By Alessandra Colella
At Byram, so many opportunities and adventures are waiting for students. We have access to countless amounts of extracurriculars, AP courses, and athletics. Not only are these opportunities granted to us within our own little Armonk bubble, but students have been able to have opportunities to experience new things all across the world! After each school break, stories are told about exciting travels from students. Many students are not only able to experience new cultures with their families but also with the company of their peers and teachers.
Primarily organized by the art and foreign language departments, organized tripsabroad have become something that students hope to have the opportunity to do throughout their high school career. These trips are planned through EF Tours. Art teacher Mrs. Karlin says that, “they have offices in every city” and describes them as extremely reliable and accommodating. Students have been taken to several different places throughout South America and Europe. Last year during spring break, the language teachers took Italian and French students on a trip to Europe. Simultaneously, art students took a similar trip and the groups were even able to meet up along the way! When asking Italian teachers Mrs. Graniero and Mr. Dimartino about their trip last year, they mentioned that they took their students to France and Italy with French teacher Ms. McCarthy. While in Europe, they visited Paris, Nice, Monaco, Pisa, Florence, and Rome. In previous years, they said that in 2007 and 2011 they visited just Italy with their students. Mr. Dimartino said that they visited Rome, Florence, and Venice and Mrs. Graniero added that on the trip in 2011, “we also went to Napoli and Pompeii.” While the Language department has taken their students on several trips in the past, the art department’s first excursion was last year. Mrs. Karlin said that, “since Mrs. Menasche and my kids had gone off to college, we finally had the opportunity to do something like this.” They visited Paris, Provence, and Barcelona with ten art students. Their trip was very successful and in the future, they plan to take a trip for art students every two years.
It is quite evident that these trips offer opportunities for students to experience new cultures and visit a number of breathtaking locations. Mrs. Graniero said that the purpose of the trip was to have the students be truly exposed to the culture. Students who were taken on this trip last year were primarily upperclassmen and had lots of experience with their target language. While learning the grammar, doing reading comprehension, and conversing with fellow students definitely allows you to learn the language; Mrs. Graniero says, “being directly immersed in the culture is one unique experience.” She says that the experience is more “hands-on” and students are able to have a direct contact with the language and with the culture.” Using the knowledge of the language that you’ve been learning in a real-world experience is undoubtedly an extremely important and useful experience to have had.
The trips that the art department takes their students on often focus on museums and observing the art. Mrs. Karlin says that “we do take kids to museums in the city all the time, but this is just something that is a little bit different.” Throughout the world, art and perspective change, and Mrs. Karlin says that it is “to see how the museum relates to the city and the history of the city.”
Traveling the world is especially enjoyable when you are experiencing all of these incredible things with some of your closest friends and your favorite teachers. Mrs. Karlin says that, “to travel with your parents is very different from traveling for more educational reasons.” Mrs. Karlin described that traveling with your school and your teachers differ from a normal vacation because even though “you may be going to the same place, you can notice something different.” While being surrounded by the same people that you would every day at school, instead of walking the halls at Byram with them, you are walking along the canals in Venice, resulting in that interaction changing drastically. Mrs. Graniero says, “you see students in a completely different perspective and they see you in a completely different perspective.” Mr. Dimartino adds that the teachers have the opportunity to “really get to know those students well because you are spending days and nights with them around the clock.” Not only do chaperone teachers have to uphold their role as teacher for the students, but they also have to assume the role of guardian and parent.
As for the future there are a few abroad trips that teachers plan to take their students on next year. Mrs. Karlin and Mrs. Menasche are taking their art students on a trip to Italy and visiting the cities of Venice, Florence, and Rome. The language department is taking Spanish students in the classes of 2018 and 2019 to Cuba. Rebecca Freedman, a junior that went on the art trip last year, says that she “built incredible friendships that continue to mean the world to me” and describes her experience as “so rewarding . . . I would highly suggest it to anyone.” Traveling the world is an amazing experience and doing it in this way makes the experience all that more exciting. If anyone is interested in visiting Italy or Cuba next year, contact the art or foreign language departments!