This year, some Braden River students and parents will spend their summers touring Europe.
The trip, led by Spanish and French teacher Audrey Yates, will take place June 17 through July 2. It includes stops in France, Spain and Italy. The students and their guardians will be able to experience the culture of the European countries and have the opportunity to take in the culture and food of the Mediterranean.
Yates was 14 years old when she first saw the magnificent sights of Spain.
“It was an eye-opening experience,” she said. “It opened me up to what I never would have experienced. I knew the first time I went that traveling would be a very important aspect of my life.”
She fell in love with the area, and last year led Braden River’s first European trip. After its success, she began planning the second one.
“I’ve been planning the trip since January of last year,” Yates said.
This year’s trip has 10 travelers, compared to the 10 to 15 from the 2008 trip. Yates blames the smaller number on the economic downturn. The price for a program fee is $3,005, and the price for departure fees is $504, as well as the lifetime membership fee, which is $95.
“If last year’s students had signed up this year, the group would have had 10 to 15 more people going,” she said. “The problem lies in the fact that last year, the economy was very turbulent. The kids were ready to go again, but the parents realized that things like summers abroad were not on the budget anymore, so they decided not to risk it.”
However, Yates chooses to remain optimistic. She may not have a big group, but she still hopes that they’ll enjoy themselves.
“I hope [this trip] is more than just travel to them,” she said. “I hope they come back with more knowledge of these different countries and different cultures.”
Last year, junior Alexis Rosenbaum went on the Europe trip with her mother, Susan. That trip featured England — home of the world’s most famous royal family.
“I really enjoyed seeing sights like Big Ben and the London Tower Bridge,” Alexis Rosenbaum said. “I remember we saw a play in London, and we even went to Stratford-Upon-Avon, were Shakespeare lived.”
Her memories of last year are all recalled fondly, but her expectations for this year have reached new heights.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing the Colosseum, and Vatican City,” Alexis Rosenbaum said. “Mostly, just the better sights.”
This year’s itinerary includes stops in Barcelona, Paris, the French Riviera, Vatican City and more. And although it all sounds like a perfect vacation, it won’t all be fun. The group will depart from Washington, D.C., and endure an eight-hour plane ride before arriving in Paris.
However, Yates said the flight will be worth it.
“Yes, it’s going to be a long flight, but once we get there, we’re not stopping,” she said. “We’re hitting Paris like it’s never been hit before.”