At the beginning of summer break, a group of 33 Fort Lauderdale High School students and five teachers took to Europe on a 10-day venture they will never forget. This journey began when FLHS social science teacher, Ms. Alexandra Thomas, came up with the idea while teaching AICE European History during virtual learning in the pandemic. She believed it would be a great idea for students to explore the regions they were studying about. The group traveled to London, Paris, Venice, and Rome.
“I feel that travel is such a transformative experience,” Ms. Thomas shared. “We learn about new places when we travel, but also about our own place in the world. I wanted to provide the opportunity for students to travel abroad as I did not until I was in my 20s and it totally expanded my idea about what was possible.”
The trip was organized through the company Education First Tours. They provide expert tour guides and guided sightseeing to create hands-on experiences that support students in their journey to becoming well-rounded, cultured individuals. Their trips aim to influence students and help them see life from a different perspective.
Sean Halfpenny (10) said, “I feel this trip influenced the way I see the world by showing me the way of life on the other side of the globe. Life was completely different than how I thought and spending 10 days in Europe showed me the true beauty of it.”
There were many other things that students were looking forward to experiencing, varying from learning about the history of the classic cities, exploring them, and of course, trying the food.
“Not only did we enjoy the tourism, it was important for us to learn about the place,” said Leila Jean-Charles. “Being able to live a day in the life of these different groups of people was an amazing experience. Eating local meals, going to not only hotspots but local gems, and overall learning the history of the place.”
It seems unanimous that the community building of this trip made an impact on every student. Though they all attend the same school, not many already knew each other.
Kayla Duhaney (11) remarked, “After spending 10 days with these people, it definitely was a bonding experience. There were just a lot of moments I’ll never forget, that are extra special, because I was surrounded by friends.”
“From sharing desserts and treats in Rome, to surviving the security checkpoint at Charles De Gaulle Airport, and dancing along to live music in Venice gelato in hand, the FLHS students on our trip represented us so well abroad and made me proud to be a Flying L!,” said Ms. Thomas. “One thing I learned from our London, Paris, Venice, and Rome tour was that being in places unfamiliar to us helps unify us; we seek out what we have in common. It was a beautiful and heartwarming thing to witness as an educator.”