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Unpack Your Bags--Summer Abroad Trips Postponed

Spanish teacher Rebekah Garrett (third from right) and several of her students bike in Barcelona as part of a summer abroad tour. (Courtesy Photo)

By Emma Duncan--Eagle Staff Writer

For many Eagles, current and graduated, travelling the world with friends and teachers was something to look forward to each summer. This year, however, no one will be boarding any planes to paradise.

I’ve postponed any trips for the coming summer due to the pandemic,” said Spanish teacher Rebekah Garrett. “I don’t feel it would be in the best interest of travelers to try to go abroad during such a risky time.”

The trip Garrett described was originally planned for last year. Students would travel to Paris, Barcelona, and Madrid for 10 days total. When schools closed in March, Garrett postponed the trip until this summer. Now, however, she’s had to move it again.

“The trip I have postponed will be tentatively in the summer of 2022,” she said. “Students can contact me for more information. I have asked for our district's approval of this and still am awaiting their response, but should know soon.”

Rebekah Garrett (center) visits Puerta Del Sol, Madrid with students. (Courtesy Photo)

While Garrett’s particular trip will not be taking flight next summer, many other trips are still set to go. The CIEE High School Summer Abroad website is still promoting, presenting, and even taking applications for upcoming international travels.

Their offered trips fall into three main categories: Language and Culture, Service and Leadership, and Global Discovery. Taking place all over the world and lasting anywhere from 3-4 weeks each, these trips help students learn, find new skills, make friends, and even gain college credits.

Students interested in learning more about these trips can visit the above link or email history teacher Michele Jones to obtain a downloadable link for the 2021 Summer Abroad Flyer.

Jones said alongside CIEE, many FCHS teachers also use the EF Tours website to schedule trips.

“The EF Tours trips are very fast paced tours of all the hot tourist attractions in their destinations. There's a focus on history and culture with most of them,” she began. “It's certainly a trip and not a vacation because everyone comes home exhausted from the long days and adventures.”

She also said many teachers, including herself, travel with their students.

“I've been on many international trips with students (mostly to Europe),” Jones said. “I took students to Italy/Greece/Turkey in 2009, Paris/London in 2011, Australia/New Zealand/Fiji in 2012, another Italy/Greece trip in 2016, Ireland/UK in 2018, Scotland in 2018, and wanted to plan Germany for 2022. I usually have between 15-40 participants when I take students.

In Italy we visit the Colosseum, Pantheon, etc. In Greece, we have a Greek night of authentic food, dancing, and a visit to the Parthenon, plus a cruise of the Greek islands. In New Zealand we got to see local demonstrations in the wool industry and sacred Maori sites, plus two students went rolling down a hill in a giant hamster ball,” Jones explained.

The above photo, courtesy of Rebekah Garrett, was taken in Capri, Italy in 2018.

Garrett often goes on Summer Abroad trips as well.

"I've taken trips in 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018 and again for 2022," Garrett said. "We've been everywhere from Spain, France, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Austria, England, etc. with EF tours."

While she believes these trips are full of fun, Garrett says these adventures are currently not in students’ best interest. Nonetheless, she provided some starter information for those determined to discover.

“Students interested in any future trips should discuss the trip with their parents first and then contact the trip leader for more information. It's recommended students do some research on the country to be visited and any travel requirements necessary along with any potential risk reported there,” Garrett concluded.

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