Students traveling to Europe for the summer


Amanda Black

Between the summers of 2018 and 2019, some students from LHS will have the option of traveling to England, Ireland and Switzerland, France, Spain or Italy.

This summer, Libertyville students, through the World Languages department, have the opportunity to travel to Spain in June, as well as to Ireland and Switzerland in July for the Global Leadership Summit Program.

From June 5-18, 27 current freshmen, sophomores and juniors taking Spanish classes will travel to Spain and explore the northern half of the country.

The trip includes six main cities: Madrid, Burgos, Cantabria, Bilbao, San Sebastian and Barcelona. Starting in Madrid, the students will participate in a city walk and tours, seeing churches, the Cibeles Fountain and the St. Mary’s synagogue. In Cantabria, the group will go on a city excursión to Getxo and Portugalete, exploring the province of Biscay in the Autonomous Community of Basque Country.  

Spending the last three days in Barcelona, students will have some free time to explore the city and also relax at the beach in between visiting Gaudi’s Sagrada familia (a famous church) and going on sightseeing tours.

This is third year this trip is available to students in Spanish classes. When Mrs. Jennifer Goettsche, the department supervisor of world languages, started working at LHS in 2014, she learned there were no opportunities for students taking Spanish to actually go to Spain.

“I realized that we had not been giving the option for students to travel. I think it had been 20-plus years [since the last trip like this],” said Mrs. Goettsche.

After talking about the issue with other teachers, they agreed to create a Spain trip for the first time in the summer of 2016.

“That first trip went so well and was such an amazing experience that we had already started to plan this year’s trip,” said Mrs. Goettsche with a smile.

While sophomore Rachel Bond is a little nervous about getting sick on the trip, she is mostly excited to learn about the culture.

“I hope to learn more about the Spanish culture and improve my Spanish. I also hope to gain closer friendships with the people on the trip,” said Bond in a text message.  

Mrs. Goettsche expressed her hopes for the future of being able to do an exchange program, similar to the French exchange program available at LHS.

“We’d like to do a home stay on our next trip and possibly have kids come here to [Libertyville], but I would say that’s on the horizon, hopefully,” stated Mrs. Goettsche.

In the following month of July, four students from Libertyville and Vernon Hills High Schools are going to Ireland and Switzerland for the Global Leadership Summit program. They will depart on July 5 and return home July 15.

Last summer, Dr. Rita Fischer, the district’s superintendent of curriculum and instruction, attended the summit for the first time as a professional development opportunity.

Mrs. Emily Koerner, a Spanish teacher, is the supervisor for the 2018 conference as well as in 2019.

“Summer of 2018 is the trial run of the trip,” explained Mrs. Koerner, over email, as to why there is only a small group of people going from District 128. “There are 40 students from both LHS and VHHS signed up for the 2019 trip.”

During the trip, the group will visit Belfast and Dublin in Ireland. Then, they will travel to Switzerland to explore Zurich and Davos.

In Belfast and Dublin, students will visit the Titanic Belfast Museum, take an excursion to Derry, visit the Hillsborough Castle, and see the Book of Kells at Trinity College. After flying from Dublin to Zurich, students will travel to Davos by train. The last three days of the trip in Davos is when the leadership conference will be held.

Freshman Ashley Born will be attending the 2019 conference for her first international trip.

“I’m most excited for the landscape tours in Ireland, and the conference itself in Switzerland,” said Born over text.

The conference’s theme is the power of communication. Students attending will be learning about thoughtful leadership, personalized learning and innovative thinking. Students will also be working with other students at the conference on an international stage to learn new skills for the future.

“We hope that this trip will offer students the unique opportunity to utilize design thinking to solve one of today’s global challenges,” expressed Mrs. Koerner.

Along with the two international summer trips coming up, a couple of other trips for the 2018-19 school year have also been approved by the Board of Education. Students enrolled in art classes will be offered the chance to go on a Japan trip for spring break and all students are invited to explore Italy, France and England in the summer of 2019. Registration for the England trip is open through December 2018.