Bonjour e Arrivederci: Pres Summer Trips

Catherine Bowman, Managing Editor

A summer breeze blows through your hair as you stare up at the impressive structure of The Vatican, or you’re surrounded by your friends as you relax on a boat floating on the clear blue sea. If you get the opportunity to participate in one of Pres’ many summer trips, this could be your experience.

Over the summer, the school organizes trips to give Pres students the opportunity to go to  a number of different countries that vary every year. This past summer, students had the choice to visit Italy and Greece for a two-week vacation, try an exchange trip to France where students stayed with host families and experienced French daily life, or a science trip to the Bahamas.

Both of these trips had much to offer in the form of learning about new cultures, making new friends, and getting to explore a completely new country. “My room was not really people that I normally hang out with and we got so close over the trip, so I thought that was really awesome,” said senior Maddie Whitney, who participated in the trip to Italy and Greece.

“I decided to go on this trip, one because my brothers had gone on study abroad kind of trips in high school and I just thought it sounded incredible,” she said. Her second reason was simply “two weeks in Italy and Greece hanging out with your friends and seeing all these incredible monuments from times past.”

The whole experience was a very positive one, according to Whitney. Students who went on the trip spent a day on a boat in Capri, explored the island of Mykonos, and experienced the city of Florence. Whitney said, “I fell in love with Florence. It really inspired me, I want to study abroad there in college now. Going there just for two days I just fell in love with the city.”

Senior Maggie Curtin had a similar experience. “My favorite part was getting to go to two foreign countries with some of my best friends in the world and seeing ancient history and ancient art all come together,” said Curtin.

Curtin’s experience was also educational, as she learned a few words in Italian while exploring the Italian cities. “‘Andiamo’ means ‘Let’s go’…‘Ciao Bella’ means ‘Hello Beautiful’ and that’s what all the guys in the restaurants would say to try and get you to come in and eat at their restaurant,” said Curtin.

Whitney also learned some interesting things about the culture of the countries she visited while on the trip.  “I learned that in Greece the pedestrian does not have the right of way. I did not know that and I’m not great at crossing streets. I don’t really look both ways all the time, I’m working on it, I’m getting better. But in Greece when you don’t do that they’re just going to plow right through you. So that was one of the first lessons I learned when I arrived in Greece and it’s definitely the most important lesson I learned.”

In contrast to the Italy and Greece trip, the France trip was more of an immersion experience for the Pres girls that traveled there. French teacher Monica Stampfl organized the trip as she has been doing for the past 13 years.

Students who travel to France through Presentation have the unique experience of staying with French host families outside of Paris. “[The trip] was a really incredible learning experience that turned out to be much less scary than I expected. Staying with a host family was amazing because after a long day of touring around the south of France, we could return home to our hosts, and comfortably spend the rest of the day with our French families,” said junior Pilar Mellon-Reyes.

Senior Evan Heath also really enjoyed her experience with her French family, and she learned some things from them that she might not have been able to as a simple visitor. “I’d say they live a little simpler than we do here. Like they don’t have dryers, they dry everything by hand, they pin them up. A lot of them don’t have air conditioning, which was great!” she joked.

A student that had a previous connection to France is sophomore Anjelle Johnson. Johnson is a native speaker of French and has family who live in Paris and Lyon, but she had never been to Montpellier before, the city where the students stayed with their host families.

“I learned that in Montpellier in the South they eat a lot of fish, especially squid and ink pasta. I actually ate this and it was so delicious. Another thing would be being able to take the bus and walk around the whole town on our own feeling very safe,” said Johnson.

Next summer, Pres will be offering an immersion trip to Salamanca, Spain, a science research trip to Ecuador, a exchange trip to France, and an exciting trip to Ireland. Make sure to check out these great opportunities!