Global Studies

Our program

At St. Michael's, we believe that travel exchange programs and service to others have life-changing potential.  To further our commitment to building personal growth and advancing the school's mission, we have designed St. Michael's Center for International Studies, a unique academic, cultural, service, travel, and language immersion program.  

In addition to the multi-cultural explorations embedded in our curriculum, St. Michael's students have the opportunity to experience firsthand the people, environments and distinct ways of life in specially selected countries and programs. Each Global Learning trip includes language and culture study, community service, home-stays, and sightseeing. Whether hosting or travelling, our students experience firsthand the distinct and exciting cultures of the world in which they live.   

We include international special service trips that focus on bridging cultural divides to solve real-world problems in diverse cultural environments.

Service trips offered in 2016 were:
  • Building homes in the Dominican Republic
  • Working at orphanages in India
It is our hope that the Global Learning Program inspires students to become increasingly active, informed and responsible members of the international community.

Sharing Culture

The Center for International Studies is also a place where students...
  • grab snacks from around the world - from spicy Mexican candy to Korean sweet potato chips (they run out fast!)
  • find out what the the #1 hit song is in Norway (currently Bare Min by Morgan Sulele)
  • gather to discuss the latest goings-on in the world today 
  • play games they've never heard of but that are immensely popular in other parts of the world
  • communicate on apps no one in the U.S. has ever heard of (do you know about KakaoTalk or WeChat?)
In short, it’s a place where SMCA's international students can share their culture with other students in an inviting and fun environment. A place to study. A place to learn. A place to experience the world beyond our borders right here at SMCA.

Global Learning Opportunities

(Day trip to Toledo and three-day side trip to Andalucia included)
Length: 15-17 days
Cost: $2,500
This will be our fifth exchange with our sister school, Highlands El Encinar in Madrid. Students will have the opportunity to experience school life in Madrid, improve their Spanish and make lifelong friends. Students who participate in this exchange will have the opportunity to host a Spanish student from Highlands in the fall of 2019. In Madrid, students will stay with an exchange student’s family as well.  Outside of school, students will go on excursions, including the Royal Palace, Prado Museum, Plaza Mayor and more! Students will also have the opportunity to see southern Spain with a trip to Andalucia and the city of Cordoba.

Length: 10 days
Cost: $2,500
This trip is being offered in partnership with International Samaritan, a non-profit organization. Its mission is to alleviate poverty in “garbage dump communities” across the globe and raise awareness about the living conditions of the poor in the developing world. Students will stay at a retreat center near Guatemala City. Typical volunteer work may include: building homes for families, construction projects, or assisting in the classroom and helping students to learn English and other subjects. Volunteers may also work with local community members to construct new classrooms and improve the school environment.

Length: 12-13 days
Cost: $3,800
Students will stay at a mission in Ecuador and teach English to children at the mission school. Students will also get a chance to see how life is at the mission, a self-sustaining facility feeding many in and around the town. In addition to service work, students will also get the chance to tour the ecosystem of Ecuador with its mountains, beaches, and forests. Included will be some sightseeing in the city of Guayaquil.

Length: 11 Days
Cost: $4,999
South Africa was hailed as a beacon of hope to the world as it successfully transitioned to democracy from its brutal apartheid regime. However, the hopes of becoming a rainbow nation have faded as the country continues to wrestle with crippling inequality, social upheaval and injustice, despite having one of the most progressive constitutions in the world. The program offers students a unique opportunity to see how a nation is dealing with its multifaceted social challenges while also coming to grips with its traumatic past. Students will travel to Johannesburg, Cape Town, and end the trip with a safari at a game reserve. A flyer is included here.

Students are responsible for all costs associated with travel.  Questions with regard to our Winter Term Global Opportunities may be directed to Carlon Haas at

*itineraries and dates are subject to change

Global Exchange Program Sister Schools

The heart of St. Michael's Global Studies Program is our unique sister school relationships. St. Michael's and its sister schools have a unique program whereby students attend each others’ school, fully and actively participate in student life there, and live with each other's families. Students grow and benefit from these exchanges in many ways.
  • Global Citizenship: Exchanges allow students to see the world from multiple perspectives. It allows them to think and act globally by navigating cultural differences and problem-solving.
  • Global Awareness: Awareness builds self-confidence in understanding and developing global relationships
  • Global Friendships: By living with each other’s families, students from both schools can form international friendships that last a lifetime.
Exchange visits are typically 10-21 days. Each relationship is unique, and so each exchange includes activities that make it a distinctive experience.

Our Current Sister Schools are:
  • Sainte Agnes in Angers, France
  • Highlands el Encinar in Madrid, Spain
Future Sister School Partnerships are in progress with schools in Melbourne, Australia and Shanghai, China.

China Project Hope at St. Michael's

A Student Reflection

My trip to China was a unique and amazing experience, the great memories of this trip will remain with me forever. We toured three cities throughout our trip to China; Beijing, Xian and Shanghai. Beijing is the capital of China, we spent our time there seeing some amazing monuments: The Great Wall, The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, The Summer Palace and a few others. After Beijing, we flew to Xi'an. Xi'an was the ancient capital of China and contains the Terracotta Warriors. We spent our first day there riding bikes by an ancient wall. After Xi'an, we flew to Shanghai. Shanghai is the modern city of China, 'future China'. In Shanghai, we to the 100th floor of The Financial Center. The skyline of Shanghai is incredible. We spent an hour gazing at the city from across the harbor. We spent our last day in Shanghai shopping and eating amazing food. The following day we flew back to the States.

During our trip we had a guide named Daniel. Daniel worked for a company called EF Tours. Daniel was great and took us to places that were off the average tourist path.

The memories from this trip will stay with me for life. I would recommend this trip to anyone.
-Joseph Canterbury IV

List of 1 items.

  • We are a

    Family of Families
3000 Barton Creek Boulevard, Austin, Texas 78735  (512) 328-2323
St. Michael's Catholic Academy is mindful of its mission to prepare the student holistically for leadership, service, and decision making consistent with Catholic values; and admit students of any race, color, or national and/or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to the school. St. Michael's Catholic Academy does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and/or ethnic origin, age, or gender in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, financial aid and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs. St. Michael's Catholic Academy does not discriminate against students with special needs; a full range of services might not be available.