International Studies

International Studies & Exchange is an independent study course for students in 9th through 12th grade. In this course, you'll gain an international perspective and establish cross-cultural, interpersonal skills that will contribute to your success in today's global world. You'll develop an awareness of cultural differences, understand world views and their role in intercultural competence, improve your communication skills, and learn how to behave effectively in intercultural situations.

There are three components to the program:

  1. Build a relationship through weekly communication. Each student establishes a relationship with a student "correspondent" from either Costa Rica, Germany, India, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, Spain or South Korea. You'll communicate with your correspondent one to three times a week using a combination of Skype, email and/or Facebook.
  2. Complete assignments with your correspondent. There are eight major topics addressed in a series of assignments to be completed for each month of the academic year. Assignments can include essays, research projects, online discussion boards, and multimedia projects and presentations. You'll be required to compare cultures, school systems, economies, challenges facing each country and personal family history.
  3. Meet with your Minnetonka teacher and classmates. Twice a month, you'll attend class during zero hour to discuss assignments and reflect on your learning.

Travel abroad and hosting

Although not required for participation* in International Studies, you will have the opportunity to travel abroad and/or host a foreign student. Students who travel to their correspondent’s country attend school, work on service projects and immerse themselves in the new culture.

*Note: Minnetonka students in the German program are expected to host in February–March and are strongly encouraged to travel to Hamburg mid- to late June.

Independent study, grading and course credit

If you choose an independent study course such as International Studies, you'll be required to complete most coursework outside the regular school day. Upon successfully completion of all requirements, you will receive a semester grade and credit, which will be acknowledged on your school transcript. This credit is above and beyond what is required for graduation.

Registering for International Studies

Students interested in participating in International Studies for the 2023-2024 school year need to fill out the following application.

Applications are due by April 12, 2024.

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World Flags


Jeffrey Erickson

Register for International Studies

  • Express your interest by registering in the International Studies Program and prior to spring break an email will be sent to you with the application link.
  • Complete the application process after spring break.
  • Await acceptance and status of first choice in May (students may be asked to select a second choice program). Correspondents will be assigned at different times depending on the country assigned.