By Terry Rogers
Over their April Spring Break, members of the Milford High School International Club travelled to Spain as part of a school-sponsored program to expose them to other cultures. The students spent three nights in Madrid, one day and night each in Granada and Seville as well as three nights in Torremolinos. The Torremolinos leg of the trip included a visit to Gibraltar.
“It was so great that the students get to see a whole other world beyond Milford,” Jan Fleming, coordinator of the trip, said. “Many of the students had never been on an airplane before and I give them a lot of credit for having the confidence to go so far away. Trips like this are important because the students get to experience different cultures and bring lessons they learned in the classroom to life. They also learn to be responsible and work with others as we were paired up with two other schools, one from Canada and one from Los Angeles, California.”
While in Madrid, some of the students and chaperones attended a bullfight while others visited the town of Toledo. Students were able to visit the Prado Museum and Royal Palace as well. In Granada, the group visited the Alhambra and Royal Chapel while in Seville they visited the Alcazar of Seville, the Plaza de Espana and the Cathedral. Several students climbed the Giralda bell tower.
“We spent a day in the caves and visiting the monkeys in Gibraltar,” Ms. Fleming said. “We also enjoyed getting our feet wet in the Mediterranean. The most rewarding thing as an educator is the look on the students’ faces when they get to see and experience something new and they really appreciate it. It is also rewarding to see their confidence increase once they’ve been traveling a few days. Students learn to navigate the metro, talk to the locals in Spanish and try new foods that they never would have tried before.”
Ms. Fleming said the biggest challenge with trips like these was convincing students to go as they are often reluctant to travel outside the country. She said that students worry they won’t like the food or won’t be able to communicate. Students who took the trip say that it was an experience they will never forget.
“Spain is underrated by a lot,” Spence Mundorf, a senior at Milford, said. “More people should be planning trips to Spain to see the history it has to offer. The Alhambra in Granada was my favorite part of the trip. One of the great parts about Spanish cities is that you can go into any back-alley shop and everyone is friendly and the shops are full of unique products.”
Ryan Johnson, a ninth grader who took the trip, said that his favorite parts of the trip included eating tapas in a restaurant that had once been a dungeon during the Spanish inquisition. He also enjoyed swimming in the Mediterranean and seeing the many sights in Madrid.
“My favorite parts of the trip were going to Gibraltar,” sophomore Jaxson Turner said. “I especially liked the wild monkeys, jumping into the Mediterranean sea and watching the bullfight in Madrid.”
The International Club has visited several foreign countries over the years, including trips to Italy, France, Monaco, Ireland and Scotland. Ms. Fleming said that there is not a trip planned for the upcoming school year at this time.
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