by Avery Miller, staff writer

MAY 2022 — When most people travel to Europe, they picture stone villages, grand architecture, and beautiful scenery. Five students from Bio-Med Science Academy experienced the real thing with Education First (EF), a company that provides experiential learning programs through international travel, March 26 through April 4. 

Shown in the picture above is the Marienplatz Cathedral in Munich Germany. During the international trip, students spent an afternoon in Munich and got to see the Cathedral on their walk. Picture provided by Ms. Sass.

Ms. Laura Sass, the STEM quality and curriculum administrator, explained the different activities students participated in.

“On European trips, we visit different museums, castles, city centers, and other places important to that location. For example, on the most recent trip to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, we visited cities such as Vienna, Munich, and Lucerne,” Sass said. “We went to Neuschwanstein Castle, which was the inspiration for the Disney Cinderalla castle, Dachau concentration camp, and up a gondola to see Mt. Pilatus in Switzerland.”

Sass continued, “My favorite activity from the trip this year was called the ‘Swiss Alps Experience.’ This was a fondue dinner and show of different musical instruments from the Alps and Swiss culture. Students were able to participate by playing the Alpine Horn and practicing their yodeling. It was a fun way of learning about Swiss Culture, while also having the students be involved.”

Ana Sadeghian, a senior who attended this trip, said, “I really enjoyed all of the places we toured. I wish that we spent more time in some places like Liechtenstein and the Alps. Because we were on a tight schedule, we didn’t have as much time to tour these places.”

Her favorite activity was, “visiting Vienna, Austria. It was so beautiful! I also really enjoyed going to Dachau even though it was a very heavy day because of all the history we learned.” Dachau was the first concentration camp built by Nazi Germany.

Pictured from left to right is Ana Sadeghian, Lily Hritz, Zach Boyden, Ian Ruehr, and Robert Greenwood. These students are standing outside of Nymphenburg Palace in western Munich. This place is known as being a summer palace for Bavarian kings for over 300 years. Photo provided by Ms. Sass.

Though Sadeghian enjoyed the trip, she learned about the challenges traveling can present.

“I learned that traveling is not a vacation; it is very intense. When traveling, you really have to dress for comfort and wear layers. We went to four different countries, all with different climates. So if you don’t dress accordingly, you will not have a good time!”

Sadeghian said that she “would recommend this trip to other students if they think they can handle it!”

The students’ routes are illustrated in the picture above. Sass said, “We visited different castles and palaces such as the Schonbrunn Palace and Linderhof Castle. At these places, we typically have a guided tour with someone who we can ask questions and learn about what we are seeing.” Photo provided by Ms. Laura Sass.

Lily Hritz, a tenth grade student who also participated in this trip, said that her favorite part of the trip was, “being in Vienna and all of the free time [the students] got.” Students often spent their freetime further exploring the local attractions. She also said that she enjoyed “getting to be in another country and learn about [that country’s] customs.

“I’m glad [the trip] was offered. I probably wouldn’t have gotten to go otherwise …. I would recommend going. It’s not an opportunity [people] get a lot in life,” said Hritz. “My biggest takeaway was to try new things. There’s a lot I wouldn’t have done, but since I was there, I did.”

Sadeghian enjoyed the trip, but was glad to return home.

“Although I experienced many great things and came home with good memories, I learned I am not a world traveler,” Sadeghian said. “I was extremely homesick the entire trip and it was really hard to cope with.”

In contrast, Hritz said, “Adjusting to the time difference after I got back was really hard, but leaving was the most difficult …. I wanted to keep going.”

Sass concluded, “Our tour company, Education First (EF), does a fantastic job of putting together the itineraries and activities for the students. We work closely together planning the trip and adapting it to the interests of the students. Overall, I have really enjoyed all of the activities on the trips.”

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