ODA Expands Global Travel


Marisa Brett, Staff Writer

Can you picture getting on a flight with your school mates and heading to an unknown land?  This vision became a reality last year when a group of students and Ms. Zitani, history teacher, went to Italy. If you missed the trip, don’t worry  you can still travel next summer and during breaks.

EF is an education company that offers a variety of trips including sight-seeing tours, speciality trips called “Summits,” and teacher-designed custom trips.

We’ve helped teachers and students discover the world through culturally immersive educational travel,” says EF in a paragraph from their website.  From the moment your plane lands, you will get a tour guide that accompanies you to each destination. Also, you get a personal guide at every historical site and museum you go to so you won’t have to wait in lines.

“They are a really good tour company, very highly accredited,” says Ms. Zitani.

This next school year, ODA is hoping to expand its global travel by offering students and families three unique and potentially life-changing trips.

The first of the three trips is a trip to Peru led by veteran EF traveler, Ms. Zitani. This trip is differs from the typical EF trip because this is a family trip that occurs over a family-focused holiday, Thanksgiving. Unlike most of ODA’s EF trips, this one is open for students in grades 5-12. Students are invited to bring along a family member. Upper school students can opt to travel without family.

The tour goes to Peru to towns such as Lima and Paracas. Ms. Zitani, Middle and Upper school Spanish teacher Yadira Kirschner, and Lower School Spanish teacher Angela Giorgianni-Mejicanos are the teachers going on the trip. Their Spanish and history backgrounds will add a lot to the trip.

“The part of the trip that I’m most looking forward to is seeing an ancient Inca ruin called Machu Picchu. We have to take a train up to it to see it;  It is one of Unesco’s historical sites. I am excited to practice my Spanish, and I’m excited to go to a country I’ve never been to. I hope to eat a lot of ceviche,” says Ms. Zitani.

“Because we are going on Thanksgiving, we thought students may be more apt to travel if they go with their families over the holiday,” says Ms. Zitani.

The London/Amsterdam trip is a unique trip, as it is a “summit,” where many students meet up from all over the world. The trip is focused on STEM and human rights. A summit is a tour where students attend a “leadership conference tackling significant global issues” (EF Website).

“We are going to places that are working to develop STEM technologies to protect human rights. We fly into London to visit some tech companies in London and then head to Amsterdam to explore a giant system of dams in advance of our conference. There will be 3000 students in total at the conference when all the groups come together,” says organizer Ms. Giraud, ODA’s Director of Collaborative Learning and Educational Outreach.

“EF has a long tradition of working with students; they have recently expanded from what they do to purposeful travel. It gives students structured learning opportunities while traveling,” says Ms. Giraud.

Ten students will depart this adventure on June 19.

The third EF trip that is in development is the Ireland trip. This trip is still in the planning stages but will likely take place over spring break 2017.

The tour will explore the different cities of Ireland and see some scenic spots. Upper School Division Head Mrs. Dougherty and World Language teacher Mr. Lebras will be accompanying the group.

“This is gonna be a trip like no other. The place we are going to go in Ireland is very special. The highlight of the trip is to take a boat to a small island called Skellig Michael. In  the early and mid middle ages, it was settled by a group of monks who lived in stone huts. There was nothing growing but grass but and they survived for centuries there,” says Mr. Lebras.

Some other highlights of the trip include a visit to the National Irish heritage park,  the walk and shop in Dublin, and attending some real Irish music events.

This specific tour is unique because Mrs. Dougherty and Mr. Lebras were able to go through the itinerary that EF made for them, and tweak it to their liking. They decided to  minimize the tourist life, and maximize the adventure.

“They had a prepared itinerary, and we got to change it,” says Mr. Lebras.

Sign up today! You won’t regret traveling. You will get an experience unlike any other that you could get at ODA.