By Maggie Cornejo and Alex Aguilera
The Paul VI French Department made the seven-hour journey to France this Easter break. The group of French students had the chance to see some of France’s greatest landscapes, including the Eiffel Tower. Emily Arnold ‘17 says the trip was one of the greatest opportunities she has had at Paul VI.
“The people are way different,” says Arnold on how France differs from Virginia. “They even look and act different! The buildings and architecture are very different from here. It was just a completely different atmosphere in France, but it was a nice and friendly atmosphere.”
“My favorite thing about the culture was that everyone in France dressed so nicely,” says Arnold about the fashion in France. “They were very fashionable people, and I enjoyed people-watching and looking at all the cute outfits that the French girls would wear!”
One of the best things about the trip was not staying in one hotel every night, say attendees. One night, the students had the chance to stay in a cottage.
Also during Easter break, Paul VI Chinese students took a trip for the first time with the two-year-old Paul VI Chinese Department to China where they visited various sites, including Shanghai and Beijing, where students could finally put the Chinese they had studied to work. Students were immersed in the culture of China through food, language, culture, and interaction with citizens.
Mrs. Liangyan Wang, Paul VI’s Chinese teacher, told Panther Press she let the students relax and enjoy the trip, but the students still learned from immersion in conversation. For example, Mrs. Wang described how students bargained in Chinese in the market, ordered food at restaurants, and communicated with the local people. The Great Wall was a crowd favorite. “Nothing can compare to the experience of climbing the Great Wall, but the students were also enchanted with the friendliness of the people,” she says.
The students shared a coach bus with a high school from New York, but learned about China with the help of their own tour director. A typical day was busy for students. Early in the morning, around 7 a.m., students headed to breakfast to get ready for a day of tourist attractions, touring until 7 p.m.
Wang believes the trip was beneficial. “Getting to know the culture, history, architecture, and the personal lives of the people who live there was an experience that none of them will soon forget. “ The group had the opportunity to visit three cities, including Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai. In Shanghai, students were immersed in the culture by visiting a middle school and communicating with students.
The trips that Paul VI students had the chance to make are an experience that they will never forget—anyone that has the opportunity to take one in the future will agree.
Looking Ahead at Summer 2015 Trips
This summer, another group of PVI students will travel to Spain and Portugal for language study, and Campus Ministry is leading two groups of students to Banica, Dominican Republic for a week of missionary work. Check out what they plan to see, and what lies ahead for these panther globetrotters!
This summer, PVI Spanish students will be traveling to Spain and Portugal for the trip of a lifetime. Led by PVI Spanish teacher Señora Aldana and Señor Pazo, this “gran fiesta” will actually begin 3,584 miles from Paul VI in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, before the group travels to Evora, Algarve, and finally Spain. Once in Spain, they will travel another 580 miles to visit Córdoba, Madrid, Toledo, and Barcelona, while visiting churches, mosques, museums, and palaces all over the Iberian peninsula.
This will be Sra. Aldana’s second time taking Paul VI students on this trip, and Sr. Pazo has led trips with the school to Spain on multiple occasions in the past, making for a great experience for first-time and seasoned panther travellers alike!
“[I’m] excited to go to the Prado museum and see all of the paintings” said Mikey McDermott ‘16, who will be going on the trip for a second time after travelling to Spain with Paul VI last summer. The Prado museum is located in downtown Madrid, and hosts some of the finest and oldest European artwork. Some of the pieces date back to the 1100’s, and includes work from very famous artists such as Diego Velazquez, Francisco de Goya, and El Greco.
Not only will Mikey and his peers be looking forward to immersing themselves in the Iberian culture and languages, but they will even take part in a salsa dance lesson in Spain! ¡Que divertido! Although the signup deadline for this trip has passed, keep an “ojo” out for another trip like this in the near future!
Also this summer, Paul VI will send several dozen students on a mission trip to Banica, in the Dominican Republic. While there, the students will take part in several service projects for the community, as well as interact with the children and people in the area.
“[I’m] eager to see what it’s like without the everyday items that we use on a daily base and to hang out with the kids,” said Mitch Kiefer ‘16, who will join junior students who will serve for one week in Banica from June 13-20. A second group of will then arrive June 20 and stay for the following week. The students have been working hard all year to fund and plan their trip through sales of breakfast burritos, a chili cook-off, and various other fundraisers. Not only will this trip be fun, but also interesting for the students, who will grow more culturally aware and from their experience.
Pilgrimages and Missions in 2016
The Vatican pilgrimage for 2016 is in the planning phase and will once again include an excursion to Assisi, tours of the Vatican Museum, St Peter’s and all four Major Basilicas in Rome, says Campus Ministry Coordinator Joyce Krolicki. Additionally, a pilgrimage to France will take place during Easter break 2016. This trip includes Annecy and the Parish of St. Francis de Sales, the Basilica of the Visitation, where St. Francis and St. Jane d eChantal are entombed, Paris, Normandy, and the convent of St. Theresa of Lisieux. For more information, attend the Open House – Interest Meeting on June 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the PVI Library.
Stay tuned for more updates and information from Panther Press!