Variety of lessons
Student Activities coordinator Mr. Halsall, travelled through Germany, Austria and Italy. Their itinerary was jam-packed with visits to some of Europe’s most fascinating sites such as Germany’s Parliament, the Brandenburg Gate, the Checkpoint Charlie Museum, the German City of Dachau, Mad King Ludwig’s castle of Neuschwanstein and the beautiful Austrian city of Innsbruck, nestled in the Alps. In Italy, the travelers stopped in Venice, Assisi, and finished their trip in Rome.
Students enrolled in the level 5 Contemporary World and Literature Program have the option of going on the school’s annual trip to Europe and some of those students actual- ly plan on going years in advance. “I’ve wanted to go since I was in level three when my brother went. I wanted to go because I thought it would be my only chance to see Europe,” said Sawyerville’s Timothy Bowker. CookshireEaton’s Jessica Everett, who also knew people who had taken the trip, had wanted to go from the moment she started high school. Also from CookshireEaton, Sarah Hannah O’Reilly said: “I’ve wanted to go for seven years. It’s so cool that I got to visit some of the same places that my sister visited.” “I decided to go just this year. Some friends were going, I thought it would be fun, and noone in my family had ever gone,” mentioned Stanstead East’s Cameron Murphy.
All six students who sat for the interview agreed that the possibility of going on the Europe trip had really motivated them to keep their History and English marks high so they would get accepted into the enriched class. Students need a mark of 80% in both level 4 English and level 4 History 404 to get into the enriched class.
Fundraising to get together the $2,800 plus spending money needed for the trip is a big part of the preparations for some students. “I organized a bowl-a-thon and a spaghetti dinner with my best friend,” said Sherbrooke’s Kelly Hurdle. “It took a lot of time and effort not just by me but my family, too. It made the trip even more exciting,” added Kelly. “We also went to lots of meetings, some with our parents. We found out about the itinerary, how much the trip costs, and things like money belts. We also had to pick roommates,” explained Byanca Custeau, from Sherbrooke.
Venice seemed to be the most popular stop on the tour, at least according to the six interviewees, with Berlin, which was likened to a “Montreal but with less stress and a lot more tobacco smoke”, coming a close second. “Venice was so different; the streets were water and the pigeons fly into people’s heads!” said Kelly. Timothy was amazed by the hand-carved woodwork in the Neuschwanstein Castle. All of the students were surprised by the sheer number of castles and ancient buildings in the three countries they visited. “Europeans seem to have more respect for old things,” they all agreed.
Jessica, who admitted to being a fussy eater, was surprised that she liked the food. But none of the students liked the German dumplings, “And we got them twice in a row!” They were also surprised to see their chaperones in a different context. “Remember when the teachers were crying from laughter in the train? Teachers don’t do that! And Mr. Halsall kept pretending it was somebody’s birthday at each restaurant, so we made it his birthday on the last night before he could do it to somebody else!”
At the age of sixteen or seventeen, a school trip to Europe is much more than just an academic vacation. “We made great memories, lots of inside jokes. But my best friend didn’t come and I really missed her. Now I appreciate her more,” said Byanca. “I learnt to speak up for myself, like in a restaurant. And to work out problems on my own,” admitted Sarah-Hannah. “I learnt that sometimes I just need my space,” said Kelly.
Jessica learnt to be more responsible: “You’re making your own decisions for ten days; now I know I can do it. We all kind of grow up a bit.” “I brought back three thousand photos and I made a really good friend,” commented Cameron. “It was fun for everyone – noone got lost and no-one got pick-pocketed,” said Timothy. Cameron concluded the interview with: “It was really worth the money and I would go back with the same group any time!”
The Galt students visited the Colosseum of Rome on the last day of their spectacular trip.