An Opportunity Overseas: Italy


Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

Students will have the chance to explore and experience the architecture, art, and history of Italy.

Tia Petrzilka, Staff Writer

Yet again, LHS (and VHHS) students will have the opportunity to travel overseas and experience the culture, food, and history of a foreign country; however, for the first time ever, the trip will be a social studies-led trip, focusing on the history, architecture, and art of the land known for its food and rich history, Italy.

“The idea of taking a trip centered on World and European History has been an idea that myself and Mrs. [Eileen] Orzoff (a Social Studies Teacher at VHHS) have contemplated for some time,” shared VHHS social studies teacher and group leader of the trip, Mr. Matthew Clifford.  “The trip is designed to be an educationally enriching experience that brings history alive for our students and instills a long-term interest in historical study.”

The trip will take place over District 128’s spring break next year and will last a total of eight days.

In the process of determining the destination of the trip, Italy emerged as an appealing choice for a few prominent reasons.

“When looking at the available tours and the goals of the trip, Italy seemed to provide the most for the cost.  Italy offers historical sites from a wide variety of time periods and will provide [a] comprehensive educational experience,” explained Mr. Clifford.  “Plus the food is awesome.”

Sophomore Joe Tobiaski explained why he has taken an interest in the trip.

“I don’t travel often — I’ve only been out of the country once.  I had been told that Italy, specifically Florence, Venice, and Rome, are absolutely beautiful.  I’ve heard nothing but good things about Italy from friends and family,” he said.

One of the main aspects of the trip will be touring a wide range of famous landmarks in the cities of Rome, Assisi, and Florence.  These tours will expose students to art and architecture from Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance Italy.

“I am most excited about the time in Florence. I have heard it is beautiful city filled with mind-bogglingly beautiful museums filled with priceless art and other artifacts that are hundreds of years old,” stated sophomore Patrick Vickers, who plans on attending the trip.

According to Mr. Clifford, some of the highlights of the trip include the Basilica of St. Francis, a city walk of Florence, the Galleria dell’Accademia, the Duomo, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Vatican City, and the Roman Catacombs.

St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.
Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia
St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.

The field trip is open to all District 128 students, especially those who would like to discover more about the history and culture of Italy.

“If anyone wants the opportunity to learn about the history of Italy and experience a new land and people, they should consider going,” stated Mr. Clifford.

Apart from standard field trip expectations, in order to participate in the field trip, students are responsible for covering the expenses of the trip and must have a valid passport.

The current expenditure for the entire trip is set at $2,565, which covers mostly everything (excluding the cost of of lunch money and travel insurance, which is recommended).

However, the cost may not stay at this price for long.

“The cost may fluctuate.  So the sooner someone is enrolled, the cheaper it is,” explained Mr. Clifford.  “[Education First] Tours also has monthly payment plans which most (students) are taking advantage of.”

Currently, 22 students have signed up for the trip and four chaperones are projected to accompany them.

While Mr. Clifford has “a good idea on who the chaperones from the staff will be,” the spots have not been set in stone yet.

Regardless of whether history is a student’s favorite subject or not, traveling to foreign countries can broaden one’s spectrum of the world, enabling them to learn about a culture and lifestyle different in ways from their own.

“I believe that travel provides students and people in general with the greatest opportunity to learn.  Experiencing a foreign country and its people provides incredible insight into the history and culture of a country.  I believe that traveling to other countries instills in us a worldview and a perspective of humanity which cannot be fully replicated in the classroom,” stated Mr. Clifford.  “This trip will change one’s appreciation of history.  It is one thing to see images of a great work of art or architectural wonder, it is a whole other experience to stand before them.”

Vickers shared a similar opinion.

“It is beneficial to travel and study in a foreign country because it allows you to experience the culture in full.  In the terms of studying history, it gives the things you learned about new context.  For example, over the summer I read a book about the Duomo, and on this trip I’ll be able to see it, and to really get an idea of the scale.  It will also let me see the birthplace of the Renaissance,” he stated.

If students are interested in participating in the trip, they should contact Mr. Clifford at [email protected].