Washington dc thanksgiving

The Washington D.C Exploration is an exciting opportunity for international students to explore America’s famous capital city. Students visit some of the nation’s most famous landmarks such as the Washington monument and the Lincoln Memorial, in addition to learning about America’s fascinating political history from the signing of the Declaration of Independence to today’s complex political machine in the Senate, House of Representatives, and White House. Washington D.C is also home to some of the best museums in the world, and our students visit such perennial favorites as the International Spy Museum and the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. In their down time, students spend time in some of D.C’s trendy neighborhoods like Adam’s Morgan, Dupont Circle and Georgetown, shopping, attending shows, and enjoying other fun daytime and nighttime activities.

2017 Program Information

November 18-26, 2017


*start and end dates flexible due to varying school breaks


The students stay at the Harrington Hotel in the heart of Washington D.C. The hotel is centrally located less than a block from famous Pennsylvania Avenue between the Capitol and the White House. The hotel offers comfortable double and triple rooms with a modern cafe where the group enjoys breakfast every morning and the occasional lunch and dinner.

College/University Visits

In addition to their normally scheduled cultural activities and volunteer projects, our students will have the opportunity to visit Washington D.C-based institutions of higher learning. Throughout the course of their stay in Washington D.C, our groups partake in guided tours of Georgetown University, George Washington University, and American University.


Washington D.C is home to many fashionable shopping districts and popular malls. On separate days, our groups will visit the Georgetown and Dupont Circle neighborhoods to browse these area’s many department stores and boutiques. Additionally, our groups will visit the Pentagon City Mall in nearby Arlington, Virginia for a day of shopping and lunch or dinner in the mall’s extensive food court.

Volunteer Projects

Student Cultural Exchange’s volunteer projects are designed to simultaneously aid people in need and to expose our student travelers to ongoing humanitarian efforts by stressing collaborative cooperation instead of simply serving the “less fortunate.” The projects vary in nature - our students may work in soup kitchens on Thanksgiving or assist at donation centers and urban revitalization projects in the spring. We believe that these volunteer experiences, in many cases, plant a seed in these future leaders to help nonprofit organizations and to develop the skills to do so more effectively.

Sample Itinerary 

DAY 1 

Group arrives, checks into their rooms. The group then treks down to Chinatown for introductory dinner at the famous Sichuan Pavilion restaurant. Following dinner, the group returns to hotel, checks in for the night. 


 The group enjoys breakfast in the hotel cafeteria and a walking tour of the neighborhood around the hotel. Afterwards, everyone partakes in a 3.5 hour bus tour of Washington D.C that includes tours of the Jefferson, FDR, MLK, and Iwo Jima Memorials and the White House and Capital Building. Following the tour, the group will enjoy lunch at the Old Office Pavilion food court. Following dinner at a restaurant near the hotel, the group goes to a IMAX movie at the Natural History Museum. After the film, the group returns to the hotel and checks in for the night.


Breakfast in the hotel cafeteria. After breakfast the group boards the metro and heads over to Georgetown University for a guided tour of campus. The students enjoy lunch in the Georgetown cafeteria before heading over to the Smithsonian Museum. Following dinner at a restaurant near the hotel, the students will enjoy down time before checking into their rooms for the night.


Breakfast in the hotel cafeteria. Following breakfast, the group partakes in the second installment of their Washington D.C tour, which involves the Washington Monument in addition to the WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and Lincoln Memorials. Following lunch at a local food court, the group will take the metro to a video game arcade in Arlington, Virginia for an afternoon of gaming. Group will enjoy dinner near the arcade before returning to their hotel and checking in for the night.  


Breakfast in the hotel cafeteria. After breakfast the group will board the Metro and head over to the National Aquarium. The group eats lunch in a cafe near the hotel and subsequently heads over to George Washington University for a guided tour of campus. Group attends free event at the Kennedy Center. After the concert, the group will eat dinner in the Kennedy Center cafe before heading back to their hotel and checking in for the night.  


Breakfast in the hotel cafeteria. After breakfast, the group heads over to the Capital Area food bank for a day of community service sorting and packing food donations for Washington D.C's needy population.The group will enjoy lunch in a restaurant near the food bank site before getting back to work in the afternoon, completing their day of community service. After dinner in a local restaurant the group will head back the Natural History Museum for their second IMAX film. After the film, the group will return to their hotel and check in for the night.


Breakfast in the hotel cafeteria. After breakfast, the group enjoys a walking tour of the D.C Arboretum and a pick-up soccer game. Group returns to the hotel and enjoys a special American-style Thanksgiving dinner at the hotel restaurant. Group enjoys free time in and around the hotel before checking in for the night.


Breakfast in the hotel cafeteria. After breakfast the group will head over to the Pentagon City Mall for some “Black Friday” shopping. Students will subsequently eat lunch in the mall food court. Group heads over to Georgetown to browse the shops there before enjoying a farewell dinner at one of Georgetown's famous restaurants. Group returns to the hotel, packs their bags, and checks in for the night.


Group transported to airport/picked up in school vans and returned to their respective school campuses.


  • Visiting some of the most famous museums in the United States, such as National Air and Space Museum and the Smithsonian. 

  • Exploring trendy DC neighborhoods like Georgetown, Adams Morgan and Capital Hill. 

  • Touring the National Mall 

  • College tours of Georgetown and George Washington University. 

I have been on trips to DC and Hawaii with Student Cultural Exchange. For me, it means meeting new international friends from different schools and culture backgrounds while exploring different parts of the United States. I have loved every trip I have taken with Student Cultural Exchange!
— David M., Monte Vista Christian School
One week off for Thanksgiving break is often not long enough for some of our international students to travel back home. Our school needed to offer a travel option within the US for our international students. We wanted to be able to recommend a solid travel program to our students where they could be safe, enjoy their break, explore new cities and make new friends. After trying a couple of other programs, we finally found exactly what we had been looking for in Student Cultural Exchange! The team at SCE has been an amazing group of people devoted to providing a safe, engaging and fun experience for our students over the years. Their team is a pleasure to work with and they are highly responsible and flexible in our requests. Our international students have really enjoyed their SCE experience and it has been a pleasure working with them.
— Adriana Redmond, International Advisor, St. Stephen's Episcopal


what is a typical day like?

Each day of our Washington DC Expxloration program is full of fun, education activities that are designed to immerse our travelers in the culture of America's capital city. Activities range from museum visits, shopping trips, college visits (Georgetown and George Washington University) spending time exploring different neighborhoods and other such activities. We recognize that our students are on vacation from school, so while our days are full of activities, we also implement a good deal of rest into the student's schedules.

What is included in the tuition?

The program tuition includes all lodging, breakfast and luch each day, 2 dinners during the course of the program, all volunteer and guide fees, all transportation during the program (transporation to and from the students school is not included) and all activities.

What are the meals like?

While in Washington DC our students eat very well! Breakfast are traditional American fare at the Hotel Harrington Cafe. For lunch and 2 dinners that are inclluded in teh program tuition we have a large variety of restaurants and food courts to choose from depending on the day's activities. A highlight of every Washington DC Exploration is the opening dinner at the famous Tony Cheng restaurant in Chinatown.

How do students get to and from the program location?

Participants are expected to arrive in Washington DC by airplane, train or bus. The program fee does not include pick-up of students at their respective schools, however our staff will work closely with each student and administrator to ensure that the student is able to get to the program location.

What do travelers do at night?

Our nights are nearly as fun as our days. Each night our grops spend time together in a variety of activities that range from IMAX movies, bowling outings or simple hanging out at the hotel watching movies, playing games and relaxing as a group.


8 facts about washington dc 

  • The Washington DC metropolitan area has around 6 million people. 

  • Over 20 million people visited Washington DC in 2015.

  • DC averages 39 inches of rain each year, more than Seattle. 

  • The library of Congress is the biggest library in the world. 

  • DC's metro system is the second busiest subway system in the United States. 

  • Washington DC was actually built on a swamp. 

  • There are miles of underground tunnels beneath the Capital that are for Senators and members of the House to use. 

  • DC residents could not vote for the president until 1961.