Restrictive overseas trips offset student learning

Alex Devas, Contributing Writer

The Languages Other Than English (LOTE) Department argues that the purpose of the trips overseas is to open up the students’ eyes to the world beyond Port Washington. However, can this be true for all students? The administration permits only one trip every year. Thus, LOTE department chose students who take foreign languages because they are more familiar with the environment, the history, the literature, and the culture of countries whose languages they are learning.

Over spring break, 29 juniors and seniors who take Italian or Latin went on a school trip to Italy. The students visited Venice, Florence, and Rome in the nine days that they spent abroad. This is the first time that students travelled to Italy as the field trip from the past two years were both to Spain. The trip next year is planned for Panama, a Spanish-speaking country. This leaves those students who take French as their language without the opportunity to travel to either France or a country where locals speak a French dialect. To enhance our knowledge on foreign cultures and customs, and to have the experience of visiting another country, Schreiber should offer additional trips that are not selective to the language a student takes.

Going on a trip to Italy, Spain, or any  other foreign country is bound to be memorable. You get the ability to be in a foreign country and experience new cultures, customs, and traditions that you could not have learned in a traditional learning environment. Schreiber offers students this opportunity, but only if the country speaks the foreign language you take; Italian students go to Italian-speaking countries and the same for Spanish-learning students in order to blend the language these students study with the culture of a physical place. The only exception to the rule was last year when students taking any foreign language class had the opportunity to participate in the Spain trip because of the lack of initial participants. However, since English is a commonly spoken language all around the world, high school students could survive a week in a foreign country without knowing the local dialect. If not, learning the basic native language prior to the trip would allow students to travel to a foreign country without much difficulty.

Given that there is not a significant language barrier, adding more trips would be very beneficial to students’ personal growth. Only having trips to countries that are oriented to your foreign language or to those partaking in the foreign language curriculum, restricts students and certain cultures.

The Foreign Language Department acknowledges the unfortunate but necessary restriction on students who can attend the trip.

“From next year, we are opening these trips to all students who study a language,” said LOTE teacher Ms. Korba-Rapp. “So many students are interested but we must draw a line. We can’t afford to have any problems with students misbehaving overseas. As a result, we have to take students who we know and recommend.”

We learn so much about various different countries from school that actually visiting these places would be a great experience. You could see where Louis XIV ate breakfast everyday in the Palace of Versailles in France or where the Berlin Wall once stood in Germany. When it comes to these historical sights, it is one thing to learn about them and see pictures in a textbook and another to actually visit them. There is also no downside to adding more cultural school trips.

“I think it is a good idea to add more trips abroad because we spend so much time learning about the culture that we barely get to experience it outside of school,” said sophomore Andrew Falzone. “Overall, it would be an amazing experience for both the students and teachers.”

Schreiber adding more school trips would be very beneficial not just to students but teachers alike. It would encourage more students to visit a foreign country and learn the culture and customs of that nation. It would be both educational and aptly adventurous for all.

“There should be trips to French speaking countries,” said sophomore Maria Kogan. “Just because there are more students who take Spanish, doesn’t mean that students who take French shouldn’t have the same opportunity.”