On Monday April 13, 30 Lincoln Academy students will fly from Boston to Salamanca, Spain. They will spend nearly two weeks in Spain, where students will live with host families and attend intensive Spanish language classes, as well as tour historic sites and eat lots of Spanish food.
Lourdes and Carl Von Vogt, Lincoln Academy Language teachers who have been running overseas trips for over 20 years, say this is the largest group of students they have ever taken abroad. Mrs. Von Vogt describes the trip this way: “Our goal has always been to mirror, as much as possible, a study abroad experience, but in brief. To immerse the students in the language and culture, so that they see it ‘first hand,’ as it were, not filtered through a tour guide or hotels. That’s why we stay with families and students attend Spanish classes at a language institute for three hours in the morning, and then we do various excursions.”
These excursions include visiting museums and cathedrals as well as touring gardens, taking salsa dancing lessons, and eating in Spanish restaurants.
A few short days before their trip, participating students are bursting with excitement. “Not many people our age get the opportunity to travel the world and have this kind of cultural experience,” says senior Jordan Metz, who will be traveling to Europe for the first time.
Sophomore Anna Sirois says, “I am going because I enjoy Spanish class, and I am excited to learn about another culture and connect with the people. This trip will really test our skills, and we’ll have a chance to practice some of the things we have learned in class.”
Of course, there is some nervousness, too. “I am a little nervous about packing. It is hard to figure out what to bring for such a long trip. Also I am nervous about the jet lag. We will fly overnight, and then we’ll have to go all day without sleeping,” says senior Bayley Pendleton. “But I am really excited about the trip, and about going out to eat Spanish food! Like Mr. Von Vogt says: I don’t want to spend money on anything that I can’t eat!”
The students all mentioned how affordable the trip is. $1800 covers the cost of plane tickets, ground travel in Spain, food, and entry to museums. How is it possible to keep costs so low?
“Keeping the trip financially accessible to all of our student body is one of our major goals,” says Mrs. Von Vogt. “We achieve that in a variety of ways: first off, we don’t use a trip organization (like EFS, etc.) which reduces the overhead. Carl and I plan everything, using a travel agent (who’s fantastic!!) for the flights, and serving as the guide for all of the excursions ourselves.” The International Club Dinner in the fall is the only major fundraiser for the trip, and those funds help pay for some of the excursion costs, which lowers the total cost of the trip for families. “Living with a family who provides breakfast and dinner also helps keep the costs down,” says Mrs. Von Vogt.
Senior Norma Leeman traveled on the Lincoln Academy Science trip to Costa Rica two years ago, and thinks this trip will be very different. “On the Costa Rica trip the group did everything together. In Spain we will all stay with different host families, and we will have more independence. I am excited about that, and excited to have the experience of traveling the world!”
Follow the Spain trip through daily posts on the International Club Facebook Page.