By Abby Glickman
Features Writer and Editor for New Trier News, a publication produced by New Trier students.
The seatbelt sign is on, the engines are roaring, and the safety video plays. With teacher chaperones by their sides and nervous excitement, New Trier High School’s summer abroad students take off.
Eight students took off this summer for Paris, France, which incoming junior Joe Agase described as a trip to, “live with a French teenager and their family and learn about their culture and life style.”
The trip was chaperoned by two French teachers and included the chance to get to know a French student, who visited the United States in February. Agase said that his host family was, “very nice and always asked if we needed anything.”
“The teenagers in France are much more mature and responsible for their age compared to the kids here,” said incoming senior Courtney Cardin. Because of this, Cardin added that the parents are more “laid back” than parents in the United States.
The tour group went sightseeing on a daily basis. Each day the group would meet at the school, Notre Dame de Sion, in the morning, and then take the metro or bus to the scheduled area for the day.
“Every day was a new, breathtaking adventure,” Cardin said. Sights included the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame de Paris, The Louvre, The Arc de Triomphe, and The Chateau de Versailles.
“The time really flew by way too fast,” Cardin said.“The hardest part was saying goodbye to such amazing people.”
Across the English Channel, other New Trier students were enjoying life in Oxford.
Students had the opportunity to stay at the University in Oxford for two weeks, chaperoned by two English teachers. The main purpose was to study Shakespeare, primarily three texts: The Tempest, Taming of the Shrew, and Julius Caesar.
“We had class days where we’d interpret the text and then rehearse the scenes ourselves. We’d perform for each other that night,” said incoming senior Abby Albrecht. “We also went to see the different plays at esteemed Shakespeare theaters like The Globe, The Roundhouse, and the Shakespeare Theatre at Stratford.”
The group also took part in workshops and discussions with Shakespeare actors, coaches, and scholars.
The trip was centered around classes held every other day, which was, “split up by little excursions throughout the day,” Albrecht said.
One of her most memorable experiences was called punting, a boating activity which involves one person standing with a long pole and anchoring while pushing it up.
“It was one of the most ridiculously hard things I’ve ever done,” Albrecht said. “It started pouring rain halfway through and we got really dramatic and started quoting The Tempest and singing Old Man River.”
On another worldwide adventure were a group of 17 students led by two Spanish teachers to Ecuador.
Incoming junior Katie Rudrud described that the trip was to, “immerse [themselves] in the culture and practice [their] Spanish.”
The group stayed in Quito, the capital, in a hotel, for two nights and the last night. For the six days in between, they stayed with host families.
“It was very different living with them. First off, the language barrier was difficult but they also live very different lives,” Rudrud said.
Every day, the students would meet at a Spanish school. Then they would go on an excursion, such as a museum or a market. They would go home to eat lunch with their host families, and either return to school for another excursion or stay with the family until dinnertime.
One of Rudrud’s favorite activities in Ecuador was, “visiting an orphanage and playing with the kids,” she said. “We played classic games like Duck Duck Goose but in Spanish with them.”
Zip lining in the jungle was another of Rudrud’s favorites.
These three trips, and many more, provided students with learning experiences and opportunities to compare other cultures with what they are used to in America.
“I really enjoyed learning about culture through first hand experiences,” Rudrud said.