During the week of February 18th, some seniors were learning outside of the classrooms of Hills West. Every year, the LOTE department sets up foreign language trips to Europe. There was a trip to France and Italy and also another trip to Spain and Portugal. Because of these trips, students were excused from school for around a week and a half.
It’s always an extremely fulfilling experience to see a new place, especially one on the other side of the world. Also, the ability to spend a fair amount of time in a foreign country after learning about the native language and culture makes the experience even more special. Senior Varsha Katari, who went to Spanish and Portugal, commented, “I really liked experiencing everything firsthand, like seeing the Prado Museum after learning a lot about it.” She also explained that she loved being in a different environment for a few days, and of course the food. “I really enjoyed visiting old cities, such as Granada, that are so rich in culture and history and do not resemble anything that we have here,” said Ms. Espinal.
Students who attended the Spain/Portugal trip visited Madrid, Toledo, Granada, Seville, then Lisbon in Portugal. Students had the opportunity to visit museums like the Prado and Museo Reina Sofia, Roman ruins, castles from the times when the Arabs ruled the Iberian Peninsula, and famous cathedrals. One particularly important attraction was definitely the Reina Sofia, as it is in many published lists of the “Top 20 Ranked” and “Top 20 Most Visited“ art museums worldwide. For students who attended the Italy/France trip, the schedule included going to Rome, Florence, and Paris. Students had the opportunity to see the Coliseum, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, the Palace of Versailles, and the Louvre. “Going to Italy and France was an amazing experience and the more I think about it, the more unbelievable it seems. Being miles away from home on a different continent with friends from school is crazy in itself, but also thinking about the amount we saw in such a short period of time makes it a trip I’ll never forget,” commented Mia Pitsironis. After such positive feedback from all who attended the trip, many juniors are looking forward to similar opportunities. “I think going on the foreign language trip will be a wonderful experience to explore the world and the fact that I’ll be going with my friends makes it that much better! I’m looking forward to it,” said junior Danielle Carley who is considering going on one of the trips next year.
The wonderful experiences of being in a foreign country provide both an educational opportunity and lasting memories.