuru peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

    View the complete Tanzania photo gallery


    • School construction in Moshi
    • Visit to a local orphanage
    • Hiking at Materuni Falls
    • Visit to Pare mountains for an exploration of Tanzania’s indigenous cultures
    • Coffee workshop at a local farm
    • Camping at Lake Chala
    • Safari at Tarangire National Park
    • Climb to Mt. Kilimanjaro’s Uhuru peak (12th grade only)

    Term 10: Hyderabad, India

    During our term in India, we left our host school in Hyderabad for eight lively days in the country’s northern and central regions. While in Amritsar, we witnessed the bravado and nationalism that accompanies the flag-lowering ceremony at the India-Pakistan border. Following a cramped and sweaty train ride, we descended upon Delhi, where we walked among the crumbling walls of the Old City and learned about its dying professions. A trip to Bhopal included a visit to the Sambhavna Clinic, where we came face-to-face with the grim realities stemming from the 1984 Dow Chemical disaster. Our time in the north also included a visit to the fortified city of Agra, where we marveled at the stunning architecture of the Taj Mahal.

    View the complete India photo gallery


    • Service learning at Kondikal village
    • Art exhibition at Icon Art Gallery
    • Hiking in Kashmir
    • Goa
    • Observed sacrifice during Eid al-adha
    • Wagah Border Ceremony
    • Golden Temple
    • Jallianwala Bagh
    • Dehli’s Old City
    • Gatka (Sikh martial art) demonstration
    • Taj Mahal
    • Qutb Minar
    • Humayun’s Tomb
    • Gandhi Smriti
    • Dehli Haat crafts market
    • Sanskriti pottery workshop
    • Fatehpur Sikri
    • Sanchi Buddhist stupas
    • Bharat Bhavan Cultural Center
    • Bhimbetka Caves
    • Indigenous studies at the Manav Sangralaya
    • Union Carbide factory and Sambhavna Clinic
    • Qutab Minar
    • Open-air bazaar in Shilparamam
    • Golconda Fort
    • Coconut boat rides in Hampi

    Term 9: Boston, United States

    During our term in The United States, we had the opportunity to spend five days in America’s capital city, Washington, D.C. While here, we brushed up on five centuries worth of news and journalism history at the massive Newseum. Our trip also included a visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, where we commiserated with Holocaust survivor Jacqueline Birn over the egregious atrocities committed by the Germans during World War II. A visit to the circular Hirshorn Museum to view Ai Weiwei’s “According to What?” exhibit gave us the opportunity to deepen our understanding of his political motives, which he skillfully expresses through his profound works of art. We crossed over the Potomac River for a visit to Virginia’s Arlington Cemetery. Here, in the form of stark white tombstones, we were provided a powerful reminder of those who have given their lives in the name of American freedom. Finally, we paid tribute to America’s founding fathers through visits to The Thomas Jefferson Memorial, The Lincoln Memorial and The Washington Monument.

    View the complete USA photo gallery


    Term 7: Bhutan Intersession

    During our term in Bhutan, we learned about the country’s innovative approach to planning the next stages of global development using the four pillars of Gross National Happiness as organizing principles. We visited massive fortress monasteries known as dzongs, including the Trashichodzong (Thimphu Dzong), where we studied its design with noted architect Karma Gelay. We explored Bhutan’s holy Buddhist temples known as lhakhangs, where we viewed sacred religious paintings that date back over 500 years. At Kurjey Lhakhang, we learned about Guru Rinpochhe, the founder of Tantric Buddhism who is regarded by many Bhutanese as the second Buddha himself. In Punakha, we took to river rafts to explore the spectacular landscapes that line the banks of the Puna Tsang Chhu (Punakha River). Here, we also searched for the extremely rare White-bellied Heron, of which there are less than 200 remaining. While on our way to visit the Taktsang Palphug (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, we flew over enormous Himalayan glaciers and met with esteemed glaciologist Karma Toeb. During a lecture, he warned of the consequences that global warming will inflict on the slowly diminishing bodies of ice. Finally, in Chuka we visited the Chukka Hydroelectric Project, where Druk Green’s Head of Operations Lam Dorji lectured us about the importance of environmental conservation, and laid out the steps that have been taken by the colossal dam project to ensure a minimal impact on its surrounding communities.

    View the complete Bhutan photo gallery


    • Takin Park and Zoo
    • Wandering the Thimphu Farmers’ Market
    • Lecture and Trashichodzong tour with architect Karma Gelay
    • Voluntary Artists Studio Thimphu (VAST)
    • Gangtey Monastery
    • Spotting the Black-necked Crane while hiking the Phobjikha Valley
    • A day at the Ugen Wangchuk Institute of Conservation & Environment
    • Tamshing Lhakkang temple
    • Traditional rural home in Bhuthang
    • Kurjey Lhakkhang temple complex
    • Tower of Trongsa and the Museum of Cultural Heritage
    • Interview with Trongsa governor Dshewang Rinzin at the Trongsa Dzong
    • River rafting in the Punakha Valley
    • Spotting one of the world’s rarest birds, the White-bellied Heron
    • Lecture on climate change with Glaciologist Karma Toeb
    • Chukkha Hydropower Project with speaker Lam Dorji
    • Takstang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest)

    Term 7: Buenos Aires, Argentina

    During our term in Argentina, we hopped on a plane and headed northeast to the Mesopotamian province of Misiones, Argentina. While here, science teacher Dan Garvey held a class covering water cycles and biodiversity at the majestic Iguazú Falls National Park, home to a series of over 275 raging waterfalls that are heralded as one of the seven natural wonders of the world. While in Misiones, we also paid a visit to the Indian reservation of Fortín M’bororé, where members of the indigenous Guarani population discussed with students the impact that globalization, tourism and the complications of the modern world are having on their way of life.

    View the complete Argentina photo gallery


  • Service learning in Magadalena
  • Rugby championship match between the Argentina Los Pumas and the New Zealand All Blacks
  • Latin American Art Museum of Latin America (MALBA)
  • Xul Solar Museum
  • Volunteering with the Banco Alimento Food Bank
  • El Monumental and La Boca soccer stadiums
  • Colonia Del Sacramento in Uruguay
  • ESMA Human Rights Museum and Parque de la Memoria
  • Casa Rosada presidential palace
  • Iguazú Falls National Park
  • Conservation issues with Argentina’s indigenous Guarani people
  • Ranch trip to Estancia La Candeleria
  • Recoleta Cemetery
  • Tango dancing at the Caminito Amigo tango hall

  • Term 6: Berlin, Germany

    During our term in Germany, we spent a week traversing across Europe for the first ever TGS Amazing Race: a five-day event consisting of a series of team-based challenges. While surrounded by Prague’s many golden spires, we scavenged for locks on the John Lennon Wall and belted out our best renditions of The Beatles “Let it be.” Here, we also undertook the challenge of locating Franz Kafka’s birthplace. After moving on to Budapest, we took a visit to Heroes’ Square and rode a funicular (cable car) up Castle Hill. In our dankest challenge, we headed underground to explore the complex system of labyrinths located beneath Buda Castle. Next, we boarded trains and made our way to Austria. While enraptured by the beautiful pathways, bridges and winding roads of Salzburg, we engaged in a series of Mozart-themed challenges. We also visited the Mirabell Palace Gardens, made famous by the film “The Sound of Music,” where students posed for pictures among the myriad of brightly-colored flowers. The end of the race took place at Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace, a former imperial summer home containing an astounding 1,441 rooms.

    View the complete Germany photo gallery


    Term 5: Chiang Mai, Thailand

    During our term in Thailand, we headed three hours north to the border of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos – an area better known by its nickname “The Golden Triangle.” Here, we visited Mae Salong, where we received an informative lecture by Peter Holmshaw on the importance of tea production to the region. Providing a stark contrast was our visit to the Opium Museum, where we learned the history of the poppy-based drug that has marred the region and caused rampant addiction throughout the world. Next, we motored up the muddy waters of the Mekong River for a brief look at neighboring Myanmar before docking at the island of Donsao in Laos. Back in Thailand, we stopped at Think Elephants International, where our students stood nose-to-trunk with 18 of these majestic beasts. Students were also treated to a discussion with the Head of Elephant Research, Joshua Plotnik, Ph.D and the Director of Elephants, John Roberts. The ride back to Chiang Mai concluded with a tour of Wat Rong Khun, also known as the “White Temple” due to the snow-white concrete used to construct it.

    View the complete Thailand photo gallery


    Term 4: Cuenca, Ecuador

    During our term in Ecuador, we spent two incredible weeks in the Galapagos Islands. Here, We made a full trip around the circle of life as we spotted finches and iguanas from our kayaks, snorkeled with sting rays and hammerhead sharks, practiced our Spanish at an Ecuadorean Quinceañera ceremony, and even watched a sea lion give birth. We also studied the ecological threats to the islands at a tortoise research facility, learned about the chemistry of taking out the trash at a composting and recycling center, read Darwin’s notebooks at the Charles Darwin Research Center, and used our mathematical skills to measure trends in sea algae growth.

    View the complete Ecuador photo gallery


    • Tiputini Biodiversity Station in the Amazon Rainforest
    • Climate change with Natalia Greene of The Pachamama Alliance (speaker)
    • History of the Galapagos lectures with professors from the University of San Francisco de Quito
    • Ecuadorian history and environmental politics with Jorge Barba (speaker)
    • Biodiversity field course with professor Vinueza of USFQ
    • Exploration of the Galapagos Islands
    • Charles Darwin Research Center on Santa Cruz Island
    • Hiking Sierra Negra Volcano
    • Oktoberfest at Colegio Aleman Stiehle Cuenca
    • Ecuadorian cooking class
    • Incapirca ruins
    • Fiestas de Cuenca
    • World Wildlife Fund International president Yolanda Kakabadse
    • Ecuadorian shamanism with a highland practitioner
    • Conversation with Queen of Water co-author María Virginia Farinango
    • Hiking El Cajas National Park
    • Volunteering in the rural Chimborazo province

    Term 3: Beijing, China

    During our term in China, we toured the Great Wall of China with scholarly expert and National Geographic Channel host William Lindsay. On what was surely the most exciting (and aerobic) lessons we’ve ever had in our global studies course, we explored how the wall was constructed, the way it factored into Qin dynasty military strategy, the archaeological sites along its perimeter, and the conservation issues facing the “wild” sections of the wall that have been reclaimed by the surrounding forest.

    View the complete China photo gallery


    Term 2: Sydney, Australia

    During our term in Australia, we undertook a multi-stage adventure that began with a rainforest hike through an ancient volcano crater. Led by a zoologist and nature photographer, we learned how to identify native bird and reptile species. Trekking further into the jungle, we stayed overnight with an indigenous highland tribe known as the Yidinji. They taught us their traditional methods for preparing food and herbal medicines, telling stories and creating rock art, playing didgeridoo, and of course throwing boomerangs. We even went hunting for fish, mud crabs and mussels in a mangrove swamp. The grand finale was a scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef, where we spoke with a marine biologist about evolution and the challenges posed by global climate change.

    View the complete Australia photo gallery


    Term 1: Stockholm, Sweden

    During our term in Sweden, we traveled deep into the Scandinavian Mountains to Åre, just 220 miles south of the Arctic Circle. We learned about the folkways and survival techniques of the indigenous Sami culture and went snowshoeing and dog sledding in a beautiful winter wonderland. This meditative trip to the top of the world was also a great opportunity for literary reflections (good thing there are so many words that rhyme with “cold!”).

    View the complete Sweden photo gallery


    • Mixing lyrics and beats in recording studio (Creative Arts)
    • Visit to SVT News Station
    • Swedish National Museum
    • Guided tour of Swedish Parliament
    • Snowshoeing and dog sledding in Åre
    • Viking Museum
    • Sausage making
    • Swedish culture talk with Karin Sharma and Sara Wallén
    • Fotografiska Museum
    • Historiska Museum
    • Fencing
    • National Museum of Art and Design