Who could resist hiking through the Andes, climbing a volcano, and ziplining through a cloud forest in Ecuador? If this sounds like something you’d like to do, you should consider signing up for the World Challenge.

This summer, at the end of June, the high school take part in the 2016 World Challenge to Ecuador and the Galapagos. Dr. Cohen will lead the group, but students are responsible for the planning and execution of the trip.

So far, the plan for the 2016 trip is to fly to Quito, the capital of Ecuador, and become acclimated to the surroundings. Then, the students will hike at high altitudes in the Andes, climb a volcano, participate in community service, and zipline through a cloud forest. Finally, for rest and relaxation, they will take a five day boat tour through the Galapagos.

Matilda Wrobleski ’18 has been mentally preparing herself for the 2016 trip: “I won’t be able to sleep in my own bed and I’ll be away from my family for a whole month, and that’s a little terrifying. But I am looking forward to trying new food,” she said.

In the past, students have enjoyed the World Challenge. The high school attends these expeditions every two years to various developing countries in Asia, Africa, and South America. In 2014, a group of six students traveled with Dr. Cohen to Nepal, where they hiked Poon Hill for six days, stopped at tea houses for lunch, interacted with locals, enjoyed the view of the mountains, and whitewater rafted.

“When we first got there, we were overwhelmed by the culture shock,” said Kristina Baldwin ’16, a student who took part in the 2014 World Challenge, “But after we went trekking and did all that traveling, we had the most amazing time, because we felt totally comfortable there, knew how to interact with people and how to get around. I’ve never felt closer to five people in my life.”

In addition to enjoying themselves thoroughly, these students also learned how to be independent. They designed the itinerary, called buses and hostels to stay in, decided what activities they were going to do, and bargained for the best prices.

“It was very nice to know high school students in a way that I haven’t gotten to before. We spent so much time together, weeks, months, and the relationships were very special to me,” said Dr. Cohen.

Currently, eight students have signed up for the 2016 World Challenge. Dr. Cohen encourages other students to contact him as soon as possible if they would like to join, though they would have missed out on some of the planning for the rip that has already taken place. All grades are welcome, including graduating seniors.

“It’s a real chance to be in a part of the world you might not get to be in otherwise,” said Cohen.

(Christine Arumainayagam ’16, Staff Writer)


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