Community Members Anticipate Winterim’s Return

After three years, the Upper School will revive its world travel program. Students and faculty report excitement for the educational experience.


A student poses in front of the Taj Mahal during Winterim 2019. Photo courtesy of the School.

For the first time since 2019, the School is bringing back one of the most celebrated and exciting biannual events: Winterim. In the last four years, Winterim has been canceled, replanned, replaced, and remodeled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, this year, the School announced that it will finally offer Winterim, a moment  long anticipated by students and faculty. After an extensive process of review and consideration, Winterim Coordinator Kelly Neely and the School’s Board of Trustees have determined safe areas fit for student travel. 

Winterim, since being introduced in the 1990s, has long stood as a highlight of many Upper School students’ years. The roughly one-week domestic and international trips have provided opportunities for students to explore new sights, learn about diverse cultures, and bond with their classmates every other year.

In addition to the educational experience students engage in with the program, Winterim represents the image of the School as a whole, according to Neely. As Director of Global Studies, Neely has coordinated the program for over a decade.

For Neely, the trips offer a chance to impose a positive image of the School on other countries.

“This program gives us the chance to connect with schools and people around the globe, which helps us to share the Brimmer experience,” Neely said. “Additionally, it allows students to learn about the way others learn and communicate in other parts of the world.”

As the program has expanded for nearly three decades, Upper Schoolers have explored a range of countries. In recent years, the program has offered trips to areas such as France, Italy, China, and England. However, the School is constantly looking for new cultures and locations to explore, according to Neely.

Being a global citizen means taking the opportunity to learn about the world no matter where you are, and that is one of the primary goals of Winterim,” Neely said. “This year, faculty chose places we’d like to learn more about. In either case, these are experiences we’re looking forward to sharing with our students.”

Students from the 2017 Winterim trip to Japan take a group shot in front of a temple. Gator file photo.

This year, the program will offer a new excursion to Portugal, and over two dozen students have signed up. One of those students is Ugo Adiele, ’23, who expressed his excitement about being on the trip.

“I’m extremely excited for the trip because it’ll be an opportunity to step outside my comfort zone while also being surrounded by people I genuinely like,” Adiele said. “I also don’t travel often, so it’ll be a great chance to try something new and explore an incredible country like Portugal.”

Portugal trip leader and Upper School English Teacher Don Reese also discussed what he expects to be the most exciting aspects of the trip.

“I went to Lisbon with my wife three years ago for a conference, but it was really an unforgettable experience,” Reese said. “Portugal is a country steeped in history and culture, but I”m specifically excited to see the slave market museum and Chapel of Bones”.

For trip chaperone and Upper School Science Teacher Zoë Stublarec, who is experiencing Winterim for the first time on the Portugal trip, she hopes the program will offer an opportunity for inter-grade level interaction.

“I think these trips are a great opportunity to build community across the grade levels,” Stublarec said. “Experiences like this are unique to places like Brimmer, and students and faculty alike are going to create memories that will last a lifetime. Portugal is a beautiful place, and I’m looking forward to going back there and reexperiencing the culture!

As a whole, community members report that Winterim is an exciting facet of the School’s programming. In the future, Neely hopes that the trip will remain a lasting memory for every student, no matter where they end up traveling.

Winterim is one of the experiences that alums repeatedly tell us was a transformative part of their time in the Upper School,” Neely said. “No matter whether or not students are traveling with people they know or to places they know about, they will have the chance to learn something new about the world and themselves.”