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Global Experiences

Explore the world

Global education and cultural studies are deeply embedded in both our Middle School and Upper School experiences. The Prep learning experience provides your child with opportunities to engage and experience global cultures on campus and through international study.

With students from 10-15 different countries living and studying with us each year, and four student abroad programs, along with several opportunities to engage in experiences around the world, our students develop a strong understanding of justice and the common good and gain an awareness of social responsibility. You won’t find another place quite like Saint John’s Prep.

Melk, Austria Study Abroad – German

A yearlong study and travel option at the 900-year-old Benedictine Abbey of Melk in Austria, this program features a full academic curriculum enriched by travel throughout Austria and in other countries in Europe. Each year, we send a group of students from Prep to attend the Gymnasium (high school) in Melk, perfecting their skills in the German language and attending a full schedule of academic courses. Our students live with local families and experience the culture first hand. In exchange, students from the Gymnasium at Melk Abbey spend a semester studying at Saint John’s Prep and living in our boarding facility.

Japanese Cultural Internship Program

For 4 weeks in June, a small group of grade 11 and 12 Prep students immerse themselves in Japanese culture by serving as an English teaching assistant at Kaisei Gakuin, our sister school in the city of Muroran, Hokkaido of Japan. This program provides opportunities for Prep students to learn how to adapt to new environments and work across cultures. In exchange, students from KG High School live and study at Saint John’s Prep for 1 semester or 1 year.

Sjp Students In Japan 2023

Guatemala Exchange Programs – Spanish

Prep students travel to Guatemala City in June/July and experience the Guatemalan culture, first-hand, by sharing with a host family and participating in social, educational, and sporting activities. During their stay, participants attend a private, bilingual school in Guatemala City and stay with a carefully selected host family. The program length could be anywhere between 1-4 weeks and it is open to students 12-18 years old who value enrichment and diversity, have a desire to learn and grow through experiences, are eager to make new friends and share their culture with others. In exchange, students from the Guatemalan Faces Program stay with host families and study at Prep from October-December.

1600x600 Guatemala (1)
1280x800 Melk Trip

Additional Travel Opportunities

Prep students and parents have an opportunity to travel to San Lucas Tolimán Mission (Guatemala) during our Interim Week. The group spends about 9-10 days at the Mission building houses and absorbing Guatemalan culture, including learning how to build simple homes and stoves, boat trip to the town market, coffee processing plant work, reforestation class, tortilla class, visits to the Mission’s school, hospital and hospice and more. The Mission was founded by Father Greg Schaffer from Minnesota in 1963. Today the Mission is run by more than 100 Guatemalans and serves numerous local families.

We also offer 1-2 educational travel opportunities open to families during the summer – previous trips have included Austria/Germany, London, Italy, and more!

View Global Programs Slideshow
Living abroad in Melk, Austria, quite simply changed my life.

Not only did it have a profound impact on how I view myself, but it also shaped how I view and interact with the world around me. Because of the Melk program, I have become a more educated, more sophisticated, more emotionally independent, and more well-versed person. Alone in Austria, I built a better version of myself, and I started the journey towards becoming who I am.

Megan – Melk Program Student

I spent a month in Japan, and it was easily one of the most incredible experiences of my life.

I got to be totally immersed in a new and different culture than my own and met new people while strengthening bonds between some of my classmates back home. From singing at karaoke bars, to learning how to work the washing machine, everything I did was a new experience. I learned how to properly make matcha tea, experienced many different types of delicious food, and was given the opportunity to make my own decisions and memories. My time in Japan taught me a lot about how to adapt to situations that may have been new or different than my usual routine back home. My time in Japan made me more confident, more worldly, and more aware.

Scout – Japan Program Student

I'm happy that my daughter spent a school year in Melk, Austria!

She found strength in her independence, navigating the act of becoming linguistically and culturally fluent in another land, and managing relationships that were completely fresh and new. She made lifelong friends with people who will work toward determining this world’s future. She will forever see this world as a community.

Tom G. – Parent

I have seen my son's confidence, independence, and openness to others soar thanks to the opportunities and gifts of the Melk Program.

I learned that my job as his parent is to recognize, support, and celebrate his growth, independence, and adult choices. One of those choices was my son’s desire to immerse himself in the fabric of another culture, push himself to learn a new language, try new experiences, and see what his future holds outside of small-town Minnesota. He is doing all those things and more; he has embraced challenge and is thriving.

Trisa S. – Parent

The Guatemalan Mission trip is truly a great experience for anyone.

It’s very personal when you work alongside someone, helping build or improve their home. Doing things like putting in a cement floor instead of having a dirt floor. Or adding a stove with a chimney so they can breathe in their home without breathing in smoke. I witnessed kids and adults become carpenters and construction workers while realizing there is more to life than the latest iPhone.

Joel R. – Parent

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There’s something incredibly special about Saint John’s Prep.
You just have to see it—and feel it—to fully appreciate it.