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Ella's April Vacation


Ella S. is currently a senior at SYA France and a blogger for the Campus Reporter program. She comes to SYA from University School of Nashville in Tennessee. 

As I saw my friends from home posting pictures from senior spring break at the beach, I managed to keep my envy at bay by imagining my own spring break, or vacances d’avril, that would come in a mere 10 days. Writing this blog post from the south of France and five days into break, I can say wholeheartedly that it’s been absolutely amazing.

The first week is spent with the school, with half of the students going to Montpelier and the remaining to Marseille. I was put in the latter group. Our hotel is in a town outside of Marseille called Carry-le-rouet, situated on the beautiful Mediterranean. We’ve spent our days exploring Marseille, learning about history and culture in southern France, as well as taking full use of the warm weather with kayaking, paddle boarding, and rope courses. This year, our group has been really lucky with the weather. Today was by far my favorite day, and it was the one planned by the students beforehand.

Last summer when I knew I was doing SYA, I did some research on travel destinations in France (I was planning for independent travel early, of course). I fell in love with the Calanques, a natural park in the south of France, and a neighboring town called Cassis. I knew that I had to find a way to go some point in the year.

Fast forward to a lunchtime meeting to plan the student’s day over break, and I had the perfect proposal drawn up. Today we ended up hiking a picturesque section of the Calanques, including a picnic lunch at the end, followed by exploring the town of Cassis (and eating the best chocolate ice cream of my life). Our day in the village ended with an afternoon boat ride through the Calanques. We even stopped at the highest cliff in France! It was the perfect day, one I had been waiting for since June.

In two days I’m leaving with my friends for the second week of break. We’re spending four nights in Lisbon, two in Porto, and three in Barcelona. It took weeks of debates, research, and planning, but now that it’s just around the corner, we all are psyched. Vacations in France bring both relaxation and adventure, and I know I’ll get a healthy dose of both during these two weeks. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to independently travel across Europe, allowing for new cultural experiences in true spirit of the SYA mission.

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