Trip of a lifetime
Grade 10 students from St. Anthony's School spent their Easter holiday break touring Europe and had the foresight to make sure they brought their local news along. (l-r) Jordan Mazereeuw, Carmanah Ol- brich, Megan Boland, Jhett Douglass and Addison in front of remnants of the Berlin Wall with a copy of
The Dumheller Mail.
Five high school students from St. Anthony’s experienced the culture of Europe over the Easter holiday.
This was the fifth trip that social studies teacher Kurt Phillips has organized since 2008. From March 24 to April 2, students toured Berlin and Dresden in Germany, Prague in the Czech Republic, Krakow in Poland and Budapest in Hungary. Phillips sees value in international travel for students.
“I’ve always believed that travel affords people the ability to understand the world from a different perspective and helps to foster an appreciation for diversity. It also allows people to learn that what they see in the media isn’t always the full story,” said Phillips.
He said many students cited their visit to Dresden as a highlight, as well as a cruise on the Danube while they were in Budapest.
“They all told me that the most important visit was our time in Auschwitz as it allowed the students to better understand the tragedy of the Holocaust and the necessity of remembering it in order to prevent such horrors from occurring again,” said Phillips. “Having attended Eva Olsson’s presentation late last year made this experience even more relevant. Having been to all of these places myself before, the highlight for me was watching my students’ experience these beautiful cities for the first time.”
The school had committed to the trip before the horrific Paris terrorist attacks in November 2015, and for a time, there were concerns as to whether the trip would be cancelled. The trips are guided by EF Educational Tours and Phillips said there were no security concerns.
“I understand that, in the wake of both Paris and more recently Brussels, people are concerned about the prospect of international terrorism and have, as a result, perhaps formed an impression that Europe isn’t safe,” he said. “The reality is that not only is Europe safe, but the world is probably safer than it has ever been in history, though given the tendency of the 24 hour news cycle it certainly doesn’t appear as such when we’re subjected to a bar- rage of tragedy. This isn’t to say that one shouldn’t take precautions when one travels, but that those precautions shouldn’t prevent one from experiencing the world.”
During the trip, they saw no sign of the refugee crisis in these countries
“There wasn’t anything evident during this trip. In part this might be because EF Educational Tours is very conscious about making sure students are secure and safe. When I was in Budapest this summer on a personal vacation I did see the refugees at the main train station, however I never once felt threatened by their presence. Rather my heart went out to these people – men, women, and a lot of children – who had fled a warzone and everything they had ever known up to that point and were still desperately frightened.
“In that sense I sort of wish my students had been able to have had this same experience as it would put a human face on an international crisis that is overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of people on the move that it’s hard to recognize each number is an individual.”
(l-r) Addison Sowerby, teacher Kurt Phillips, Jordan Mazereeuw, Carmanah Olbrich, Megan Boland, and Jhett Douglass were in Europe over the Easter holi- day, travelling in Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary.