The Upper School's biennial China exchange program involves students from a Chinese high school visiting North Carolina in January or February, and Durham Academy students getting a firsthand taste of Chinese culture during a visit the following summer.
During their two-week visit, the Chinese students live with DA families and experience life much as a typical DA Upper Schooler — attending class, learning about the U.S. college admissions process, sampling North Carolina-style barbecue and catching a basketball game or two. In addition, the visitors make time to share their culture and language with their new friends at DA.
During the DA students' visit to China, they visit Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai — visiting our exchange school, enjoying the cuisine and visiting well-known sites like the Great Wall, Tian'anmen Square and Olympic Park along the way. Learn more about the 2018 trip in a DA Magazine story penned by DA Chinese teacher Bonnie Wang.
This service-focused trip to Kenya is held in conjunction with WISER (Women's Institute of Secondary Education and Research), an organization founded at Duke University to improve the health and education of women in the Muhuru Bay area of Kenya.
DA's student-run WISER Club has been active for many years, raising thousands of dollars to support WISER's goals — from providing scholarships for local girls to attend the WISER boarding school, to building a water-purification system for the community surrounding the school.
Every two years, Upper Schoolers have the opportunity to participate in a World Challenge expedition to a different spot on the globe. These trips are planned and managed by the students themselves, with DA chaperones and World Challenge experts serving as facilitators. The practice of students taking the lead in planning their journey helps develop teamwork, leadership, money-management and problem-solving skills.
DA's inaugural World Challenge experience took 17 Upper School students to Ecuador for three weeks. The next World Challenge trip is scheduled for June 2019 to Uttarkhand, India.
The Upper School's France exchange program involves students from a French high school visiting North Carolina each fall, and Durham Academy students paying their French friends a visit every other year.
While in North Carolina, the French students live much as typical American high schoolers, living with DA host families and attending class with host students. Several months later, DA students participating in the exchange have the opportunity to experience life much as typical French high schoolers while living with the families of their French "siblings." While in France, DA students also have time to explore the sights, sounds and tastes of Paris and environs, from the magnificence of the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, to pastries in Chantilly and long walks in Normandy.