A few years after establishing a fraternal relationship with the Jacobi Gymnasium for boys in Düsseldorf and a sororal relationship with the Gertraudenschule for girls in Berlin, George School sends two contingents of nine students each (with faculty members) to Germany for the first international service trips, then called “work camps.” The George School students work alongside German students from the two partner schools in an innovative cultural exchange program.
In a taste of service trips to come, the students benefit not only from helping, in a small way, to rebuild post-war Europe, but also by getting to know and become friends with their German counterparts. Trips also enable students to soak up local culture and history.
German work camps continue until 1968. By the mid-1980s, a service-learning experience with an under-served community becomes part of the graduation requirements. Meanwhile, the reach of the trips expands dramatically. Over the years, George School service trips travel to Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, India, and many other corners of the globe as well as throughout the United States.
In the decades after international service begins, it becomes a right of passage for many students, who benefit as much if not more from these experiences as the people they serve.v