About St. Michael's Winter Term

To further our commitment to building personal growth and advancing the school's mission, we have launched the St. Michael's Winter Term Program, a unique academic, cultural, service, travel, and language immersion program now in its sixth year. 

St. Michael's was the first college preparatory school in Austin to institute a Winter Term of specialized study.

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, and sightseeing. Whether hosting or traveling, our students experience firsthand the distinct and exciting cultures of the world in which they live. It is our hope that the Winter Term Program inspires students to become increasingly active, informed, and responsible members of their communities and the world.

Winter Term Program

List of 3 items.

  • What is winter term?

    Winter Term is a three-week course of study in January during which students immerse themselves in a topic, subject area, or experience not offered through the traditional curriculum. It is a time for students to expand their intellectual and personal horizons and explore the world outside of the classroom. 

    For example, students might study Christian mysticism in Rome, delve into the history of naval warfare, or explore a career as an architect through an onsite internship. The goal of Winter Term is for students to form new relationships with faculty and classmates and develop new perspectives on education, the world, themselves, and their spirituality through immersive and experiential learning.
  • Why offer a winter term?

    Too often, schools devolve into a series of classes designed to build a transcript and bolster a student’s resume to be competitive for the college of his or her choice.  There are many courses that comprise an academic foundation and represent our core academic experience. Electives enrich this core experience but are limited by the structure and timeline of the weekly course schedule and academic calendar.  The Winter Term provides students with the opportunity to expand awareness of themselves and the world around them through immersive and intensive learning experiences that are not available in the regular curriculum. This learning initiative reflects St. Michael’s ongoing effort to enrich our students’ academic experiences and embrace a holistic approach to educating each student.  
    All of our students are individuals with talents, interests, and goals that are unique and should be explored, tested, and celebrated. Schools should be places of insatiable curiosity, discovery, and personal growth. We believe that the addition of a Winter Term has further developed those qualities in our students. More specifically, Winter Term affords our students the opportunity to:
    • pursue or discover academic passions outside of the standard curriculum;
    • benefit from the knowledge and expertise of our entire faculty, especially through interdisciplinary study, such as courses co-taught by Science and Theology faculty;
    • grow in compassion and social awareness through extended service learning opportunities;
    • deepen their faith through an academic or experiential encounter with spirituality;
    • travel globally for language and cultural immersion;
    • develop hands-on skills and interests through field-based and experiential courses; 
    • foster creativity and artistic expression.
  • What are the details?

    Winter Term is scheduled immediately following Christmas break. Students will earn 0.5 elective credits per year for Winter Term by completing mini-courses, an internship, or overseas language, culture, or service opportunity. 

    • Mini courses:  These specialty classes are primarily taught by our faculty members but may involve guest teaching by local professionals.  Courses address topics that are substantive and academically rigorous but do not quite fit into the traditional curriculum. Courses are considered academic or experiential – students may choose two courses from each category over their high school career.
    • Internships:  The internship is designed to allow students to investigate areas of interest for further study in college and pursuit as potential careers. Students will research, interview, and work with staff to find an appropriate placement in a setting of their choice. Students will write a reflection of their experience and may be asked to share their findings within the broader school community upon successful completion of the internship and reflection.  
    • Foreign Language, Cultural Immersion, and Service Opportunities:  These exchange and travel programs coordinated by our Center for International Studies provide students with the opportunity to immerse themselves culturally and linguistically. In an exchange, students attend school in another country and stay with a local host family. The students will also be expected to host a foreign student who attends St. Michael’s at a different time of the year. A second global opportunity offers students the chance to grow in compassion and awareness through service. Finally, students may choose an academic course taught by a St. Michael’s teacher in a setting outside the United States.
    Click here to view our 2022 Winter Term Trips.

Winter Term Reflections

Riley Cameron, '21
“Clinic began at 9 a.m. with seeing patients in pre-op, post-op and new patients. At 2 p.m. we were in surgery again where the doctor removed the right side of a woman’s thyroid. It was very interesting but also scary to see someone’s throat open like that. But it was very cool to see the anatomy up close and personal. I even got to scrub in so I could be right next to the patient and see everything better."

Winter Term Staff

List of 3 members.

  • Photo of Shannon Hudson

    Shannon Hudson 

    Director of College & Academic Services
  • Photo of Stephanie Stewart

    Stephanie Stewart 

    Dean of Humanities
  • Photo of Roxanne Thurman

    Roxanne Thurman 

    STEM Chair & Instructor
International Travel: Daniela Radpay 
Mini-Courses: Stephanie Stewart & Roxanne Thurman
Internships: Shannon Hudson

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