Last week, upper school students returned from eight different Winterim destinations with one thing in common—a newfound appreciation for experiencing various parts of the world. Below, we offer just a glimpse of each trip. Throughout this week, The Gator will provide enhanced coverage of Winterim, including interviews, stories, videos, photographs and more. All of our content is featured in this special section, “Winterim 2015.” Stay tuned!
Students volunteered in the community of Cabarete, on the north coast of the island. They first visited the Mariposa Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to help young girls escape the destructive cycles of prostitution, early marriage, and sexually transmitted diseases. The group taught English and art classes to students ranging from 3-to-18 years old, and also enjoyed painting a mural together. In the late afternoon, students would head to the beach for a few hours of fun. “Being able to meet and interact with children from a foreign country and culture was so inspiring. It’s such different lifestyle,” says Kristin Gates ’15.
Students visited underground caves, towering waterfalls, and iconic, tropical beaches. Toward the end of the trip, students also traveled to a more rural part of the country, touring Mayan ruins and visiting a nearby school. Students especially enjoyed snorkeling in the Great Blue Hole. “The Great Blue Hole was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen and experienced in my life,” says Alex Dolan ’15. “It takes you out of your Boston high school-kid head when you are swimming with thousands of fish and underwater plants.”
Beginning in France, students toured Notre Dame de Paris, the Arch of Triumph, and the Palace of Versailles. Student favorites included La Louvre, the world-famous art museum, as well as the renowned Eiffel Tower. The group then took a short flight to Barcelona, where they enjoyed an authentic Tapas meal, and explored the city’s marketplaces, gothic churches and stunning views. “The trip was great in different ways, but what made it so special was being able to see things you thought were just on postcards,” says Alina Fischer ’16.
Students explored the cities of Sorrento, Pompeii, Rome, and Vatican City, while visiting the ancient Roman Colosseum, the Acropolis and many renowned museums. Afterward, students took a boat to Capri, a rocky, mountainous island surrounded by the blue waters of the Mediterranean, where they saw the ancient tombs under St. Peters Basilica. “My favorite part was getting to see the Acropolis. It reminded me of the Parthenon, only you can see over the whole city.,” says William Ma ’17. “The architecture of the mid-5th century is still beautiful today.”
Students visited museums, took an acting class, and attended performances at the the world-famous Globe Theatre. “Many of our activities had a lot to do with Shakespeare,” says Liam Johannesson ’17. “The history museums, the acting classes—Shakespeare’s a big deal there.” On their last day in London, students went on the famous London Eye—a ferris wheel in downtown London, where they were treated to a stunning view of the city.
In Beijing, students walked along the Great Wall of China and explored Chinese houses, museums, and monuments. The group also visited the historic Tiananmen Square, a massive area the size of several football fields, before walking through the ancient Forbidden City. “It was an awesome experience,” says Kyle Anderson ’15. “The best part was being able to use the small amount of Chinese that I know to interact with people from a vastly different culture, and then see how they interact with me.”
Students visited the New England Aquarium, Taza Chocolate Factory, and The Boston Globe. The group also had a chance to attend a Celtics game, as well as ski Ragged Mountain Resort in Danbury, New Hampshire. The trip’s agenda, determined predominantly by students, was designed to fit their interests. On the last day of the trip, students made their own T-shirts in the Steam Lab. “My favorite T-shirt design was James Querusio’s,” says chaperone Jan Sidebotham. “[James] made a shirt featuring all the funniest quotes from the trip.”
Though much colder than the other trips, visiting Iceland was the experience of a lifetime. From driving atop a glacier, dodging a storm of flying rocks, to enduring hurricane-strength winds, the Iceland goers had a blast. The group also had the opportunity to visit a Viking site, hot springs, and enjoy “really amazing food and unbelievable ice cream,” according to Oscar Portabales ‘15.