School trips abroad resume in June with Spain

Kara Allen, Geyser Staff Writer

Imagine being able to see the Berlin Wall in Germany or the Spanish royal palace. The World Languages trips at Park High School make this dream a possibility. In order to go on either the Germany or Spain trip, a student must take at least two years of a language.

According to Keaton Ramm, a World Languages teacher at Park High and a facilitator of the trips, “Communication is what allows us to communicate with other people. There is no equivalent to communicating to someone in a different language. It gives you a new perspective of yourself and of the world. It is invaluable and makes you more well-rounded as a person.”

Daniel McGrath, another World Languages teacher at Park High School and facilitator of the trips, finds his favorite part of the trips is watching the students’ amazement as they experience a new country.

Although the pandemic cancelled the Germany trip for the summer of 2022, McGrath has high hopes of going to Germany next year. “Despite current world unrest, the idea is that we alternate between Spain and Germany each year,” he said.

Germany’s economy is much more robust than Spain’s so Germany can afford to close its borders and enact strict preventative measures towards the pandemic whereas Spain cannot. However, requirements to enter and exit Spain are still quite extensive. The U.S. Embassy in Spain indicates each traveler is required to provide a negative COVID-19 test as well as proof of full immunization.

However, while COVID-19 cancelled the Germany trip for this year, future World Languages students still have much to look forward to in future years. As for the German trip, students experience the Berlin Wall, the Holocaust Memorial, a concentration camp, hiking in the Alps, multiple museums, and bike rides through prominent parks and squares. In Spain, students see the Spanish royal palace, multiples beaches and castles, and the site where King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella commissioned Christopher Columbus to explore the New World.

This year, there are 19 students going on the Spain trip, lasting June 11 to June 30.  The students going to Spain have done a lot of fundraising for the trip, from working long hours at summer jobs, asking for support from friends and family, and selling goods at the local farmers’ market.

For most of the trip, students live with host families, going to school and participating in local activities. Host-families and students are matched based upon information compiled in a form filled out by the student containing their likes, dislikes, and general personality, including an introductory letter. While the trips are expensive at around $4,000 to $5,000 dollars, McGrath recommends every eligible student make an effort to go. “I think travel is the most transformative experience one can have. It builds confidence, establishes lifelong relationships, opens eyes, and promotes international relations,” he said.