Your Impact: School Trips

Imagine sitting in a classroom in Rennes, France. Your teacher is giving a lesson about Montmajour Abbey off the coast of Arles in the south of France. As you look at pictures, you squint to try and see the architectural details. It is hard to imagine what life must have been like when the abbey was active. A month later, you’re standing on the steps of the abbey. All of the details that you strained to see are now right in front of you to witness and touch. As you walk the halls, you take the same steps as the Benedictine monks who lived there centuries before and you can envision their daily rituals in action. Your task is to introduce the abbey to your peers using the knowledge you learned in class.

In an English classroom in Zaragoza, Spain, you are reading A Woman Unknown by Lucia Graves. You and your classmates engage in a discussion about overtourism, prompted by the author’s reflections. Fast forward some weeks, and you are all gathered around a local professor in Barcelona. He is explaining the effects of overtourism and gentrification in that city. You and your classmates, equipped with the knowledge you gained in English class, take on the roles of locals, politicians and investors to debate what to do to an abandoned building in the center of town. After the debate, you all visit the spot where the building was to discover what really happened.

Meanwhile, in Italy, your Ancient History Through Art class has taken to the streets of Florence. A former SYA teacher-turned-tour-guide has developed lessons with your teachers to help you view art in the context of patronage. You learn to think critically about the art that surrounds you in this city resembling an outdoor museum, asking questions such as, “Who funded this project?” You gain a deeper appreciation for the value of the trades — like weaving and metal working and bricklaying — and begin to understand the relationship of the economy with the arts, and its role in the birth of the Renaissance in Italy.

These are the moments that make the SYA experience so magical. When the lessons students have learned in the classroom are brought to life before their eyes. When the student becomes the teacher, introducing people, places and concepts using the knowledge they have gained. When students debate a relevant issue, learning how to engage in perspective taking and critical thinking.

Thank you for making these unforgettable moments possible for our students by giving to the SYA Fund. School trips are an essential ingredient of the SYA experience that the SYA Fund helps cover each year. Traveling with teachers and classmates to another city or region brings history and culture to life for our students. It exposes them to the many marvels that exist in their back yard abroad.

Click on the accordion links below to see pictures from the most recent educational trips in France, Italy and Spain, and read about some of the interesting things they learned.

And if you haven’t yet made an SYA Fund gift this year, please consider doing so to help continue making these trips possible!

SYA France

SYA Italy

SYA Spain