A version of this article appeared on print in our November 2016 issue.
This April break, students will have the opportunity to travel to England and France over the course of nine days. The trip, offered by the History department, is open to freshmen and sophomores only, as the agenda aligns with the ninth and tenth grade history curriculum.
The theme of this years trip is “crossroads,” which Mr. John Burns, a History teacher for ninth and tenth grades, as well as one of the trip’s creators, defines as a point of intersection, or a turning point.
“London and Paris are major cosmopolitan cities, and were parts of major empires,” said Burns, relating the trip to freshman World History, and sophomore year Modern World History. “Modern World focus on turning points, and going to places like Normandy to see the D-Day beaches and cemeteries helps us relive the experiences that were there.”
In addition to connecting the cities they visit to the history classes they are currently taking, students will get to see artifacts from other cultures as well. “The greatest artifacts of ancient greek civilization are found largely in London, preserved in the museums,” said Burns.
One of the trip’s main goals is to expose participants to cultures outside of their own, as Burns believes the deepest traditions of our country come from abroad. “I think different people will take away different things,” said Burns. “I would say the overall vision is that we want students to start feeling like global citizens and feel connected to the larger world outside of Wellesley, so they can take an interest in world events.”
While the History department received a plethora of applications from students interested in going on the trip, they can only choose 20 students to attend, and the department has not yet made that difficult decision. However, the school is hoping to offer similar trips in alternate years, rotating the destinations to correspond to different places that students study.
Burns hopes students will be able to flourish on this trip, and that those not attending will get another opportunity to travel in later years, both for their own good and for the good of the world’s future generations.
“Our long term prosperity and security are largely connected to maintaining connections outside our own borders, so for students to have connections to other places outside their own home is healthy for the individual, as well as for the nation as a whole.”