One of the many great things Providence offers its students is the chance to travel. All students must earn three credits in a foreign language in order to graduate; after earning two of those credits, students have the chance to visit a country where the language they have chosen to study is spoken. For Spanish students, the next opportunity comes in 2021 when several upper schoolers will visit Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.
“I joined Providence faculty in 2015, and my first trip with students was to Costa Rica in 2017. I’m excited for this one as well!” says Fran Ramirez, upper school Spanish Teacher. Spanish students will be traveling under the leadership of Education First educational tours. Ramirez has been working closely with the company to lay the groundwork for a great trip. Six students have already enrolled and many have expressed interest.
Although the 2021 trip shares similarities with past outings, Ramirez noted the some exciting differences about the approach for this group. “In Costa Rica,” she remarked, “we focused on ecotourism; in Spain [in 2019], we focused on cultural tourism, but in Ecuador, between Quito and the Galapagos Islands, we will have the best of both worlds.”
On the first of nine days abroad, the group will fly to Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, next they will visit the Santo Domingo Monastery. From there, the trip takes a turn away from metropolitan areas and explores some of the amazing natural sights of the islands themselves; from Twin Craters to lava tunnels, Giant Tortoises and a boat outing to San Cristobal Island (renowned for facilitating encounters with wildlife). The students will also have a chance to visit the market town of Otavalo, where they will see weaving demonstrations and have an opportunity to shop for handmade goods and other souvenirs.
Olivia Eck `20, shared her experience from the 2019 trip to Spain, “I had such a great time…” She added, “I met great people from other schools and learned a lot about myself and the culture. I loved being immersed in the language and absorbing all the sights. It was so life-changing to experience another country the way we did.” The language trips have benefited many students, which is why there is a buzz of excitement for the summer of 2021.
Cecilia Ahlers `21, is in Spanish III right now and is already preparing for the upcoming adventure. She stated, “Being able to experience foreign cultures helps young people to see the world through a different pair of eyes; being given a chance to see a new way of life helps us recognize the world is bigger than just Minnesota.”