Trimesters Abroad

The Trimester Abroad Programs are designed to offer students the opportunity to live, learn, and work side-by-side with students and adults from a different culture who may operate under a different set of cultural norms, assumptions, and guiding principles. We believe that living in a different culture for a trimester helps students re-evaluate and stretch their mental model of how the world outside of their home community works, and to see their own culture through a new set of lenses. In this way students develop empathy and appreciation for, and value in, difference and increasingly see the importance of active contribution to global citizenry.

Students who engage in Trimester Abroad consistently return with increased self-confidence, self-awareness, and purpose. Students often return energized around issues of social justice, politics, and United States relationships abroad.

Starting in March, students can apply for the programs described below. Students & Parents must both complete the Study Abroad Application Information & Agreement along with the application. Please see our Trimester Abroad FAQ page for more information.



Overview of Group Experiences for the 2017-18 school year 

Fes, Morocco

Spring term in Morocco will feature:

  • Group experience in a traditional Riad with traditional Moroccan meals
  • Homestays with Moroccan families
  • Moroccan and French cooking lessons
  • Internships with local craftsman and artisans:
    • Fiber arts
    • Tile making
    • Indigenous farming
    • Pottery
    • Leather
  • Two weeks of in-depth craft work and special project
  • Learn Arabic
  • French classes at a local private high school
  • Hiking and camping trips
  • Excursions across Morocco to Marrakech, Rabat, Merzouga Desert, and Berber Village.


This trip will be offered again in the 2019/2020 school year. The China trip is led by Putney School Chinese teacher and artist, Cai Silver. Cai’s brother, also an artist, and resident of Chongqing is the co-leader.

This trip takes place in Chongqing and Beijing with excursions to surrounding towns, cities, and a multitude of sites. Cai and her brother offer a unique and intimate experience with Chinese culture and place. Students attend language and art classes at Chongqing University and Sichuan School of Fine Arts. Students work alongside Chinese students in classes such as: Chinese painting, Chinese paper art, cooking, martial arts, history, and geography. Each day students have opportunities to work alongside and speak with individuals and groups from the community. There is plenty of fantastic food, authentic cultural experiences, and genuine work in the community. While in Chongqing, students live in the dorms at Chongqing University.

Click here to view the 2017 daily itinerary.

Cuernavaca, Mexico

Students will attend Spanish language classes at Bachillerato Internacional UNINTER (a language school in Cuernavaca), attend high school classes at a small private school within UNINTER, and will live with a host family in Cuernavaca throughout the trimester. 

UNINTER coordinates a multitude of excursions for the Putney group on weekends and weekday afternoons. These excursions include trips to Mexico City to see the folklore ballet, museums, historic sites, and gardens within Cuernavaca, work with community service organizations, dance classes, work with local artisans, cooking classes, and trips to surrounding towns. Here is a link to a publication that the school puts out. 


This trip takes place in northwestern Nicaragua and features homestays in two locations with local families. Students will focus on community development through local organizations and with local community members. Students will learn to build “natural buildings” and then will have the opportunity help reinforce and create community buildings. Students will learn the essentials of solar power and then will work with a small organization to create and implement this sustainable power source in their community.

We partner with Women’s Association of Constructors of Condega (AMCC) and Grupo Fenix. You can watch a video about the AMCC here and a slideshow about Grupo Fenix, here

Individual or Partner Experiences


Bedales School, Hampshire, England 

Bedales School in Petersfield, Hampshire, England is a progressive day and boarding school that was founded in 1893. 1 or 2 Putney students will board and attend classes at Bedales during the fall trimester. The campus is spectacular and the school is deeply committed to exchanges from around the world. Students interested in this trip will remember that each year in the fall a group of 8-10 Bedales students spend two weeks here at Putney.

Cuernavaca, Mexico

In the winter and spring semester 1 or 2 students have the opportunity to travel independently to Cuernavaca. The itinerary is almost identical to the group trip. The difference between the group and individual experience is increased independence and a lack of support from Putney peers.


Depending on availability at a number of schools with whom we have exchange relationships with in the fall, winter, and spring there are opportunities for homestays and attendance at a French school. Lycée de Cornouaille in Quimper or École Alsacienne in Paris. The model is simple: a Putney student would live with a family that has a teenager at a private school in France, attend classes at that school, and live the life of a French teenager for one trimester. Ecole Alsacienne in Paris is an example of one of the schools with whom we have an exchange.

The Putney School | Elm Lea Farm, 418 Houghton Brook Road, Putney, Vermont 05346-8675
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