Global Education

NCS supports a range of international activities to strengthen students' understanding, knowledge, and respect for other countries and cultures within our diverse global community.
This is accomplished through programming in four areas:
  1. International exchange programs and trips providing first-hand contact with other cultures and peoples
  2. Unique student research fellowships that encourage students to explore an an interest area abroad
  3. Co-curricular programs in both the NCS and DC community to enhance global understanding
  4. NCS is a participant in the Penn Global Education Forum, sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.


List of 8 items.

  • Cambodia: Home Of Grace Orphanage

    The entire NCS community supports Home of Grace Orphanage in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, throughout the year. Chapel services, assemblies, fundraisers, videos and student-led initiatives keep our partnership with Home of Grace alive in grades 4-12. 

    Every other year, NCS sends a select number of Upper School students to Phnom Penh for a service-internship opportunity at Home of Grace. The orphanage is a non-profit organization that the family of Tina Tran, former Upper School geography teacher, founded in 2007. The Trans, who are ethnically Khmer (Cambodian), fled the region almost 30 years ago and returned to build and develop Home of Grace. The first NCS trip to Cambodia took place in 2010. Students receive service credit for participation and work experience on the trip. 
    What is Home of Grace Orphanage?
    Home of Grace is an orphanage located in Bati Village, 45 minutes outside of Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia. During the Upper School trip to Cambodia, students stay in Phnom Penh and travel daily to the orphanage. It is currently a home and school for children ages 3-12, with several local staff members. The orphanage will eventually house up to 200 children and will require more staff members. Its construction was just recently completed. Home of Grace is in the early stages of development and is rapidly expanding, and NCS faculty and students’ energy and talents contribute to its further development, supporting projects such as the building of water wells, purchasing electrical generators, and providing internet access. 

    In turn, both students who travel to Cambodia and those who support the orphanage through our initiatives at NCS are able to enhance their understanding of and service to the world, as well as gaining substantive experience and understandings that will benefit them in future leadership endeavors.
  • China: Dance & Language Exchange

    Twelve dance students and nine Chinese language students from National Cathedral School and St. Albans, with teacher and parent chaperones, are traveling March 17-26, 2015, for an exchange trip to Beijing and Hong Kong. This trip builds upon the first NCS/STA dance and language exchange trip to China, which took place in 2015. Under the guidance of trip leaders Dance Program Director Vladimir Angelov and Chinese Language Teacher Ted Xu, students will attend calligraphy, music, and dance workshops at Beijing School No. 9, and present a joint dance performance, as well as see the major sights in Beijing. In Hong Kong, they will visit rehearsals and lectures at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts and visit a World Heritage site in Macao.
  • Costa Rica: Science in the Rainforest

    Every other year, students in the NCS Middle School have the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica for an experience entitled "Science in the Rainforest: Ecology and Geology of Costa Rica." The trip to the University of Georgia's Ecolodge San Luis and Biological Station, a research facility located in the heart of the cloud forest of Costa Rica, is designed to provide our students with an opportunity to learn directly from scientists, to experience a different culture, to mature and enhance their leadership abilities, and to carry out true scientific research activities.

    Approximately 20 7th and 8th grade students travel with our science and Spanish-language faculty over spring break, spending most of their time living, studying, and exploring the local environment and culture at an ecolodge on the edge of the cloud forest near Monteverde. Participants have a chance to work with naturalists and scientists on-site and to learn first-hand about the biology, ecology, and geology of the area, as well as about the environmental issues that impact the region. The trip also provides a chance to learn some of the language and customs of Costa Rica and to work alongside, and plan activities for, students at a local school.

    This program is academic in nature, and not simply an opportunity for vacation or tourism; it requires a commitment from each student to attend pre-departure meetings and keep up with any background readings, to participate enthusiastically in all the activities while in Costa Rica, and to be prepared to share what was learned with the community upon our return. 
  • Ghana: Wesley Girls' High School Exchange

    NCS is proud to partner with and support the Wesley School for Girls in Cape Coast, Ghana. For several years, students from NCS and "Wey Gey Hey" participated in an exchange program, giving our students the opportunity to live and study in a Ghanaian school, learn about the culture and history of Ghana, and visit one of Africa's oldest independent countries. A small group of students from Wesley in turn visited NCS, living with a host family and exploring our capital city.
  • Haiti: St. Paul's School

    A number of years ago, our former Dean of Students Roger Barbee travelled to Haiti. While there he visited our partner school, St. Paul's which NCS had sponsored for several years. In March 2009, with the support of several priests in Haiti, and Reverend Roger Bowen, NCS returned to visit St. Paul's, renewing our partnership with this rural school and its surrounding community. While there, we delivered school supplies, met the students and teachers, and renewed our committment to helping the school grow and prosper. 

    We are eager to return to Haiti to connect with the St. Paul's community and priests whom we have come to know. Until we are able to send a group of students back to the country, our community supports St. Paul's through fundraisers, Cathedral offertories and donations of critical items such as solar lanterns. 
  • London: St. Paul's Exchange

    For over 25 years, NCS has participated in an exchange for 9th grade students with St. Paul's Girls' School in London.  This longstanding tradition at NCS has created long lasting relationships "across the pond." Each spring, St. Paul's students visit D.C. by spending the mornings in NCS classes, and the afternoons exploring the city.  In June, NCS students travel to London for a week to visit classes, expore parts of London, and stay with their host families. It is a cherished NCS tradition for our 9th graders, and we are thrilled to continue this partnership with St. Paul's year after year.
  • Paris: Lycée Stanislas Exchange

    NCS has a strong partnership with Lycée Stanislas, a prestigious private school in Paris, France. Every other year, eligible Upper School students in our French language program have the opportunity to participate in a reciprocal exchange with the young women of Stanislas, sharingculture and customs while building language proficiency. Homestays in Paris and Washington, D.C. are a key component of this program. Our students travel to Paris over spring break, and host Stanislas students in April. 
  • Spain: Escuela Sagrada Familia Exchange

    In 2015, Upper School students embarked on an exchange program with Escuela Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. The first trip of its kind at NCS, it paired twenty-seven 10th, 11th and 12th grade NCS students with students at the Spanish school, living with host families for several days, while enjoying cultural excursions and exploration. While in Barcelona, students toured the city, visiting iconic sites such as the famous Parc Güell. From Barcelona, the group will take a cross-country train trip to Sevilla, participate in a tour with Feel the City, the top-ranked educational tour provider in Sevilla, and visit Alcázar, Catedral de Sevilla and see an authentic flamenco performance. The girls will wrap up the trip with visits to Córdoba and Madrid, exploring the Catedral de Córdoba, Roman ruins, as well as the Prado and Reina Sofía museums. 
    Beloved Spanish teachers Tamara Riquelme-Manzoni, Nilda Villalta and Laura Verges Oller led this trip, and we hope to continue it every other year for our Upper Schoolers! 


List of 4 items.

  • Koch Fellowship

    Coordinated through the NCS English Department, the Koch Fellowship was established in 1982 in memory of John S. Koch, whose two daughters graduated from NCS. Through the Koch family's generosity, NCS is able to honor and encourage students for their "consistent excellence in expository writing." Recipients are chosen through a creative essay application and are sent to study courses of their choosing through the Oxbridge Academic Program in Oxford, England.
  • Lauren Sarah Hester Fellowship

    The Lauren Sarah Hester Fellowship was created in 1988 in memory of Lauren, NCS class of 1987, and provides an opportunity for a rising senior to undertake an independent project or travel program during the summer following her junior year. Local, domestic and international projects are encouraged. Juniors must present a proposal outlining their research project, which is reviewed by the committee, and recipients are generally announced in late January.

    Recent Hester Fellowship recipients include:
    2015: Hazel Horvath and Sophia Robinson, Water, Water Nowhere: The Effects of the California Drought on the Fruit and Dairy Industry; and Alexandra Karppi, Tracing the Steps of an Assassin: An Exploration of Ethnic Nationalism in 20th-Century Bosnia and Herzegovina
    2014: Lidwina Bell, Children in the Fields: A Study of Migrant Farmer Youth Advocacy; and Linda Krasniewski, Journalism & Media in the Information Age: A Case Study in China
    2013: Hallie Horvath and Hanna Horvath, Political Art in France: A Comparison of French Resistance Propaganda to Street Art
    2012: Devon Hays, Baffin Island: An Exploration of Inuit Art and Culture
    2011: Chandra Chea, The Legacy of the Incas: Exploring the Quechuas and their Incan Heritage
    2010: Katie Mitchell, Globalizing India: A Search for Balance; An Investigation of the Western Process of Economic Development through Outsourcing and its Effect on Traditional Culture, Social Equity, and Indian Identity
    2009: Charlotte Morris and Emily Weiswasser, The Climate Conundrum: A Socio-political, Economic, and Scientific Study of Global Climate Change in Iceland
    2008: Sydney Batson, Maddie Ross and Libby Ulman: The Environmental Legacy of U.S. Navy Bomb Testing on Vieques, Puerto Rico
    2007: Alex Wise, From the Farm to the Factory: A Journey Through Dickensian England
  • Raiser Environmental Fellowship

    Established in 1998, the Raiser Environmental Fellowship is a summer study-travel program available to National Cathedral School juniors. Sponsored by NCS alumna Skye Raiser '85, the fellowship funds a student's or students' self-designed scientific research program in the fields of environmental science, biodiversity, conservation, or the impact of environmental degradation or pollution on human life. Domestic and international projects are encouraged. 

    Raiser Fellowship recipients prior to 2013 were funded to participate in existing hands-on research programs through environmental research organizations.

    Recent Raiser Fellowship recipients include: 

    2015: Elizabeth Crowdus, Investigating Anaerobically Digesting Food Waste; Caroline Gibson, The Effect of Microorganisms on Acetamiprid; Danielle Horne, Bumblebee Homing Ability and Food Source Loyalty.
    2014: Caroline Ingram, Developing Ways to Increase Crop Yields Without Genetic Modification; Rachel Rubin, Understanding Human Responses to Environmental Change
    2013: Skylar Lovett: Evaluating the Effects of Wildlife Conservation
    2012: Lauren Mott and Kate Samore, Costa Rican Coffee from Community to Cup (Earthwatch)
    2011: Nora Loughlin and Camille English, Reefs and Mangroves (Earthwatch)
    2010: Andrea Hale and Kimora Brock, Costa Rican Coffee from Community to Cup (Earthwatch)
    2009: Molly Hayes and Gabriela Wilson, Puerto Rico's Rainforest (Earthwatch)
    2008: Julia Farquhar and Juliana Hanle, Puerto Rico's Rainforest (Earthwatch)
    2007: Meghan Carter and Willis Kliefoth, Panama (Save the Rainforest)
  • Susan Ajello Award for International Scholars

    The Susan Ajello Award for International Scholars helps fund participation by Upper School students in any NCS-sponsored international exchange or trip. Eligibility is based on academic excellence, a student's essay, interest in the NCS Global Outreach Program, and financial need as determined by the NCS Office of Financial Aid. The award was established in memory of Susan Ajello, mother of Christina Ajello '02 and Stephanie Ajello '05, by her family, her friends, and other loyal supporters of international studies at NCS.

Extension Studies

Extension programs are semester- or year-long academic studies away from NCS. These programs typically offer traditional classes but may also focus on a particular subject such as language, leadership, or science. There are many extension programs for high school students, and NCS supports student participation in those programs that offer a rigorous academic experience without significantly delaying or interrupting a student’s course of study at NCS. A list of NCS-approved extension programs can be found here.

Extension programs are opportunities to develop independence, gain leadership skills, explore areas of interest, take risks, meet students from around the world, and, in some ways, preview a college experience. They can be incredible experiences, but they aren’t for everyone, and it takes careful planning to participate in such a program.