Each year Trinity Prep students have the chance to travel the world on one of many exciting trips led by teachers. This spring Sra. Omawale and Sra. Weaver organized a 9-day exploratory tour through Spain to inspire and develop intellectual skills and global curiosity as students create lifelong memories.
In preparation for this trip, we sat down with Sra. Omawale and Sra. Weaver to learn more about this opportunity and why global learning is so important in the 21st century.
Can you please share a little bit about the trip?
MO: Trinity Prep students in grades 9-11 are all welcome to join us on this 9-day cultural tour of Spain. We will be moving from the north to the south of this fascinatingly diverse country and visiting modern cities and historic sites.
GW: We will fly overnight to Barcelona, where we will stay for two days. Some of the activities include taking cable cars to the top of a mountain that overlooks the Mediterranean and seeing the Sagrada Familia, the largest unfinished cathedral in the world. We’ll travel via the AVE to Madrid and visit the famous Estadio Santiago Bernabéu (where the Real Madrid soccer team plays), and the Prado Museum, and go on scavenger hunts in the markets. Afterward we’ll go to Seville, a marvelous city, and visit the Cathedral of Seville and the Giralda Tower, etc. We’ll travel to Cordoba to see the Gran Mezquita and walk through the Jewish Quarter. Our last city is Granada, where we tour the Alhambra, a World Heritage site, explore the Albacín, and visit the Royal Chapel where Queen Isabel and King Fernando are buried. The next day we’ll depart from Málaga back to the US.
Why is traveling to a different country and learning about another culture/language/life so important for our students?
MO: International travel teaches us things that we typically can’t learn in a physical classroom or within the borders of our countries of origin. It broadens perspectives, builds confidence, and increases creativity, cognitive flexibility, and empathy. Educational trips like this one allow students to connect across subject areas. For our Spanish language students, it provides them with the opportunity to practice Spanish in authentic settings, which not only inspires but also motivates the students to continue their studies. More than anything, travel builds a sense of connectedness.
GW: Traveling to other countries offers a first-hand experience in which our students come in contact with the culture versus the classroom experience. They learn about painters like Velázquez, El Greco, and Goya and study their paintings from the perspective of a classroom projector. There is a feeling of awe when you stand in front of these magnificent works of art and are able to appreciate the details on the canvas. The same goes for walking through buildings like the Alhambra, la Giralda, or the Royal Chapel.
What is it specifically about traveling that you think is great for our students? Is it confidence? Earning a little independence and freedom? Self-reflection?
MO: Trinity students have the opportunity to grow in ways they never imagined possible while creating lifelong memories when they take part in international school travel. Educational travel exposes students to different cultures and allows them to respect and understand the world as a whole, rather than in segregation or isolation. It promotes a sense of unity and will indeed support our mission of providing students with experiences that allow them to “embrace diversity of thought and perspective.”
GW: Traveling to other countries allows the students to mature and to become more confident. Simple actions like looking for the ticket counter, keeping track of their luggage, passing through security gates, finding the departing gates, and not losing their passports create a sense of growing up and responsibility for themselves. Traveling in school groups away from the supervision of parents allows students to be themselves and to enjoy sightseeing as adults, although they are under our tight supervision. Traveling is a life-changing experience.
Did you ever travel during school, or on a study abroad trip? – and if so, do you have a great memory or story that you would like to share of your personal experience?
MO: Yes, I studied abroad twice in college. I spent six weeks in Salamanca, Spain, the summer before my sophomore year. The Universidad de Salamanca is historic and well renowned for the famous scholars it produced, its special traditions, and its beautiful architecture. My time there was so much fun, and it was filled with language classes, sightseeing, enjoying “la marcha” (Spanish tapas and nightlife), and great shopping. I made new friends, improved my Spanish, and experienced many of the highlights of a summer in Spain. Since that was my first time traveling without a family for this length of time, it was an empowering experience. My semester abroad in Mexico during my junior year was life-changing. I lived with a family for five months in Merida, a beautiful colonial city in the Yucatan peninsula. I took classes conducted in Spanish with Mexican and other international study-abroad students at the anthropology department of Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán. This immersion experience allowed me to access a new level of fluency and cultural integration. What was truly remarkable was seeing how I could create a whole different life in a different country while operating in a second language. I also enjoyed traveling with friends to different parts of that beautiful country when we had vacation time.
GW: I spent two summers at the University of Salamanca as an adult. I had enrolled in their summer graduate program. It was amazing! I met students from many other countries, and we traveled throughout Spain. I built relationships with people very different from me, and we learned that despite our differences, we are people with the same needs. We learned to support each other and to lend a hand when needed. We had many laughs together, and the experience will always be in my heart. Some years later, I traveled to Seville. I attended an AP Spanish Literature workshop with the author of one of the textbooks, Bonnie Bowen. This was a very different experience. It was delightful to meet with such an illustrious person. She had prepared a special tour of Seville, following in the footsteps of many of the writers taught in the AP Spanish Literature course.
**The Spain trip is now at capacity. If you are interested in having your student traveler added to the waitlist, please reach out to Sra. Omawale or Sra. Weaver.**