Summer 2022 Programs

SDC International: Cultural exploration in Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico and Spain

Student Diplomacy Experimental College (SDXCO): A liberal arts micro-college exploring social justice, equity and inclusion through disciplines in STEM, social sciences, humanities and the arts

SDC International

Practice language skills with a taiko master in Japan, make pasta with Italian students at a cooking school in Piemonte, become an amateur anthropologist immersed in the unique history and culture of the Spanish Basque country. Experience the power of art, architecture and agriculture while learning how geography impacts the cultures of the world.  Build friendships with 10-12 peers from across America and explore your new summer home with local experts, chefs, farmers, artists, activists and musicians.  SDC International’s 3-5-week programs will challenge your sense of adventure, help you build new skills and expand your vision of global citizenship.


Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Indigenous Cultures, the Great Forests and Outdoor Adventure in the Pacific Northwest.  Across the globe, scientists are embracing the knowledge of indigenous people to develop a deeper understanding of our natural world and ways to protect and sustain our fragile ecosystems.  Work with educators and ecologists to explore the connection between indigenous knowledge, forestry and sustainability in the temperate forests of coastal British Columbia.  Hike, climb, and forest bathe in provincial parks as you connect deeply with the natural world.  Explore cosmopolitan Vancouver, meet with college professors and visit some of the world’s most beautiful lakes, rivers, mountains and forests during an exciting month with our neighbor to the north.


Les Plus Beaux Villages de France: Architecture, Geography, Art, Cuisine and Culture in La France Profonde. France celebrates the magnificence and beauty of rural life from Alsace to Provence, from Brittany to the Pyrenees.  Unlock the secrets of “the hexagon’s” most beautiful and culturally rich regions. Bake a kugelhopf for breakfast, have a flamekueche, a flambeed pizza, for lunch and leave room for choucroute garnie at dinner. Stroll past half timber houses and bike through vineyards. Don’t ask whether you’re in La France or Deutschland, you’re exploring Alsace.  In Provence and the Var, walk through Roman ruins and visit ancient towns built into the sides of mountains.  Hear the sounds of the Basque language in farms under the shadows of the Pyrenees or sample black wheat galettes in fishing villages along coastal Brittany. Learn about the modern challenges that facing traditional rural life in France.  Impressionist artists, Michelin starred chefs, farmers and travelers have been inspired by La Vieille France, you will share their wonder.


Slow Food, Rich Culture – Fast food has not replaced pasta, parmesan cheese and prosciutto ham at the center of the Italian diet. Industrial agriculture has not replaced the family farm. And local specialties that celebrate the bounty of the land and sea remain central to la dolce vita. The Slow Food movement, born in rural Italy celebrates the link between food, culture and biodiversity. This summer, slow down, savor your food, learn from organic farmers, and work with skilled chefs as you experience the rich Italian culture and learn to cook slow food across Liguria, Piemonte and Umbria.

Il Paradiso Terrestre: Between Heaven and Earth – Hidden among the green rolling hills of Umbria, and soaring spires rising above the hill towns of Tuscany beats the heart of Italy. Walk in the footsteps of ancient Etruscans and ride with the Butteri, Tuscany’s last cowboys. During a month in one of Italy’s most beautiful, bountiful and heavenly regions, feel the rich Umbrian soil between your fingers while working on a 15th century farm. Look towards the heavens and marvel at the architectural wonders of Assisi, Lucca and Siena. Taste Tuscan delights and see masterpieces of art, craft and architecture that tell stories about the history and culture of Italy. Go beyond the limited reach of a tourist and become an amateur anthropologist.


Taiko, Nature and The Spirit of Japan – For a thousand years, Taiko has been the voice and spirit of Japan.  Its rhythms reflect the sounds of nature and amplify the Shinto belief in the power of the natural world.  This summer, awaken to the beating heart of Japan during hours-long sessions with Kodo Taiko masters on windswept Sado Island. Explore the intrinsic connection between geography, food, music and craft of the indigenous Ainu people of Hokkaido.  Cycle or hike from urban Sapporo to the rural countryside and bathe in the energy of the great forests of Japan’s northernmost prefecture. Visit ramen noodle restaurants and arcades to practice new language skills with local college students.  From mountain peaks that have challenged Olympic skiers to fishing villages and rice farms that feed Japan, you will feel the spirit, creativity and nexus between Japanese identity, geography, nature and the arts as you make Hokkaido home.


Treasures of the Yucatán – Mayan culture is alive and well in the Yucatán.  From activists working to promote Mayan languages to craft collectives recreating ancient art forms to chefs expressing local bounty on a plate, you will be immersed in the Mayan world of the Yucatán peninsula.  Embark on a modern-day treasure hunt to uncover hidden ruins in dense jungles, study famous pyramids and photograph thousand-year-old artifacts. Marvel at the crystal blue cenotes and make regional handicrafts. Dance to folk rhythms and cook cochinita pibil in underground barbeque pits. Finish your stay in magical Mérida to explore Mexico’s colonial history, it’s tragic impact on indigenous communities and influence on modern Mexico.

Do you Speak Oaxacan? – Oaxacan is not a language but Náhuati, Zapoteca, Mixteca, Mazateca, Chinanteca, Mixe, Amuzgo, Chatino, Zoque, Coiteco, Popolaca, Chontal, Huave, Triqui, Chocho, Ixcateco and Spanish are all spoken in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. There are even a small number of people who still communicate through a whistled language called Sochiapam Chinantec.  Oaxaca with 16 distinct indigenous groups is a culturally rich blend of foods, traditions, arts, and cultures.  Home to high mountain peaks, verdant valleys and laid-back beach towns, Oaxaca has incredible ecological richness.  Linguistic and geographic diversity are at the heart of the story of this Mexican treasure. From chocolate to coffee plantations, mole to alebrije wood carving, Oaxaca will dazzle your senses. Learn about ancient indigenous civilizations and contemporary communities of artists and craftspeople, farmers and chefs as you dive into one of the most fascinating regions in the Americas.


The Importance of Being Basque – Travel back in time to a land of rolling green hills, rich local culture and people who have a deep respect for the nature that nourishes their lives and livelihoods. Amidst the peaks of the Pyrenees straddling France and Spain, the Basque people fiercely preserve their linguistic, artistic, economic and cultural heritage. From alpine hamlets to fishing villages, from modern art and green design, Basque culture expresses an unmistakable connection to place and tradition, while building a thriving economic future. Living, working and learning with Basque communities, celebrate the hidden beauty of this ancient culture. This summer, put on a traditional Basque beret, lace up a pair of comfortable walking shoes and discover the importance of being Basque.

Instituto Ibérico – At the intersection of scholarship and adventure, you’ll find your place at the Instituto.  Take a 3-college credit course taught entirely in Spanish by professors in Spain. Designed for native speakers and high-level learners, courses combine classroom learning and immersive field-based study across the Iberian Peninsula in venues like Madrid, Toledo, Valencia, the Basque Region, Catalonia and Andalucía.  Courses include: Las tres culturas: religión e historia en España & Artes y Sociedad en España.

Student Diplomacy Experimental College (SDXCO)

College starts now.  This summer earn three college credits while experiencing the academy at beautiful college campuses in the United States and abroad. Become part of a community of SDXCO scholars nominated by high schools and youth serving organizations from communities across the nation.  Explore the nexus between sports and civil rights with an author and historian, build creative writing skills while exploring eco-poetry and the voices of poets from Micronesia, understand the connections between economics and climate justice or learn about the biology of ecosystems in the classroom and in the field.  When you are not in the classroom, experience life on and off campus, participate in sports, art and extracurricular activities. SDXCO will help you prepare for college by building the skills and confidence to thrive as an undergraduate.

2022 courses may include:


  • Biogeography: Ecosystems, the Science & Art of Observation
  • Mathematics, Social Justice and Equity
  • Traditional Ecological Knowledge in the Pacific Northwest

  • Economics and Climate Change
  • History of Sports and Civil Rights
  • Sociology, Citizenship and Immigration
  • Public Health: A Social Work Analysis of Health Care in Underserved Communities
  • Instituto Ibérico: Las tres culturas: religión e historia en España

  • Asian American Literature: Immigrant Stories
  • Pacific Voices: Eco-Poetry from Micronesia
  • Literature of the African Diaspora
  • Instituto Ibérico: Artes y Sociedad en España

  • Creative Writing: Poetry, Memoir and Spoken Word
  • Ceramics: Art, Craft and Culture
  • Music: Songs of Protest and Liberation

  • Want to join The Corps?  Your adventure begins here.

    Application Instructions: You must be nominated by an SDC partner school or mentoring organization.  Once nominated, you will be asked to complete a written application that parallels a college application and participate in an interview with SDC staff.  Applications are typically due in late February through mid-March with interviews and decisions in late March and April.  Contact your nominating school or organization for more detail about application process and deadlines.

    Please contact us at or 888-551-0218 if you have any questions.

    Note: SDC will continue to evaluate the public health landscape and modify programs as needed to best ensure the health and safety of our students, staff and hosts. As such, all programs, venues and descriptions are subject to change.