Grounded: Trips Experience Turbulence

Kimberly Sanchez, Feature Editor

Only one of the four non-school sponsored student travel opportunities that teachers organized this year is close to gathering enough students to proceed: the senior trip to Italy.
The others, Costa Rica, France, and Washington D.C. canceled due to lack of enough sign-ups.
The Costa Rica tour offered by Spanish teachers, Fernanda Villalba and Lorena Sanchez, consisted of an eight day and seven night trip during spring break. It would have been a homestay trip, which means students get to experience staying with a “host family.”
“The best way to learn a language is to be immersed in it and there’s no better way to do it than travel,” says Villalba.
During the trip in Costa Rica, a couple out of the many spectacular given tours include a river boat tour on the Sarapiqui River, the Paos Volcano, a zipline tour, and a private motorboat tour around the canals of Tortuguero.
The price for this trip ranges from $2299 to $2499 depending on the number of students and the only requirement is that students must have completed Spanish II or above.
“It’s super fun and it’s a great chance to learn about a different culture,” says Senior Jackson Davis, who attended last year’s Peru trip offered by Villalba and Sanchez.
“Not only do students get to improve their language skills but they get to explore the world, meet new people, and hang out with Sanchez and Villalba. Who could say no to that!” says Villalba.
The France tour, offered by French teacher, Betsy Schmitz, is also an eight day and seven night homestay trip. Some of the visited attractions include the Eiffel Tower, Musee D’ Orsay (art museum), Chateau (castle) of Chambord, Notre Dame and many more.
The price for this trip ranges around $3,000 also depending on the amount of students who attend and the only requirement is completion of two years of French.
On the trip “we weren’t just tourists, we stayed with families so we became a part of French families. In fact, one of my students said she learned more in a week than she learned in a year of classwork,” says Schmitz.
Next year Schmitz plans to organize another trip, but this time to Quebec Canada in order to trip the costs of the tour and still give students an opportunity to use French in a real-world setting.
The planning of these kinds of trips is a very long process and requires a certain number of students to sign up by a specific deadline because everything must be reserved ahead of time such as air-space and housing or hotel accommodations.
“If people don’t sign up you can’t book later because there are only so many airplanes going from here to D.C. on any given day,” says Bill Kaiser, who has led six D.C. trips in the past.
“You can’t wait all year and then decide at the last minute you want to go. Everything must be planned in advance like airspace, ground transportation, hotels, and admissions to what you want to see and do on the ground,” he said.
This applies to all four trips.
“Also, the more people that go, the lower the price,” he added.
The Washington D.C. trip offered by Kaiser was slated for spring break at a cost $1970.
“I’ve done six of these tours for middle school students and thought it would be a good opportunity for those who didn’t get to go in middle school. I am always amazed at how many sophomores have not been to the Holocaust museum, which is a must,” Kaiser said. “Most students in my classes haven’t been there.”
The D.C. trip included things of interest to students of world and U.S. History and for that reason targeted sophomores and juniors. It had visits to the Holocaust Museum, Arlington National Cemetery, The Newseum, The Spy Museum, The Smithsonian Museum of American History and the aerospace museum, the Capitol Building, Mount Vernon, Ford’s Theater, Gettysburg Battlefield and lots of other places in the D.C. area dealing with world and U.S. History.
All the tours that won’t go this year are planning to follow through again for the upcoming 2013-2014 school year, in case you want to something like this interests you.
The Senior trip to Italy offered by Kathy Boggio and Jane Gideon is taking graduates from any school and takes place during the summer, about a week after school ends for nine days and eight nights.
“I’ve always wanted to go to Italy so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity and I’ve been wanting Italian food. Plus, Boggio and Gideon are nice and fun,” says Senior Alessandra Heck who is going on the trip.
Some out of the many attraction in this trip include tours around cities such as Rome, Assisi, Florence, Pisa, and Venice; fashionable boutiques; archeological sites such as the Foro Romano; monuments such as the Colosseo; amazing murals; a gondola ride and many more.
“I took art history so I thought it would be fun to see everything and it’s an experience,” says Senior Trevor Howe, also going on the trip. The price for the trip ranges around $3810 to $4380 also depending on the amount of students.
“It’s an experience of a lifetime. You cannot recreate it. You get to have fun and see the world,” says Boggio.
“We are the best tour guides! We’ll make it super fun,” says Gideon. The prices to all these trips include round-trip airfare, accommodation, transportation, and meals. For more information on the Senior trip, contact Boggio or Gideon.