By Lauren Sprague
In the summer of 2020, Kristel Kennedy, a Manheim Township English teacher, is leading a trip to Italy, including stops in Venice, Florence and Rome. Kennedy became interested in heading up trip because of her desire to travel. She also organized a trip to England this summer with Tammy Sweeney. She wanted to see a show at the Globe Theater, so that is what prompted her to plan a trip to England. Italy is also on her bucket list of places to travel, so she decided to work with a travel company called Education First, to set up a trip. Education First is the same company used by the foreign language teachers who also lead trips around the world. This may be convenient for students because if a student happens to be going on a foreign language trip and for some reason is unable to go, they could switch over to the Italy trip in order to prevent them from losing money.
In Venice, the group will see a glassblowing presentation. The students will have time to shop and try authentic Italian food in Florence. While in Rome the group will visit the Colosseum and the Vatican. The Vatican enforces a strict dress code that requires anyone who enters to have their knees and shoulders covered. Kennedy explains that a benefit of going with a travel company is that the company has organized many trips and is aware of any problems that may arise, so they can help the group have an enjoyable trip. She says that with the travel company, “you got this 24 hour guide that’s always with you and can take you around and knows the language.”
In preparation for this trip there will be several meetings throughout the year that will teach students how to buy currency, what adapters and converters they will need, and how to speak common Italian phrases. The students will also learn how to properly pack for this trip and at one meeting the students will practice maneuvering their suitcases together. This will help students prepare for carrying their luggage around Italy and help them reevaluate how much they need to bring.
This trip is not only for students at Manheim Township, so it is open to students from other schools and former students who have already graduated. So far there are about 12 people signed up for the trip. The travel company usually takes group of around 40 and if they do not reach that they sometimes combine with groups from other schools. Students will have until March 2020 to sign up. Kennedy recommends signing up as soon as possible because the cost increases as it gets closer to the trip. She explains that the cost can be manageable if students save up over a longer period of time as opposed to paying all at once. The sooner students start paying, the less the cost will be per month as the cost is divided over more months.
Kennedy believes that the Italy trip will help students gain confidence. She explained that the group will learn how to talk to a TSA agent in the airport which will help students learn good communication skills and learn to be independent. Kennedy believes that this experience will put things into perspective for students because if they are able to remember the things they accomplished in Italy, such as making a transaction with euros or going through airport security, they will have the confidence to do other challenging tasks. Kennedy believes that the trip will help students develop a “better global viewpoint.” She said, “broadening your viewpoint of the world is invaluable.” She explains that this trip should help students see how the world all works together. She said, “It’s amazing how much you learn about culture and you learn about other places and you learn how big the world is and how small we are.” Overall, this trip has the ability to leave a lasting impact on students and is a great opportunity for students to be able to expand their horizons during the summer of 2020.