Bessemer students spend spring break traveling abroad
April 20, 2019
BESSEMER - Seventeen Bessemer high school students recently spent their spring break touring Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland.
The entourage also included two recent graduates, eight parents, an aunt and a grandparent, according to trip leader and German and math teacher Tracy Rowe. She said the 10-day trip had been in the planning stages for 17 months.
Students experienced first-hand the history and culture of central Europe, said Rowe, adding the tour company did a good job of incorporating history lessons along the way.
"Students remember so much more through experience than by reading about it. Prior to every stop, our tour director, Frank, would provide information about the area we were visiting relating to its past and current rulers, culture, economics and fun facts," said Rowe. "Much of the information related to World War II tied into what the current U.S. history students were studying at school. Students also increased their understanding of various architectural styles."
The main stops on the tour included Rothenburg, Germany, with its old wall and criminal museum; Munich, Germany, and its old town hall; the concentration camp Dachau; Neuschwanstein Castle; Innsbruck, Austria, with a visit to the Swarovski crystal store; Venice, Italy, with a glass blowing demonstration, a gondola ride, and visits to Doge's palace and St. Mark's Basilica; and lunch in Como, Italy.
In Lucerne, Switzerland, there were visits to the Chapel Bridge and Lion Monument - a tribute to the Swiss Guard, a cogwheel train trip up to Mount Rigi, a boat tour on Lake Lucerne and a visit to a Jesuit church. There was also a drive through the Black Forest and the Alps, and a visit to Heidelberg, Germany and its castle.
Rowe said she was glad many of the students used their German language skills to order food or to pay for souvenirs and how many students said they felt more comfortable in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, than Italy, since they could read the signs and menus.
To Rowe, the ability to understand the local language reinforces the importance of learning a foreign language while in school.
The group also enjoyed warmer weather in Europe, than back home. Most days the high temperature was between 50 and 65 degrees.
Junior Eliza Stone had a great time.
"I loved walking down the side streets and seeing the tiny shops and restaurants. It was a nice break from the center squares and a glimpse of the originality of the cities. I also enjoyed looking at the old architecture and buildings," said Stone.
Freshman Teddy Wittla-Sprague said, "I really enjoyed the scenery in Switzerland, the food was amazing in Italy and Germany and I loved hearing about the history of the places we visited."