Global Education

Global Education

Lake Forest Academy places the utmost importance on helping our students become better global citizens. Cultivating a deeper sense of global awareness and understanding is rooted throughout our curriculum. Whether in the classroom, on service trips, traveling with a class, or spending a year abroad, LFA students are encouraged to widen their horizons both figuratively and literally. Learn more about the many opportunities our students have to expand their global horizons by using the left-hand navigation menu.

Global Learning Must Be Intentional

It implies a purposeful, educational environment in which our students learn to engage with the world from multiple perspectives with empathy.

Capabilities essential to global citizenship: critical self-examination and examination of one’s own traditions, thinking as a citizen of the world, and exercising a “narrative imagination” that allows one to see the world through the eyes of others.

the ability to be an intelligent reader of another person's story
Martha Nussbaum, University of Chicago

  • 70% of employers feel that it is VERY IMPORTANT that college graduates be able to analyze and solve complex problems with people from different backgrounds and cultures
  • 70% of employers describe their companies or organizations as “globally connected”
(2014 survey,

Global Education Contact

Kristine Von Ogden

Kristine Von Ogden

Dean of Curriculum & Innovation, Modern & Classical Languages Faculty (French)

Global Concentration


The cohort design is at the heart of the Global Concentration and is what makes it unique. Students will be part of a dynamic, student-driven cohort for both years of the program. This will allow students to collaborate, developing their skills and delving into a variety of topics. The cohort is designed to be purposeful, reflective, interdisciplinary and collaborative.

ExperIENtial Interaction

All members of the concentration must leave campus, be it virtually, philosophically, or physically! Students will work with a group outside the LFA community in order to not only better understand themselves, but also how to interact with others effectively and purposefully.


Engagement is a top priority of the concentration. Students will explore a variety of topics through the lenses of identity, inquiry, communication, and collaboration. Students will find ways to stay connected and strive to form action plans with a purpose.


The Capstone Celebration takes place in April of the second year of the concentration. It is the culmination of two years of dedicated work that is shared within the wider LFA community. Students will present their findings, progress, and share their personal growth in a variety of creative and thought-provoking ways!

What is Global Learning thought bubble

Global Concentration downloads



Curricular Travel

students sitting on a rock on a hill with a lake in the background below them.

Several of our courses contain a travel component which offers our students unparalleled experiential learning experiences to complement a rigorous curriculum. These programs allow any student enrolled in the courses to put into action what they study and to truly become even more inspired global citizens. Annually, nearly 25% of LFA students are offered the chance to travel with their teachers and classmates with no additional program cost. We are proud to be able to currently offer these types of experiences in several language, science, and arts courses.

Students in AP Environmental Science participate in a hands-on learning experience in Olympic National Park. They practice living sustainably and implement what they learn in the classroom to complete projects promoting the importance of biodiversity and reducing their environmental footprint. In recent years, they have traveled to Washington State for a real-world experience in the application of their skills, taking in the breathtaking beauty of the Pacific Northwest and coming to a better understanding of the relevance and urgency of this course of study.

In Morocco, post-AP level French students enrolled in Le monde francophone live with families to participate in daily life and further their understanding of identity and cultural duality. Staying in a remote mountain village allows our students to connect with different generations of Arab and Berber Moroccans. In Guadeloupe, the intriguing balance of living in France in the Americas is best experienced in-person when our French students are linguistically and culturally immersed in the fascinating, multicultural aspects of Guadeloupean culture and identity.

In locations such as Panama and Costa Rica, students in Contemporary Civilizations and Cultures of Latin America spend time visiting indigenous peoples and local school children, which has since led to a fundraising effort to help equip the one-room schoolhouse and solidify ties between our schools. These Spanish students have taken action to maintain this connection and have been forever changed by the experience.

AP Art History students have taken full advantage of world-class art within reach in Chicago and also on their class trip to New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. Seeing these works in person is invaluable. As pages of a book can never replicate the original, students are able to see texture and brushstrokes, witness artistic movements in carefully curated expositions, all the while being able to appreciate the architecture and landscapes of various cities. 

Students in Choir or Orchestra are also able to take part in energizing trips to domestic locations that have included New York City, St. Paul, and Memphis in recent years. In New York, Choir students partake in private workshops and behind-the-scenes views of what musical theater entails. On all trips, students both perform and attend performances, have access to master classes, meet with professionals, and incorporate service into their long weekend experiences. They return an even more united and inspired group.

School Year Abroad

SYA School Year Abroad logo

School Year Abroad (SYA), founded in 1964, has year-long, academic programs in China, France, Italy, and Spain. They also offer five-week summer homestay programs. As a member school, LFA clearly demonstrates its commitment to global education. Our students, who can participate over the summer or during their sophomore, junior, or senior year, improve not only their language skills, but also their ability to adapt and thrive both educationally and personally in another culture. Interested students and families should contact Kristine Von Ogden, our SYA Coordinator at LFA.

School Year Abroad

This program, founded in 1964, is sponsored by the three charter schools of Exeter, Andover, and St. Paul's. The heads of these three schools serve as permanent members of SYA's board of trustees. In addition to these three charter schools; SYA's association includes a consortium of other top U.S. independent schools that have demonstrated a strong commitment to foreign and classical language instruction as well as international education. Admission to these programs is competitive. 

The programs are conducted during the school year in Beijing (China), Rennes (France), Viterbo (Italy), and Zaragoza (Spain). Its courses have been fully accredited by LFA and other schools within the consortium. The purpose of these programs is for students to participate in a full academic year as well as to reap the benefits of living in a foreign culture while achieving a level of real fluency or skills virtually impossible to attain at their home schools. Since some of LFA's graduation requirements (e.g., US History or science) cannot be fulfilled in Beijing, Rennes, Viterbo, or Zaragoza, interested students should develop as early as possible a long-range plan of studies that will assure their eligibility.

In each program, students live with host families and participate fully in their lives. They join athletic and cultural organizations with their Chinese, French, Italian, or Spanish counterparts and travel both on several school-sponsored trips as well as independently. Academically, each student pursues a minimum of five courses selected from a curriculum especially designed for School Year Abroad students. Standard junior and senior English and mathematics courses are taught in English, generally by teachers from the charter or member schools. Subjects such as literature, language, history, civilization, and art history are taught in the target language by native instructors. The classes are rigorous and reflect the standards of the sponsoring schools. All College Board examinations are offered.

The programs in France, Italy, and Spain are designed for students going into their sophomore, junior or senior year who have completed two years of French, Latin, or Spanish. The program in China is for students also going into their junior or senior year, but no previous study of Mandarin is necessary for students who wish to spend their junior, senior or post-graduate year in Beijing. Each of these programs offers a full year of residence and study in the respective country. The program in China offers the option of a fall term as well. The cost of each program does not differ significantly from the cost of a year as a boarder at LFA. Financial aid is available. Catalogs and further information on application to the program may be obtained from our SYA coordinator, Ms. Von Ogden.