HURLOCK — On June 18, 2014 North Dorchester High School Spanish teacher, Benedita Gomes-Wani along with several of her high school students and chaperones departed North Dorchester High School for Dulles Airport to embark on a global trip where lessons from the classroom would soon come to life. The group traveled to seven different European countries over the course of 15 days. The European Carousel is a global tour experience offered through Educational First educational tours. An Educational First educational tour gives a student the chance to travel internationally exploring distant cultures firsthand, historical landmarks and monuments, and tour foreign cities to learn about history.
The students traveled in a group with their teacher, chaperones and an Educational First tour director from the English Channel to the Adriatic Sea and back. Their flight landed in London for a brief lay over and then it was off to the Netherlands to start their seven country journey. The travelers began their tour in the Netherlands where they had a guided tour of Amsterdam. The group visited The Anne Frank House and Zaanse Schans, an Old Dutch village, to enjoy a clog-making demonstration as well as a visit to a windmill. Next they traveled by motor coach to the cities of Heidelberg and Munich, Germany. The group experienced a somber visit to a Nazi concentration camp where they witnessed firsthand the cruelty and brutality and evil the Nazis inflicted during World War II. Moving on the travelers then explored the countryside of Austria stopping in the city of Innsbruck, Austria.
Next it was off to the Adriatic Sea and the beautiful romantic city of Venice, Italy. One of the favorite sightseeing tours of the trip was a beautiful and relaxing gondola ride on the Grand Canal in Venice. The group also enjoyed a visit to the magnificent Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Square.
The Lucerne region was the next stop on the itinerary which included the picturesque country side of Switzerland. The travelers ventured to the top of Mount Pilatus, the majestic 6,387 foot peak that towers over Lucerne. They took a boat ride across Lake Lucerne and then rode the Pilatus cog railway, the steepest in the world, to the top. The travelers then made a visit back into Germany to visit the Black Forest. During their visit to The Black Forest the travelers observed the traditional wood carving craft of Cuckoo clocks. Cuckoo clocks have been made in the Black Forest region since the early 18th century.
As the group headed to Paris, the City of Light, they explored the Colmar and Alsace region. Arriving in Paris the travelers experienced the iconic Eiffel Tower and the Grand Palace of Versailles. The last country to visit on this grand tour was England. The group traveled by the Eurostar train to London where they experienced a walking tour of London exploring such historical landmarks as Big Ben and Houses of Parliament, changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, and Piccadilly Circus. A final excursion included a visit to Windsor Castle where the group viewed the State Apartments, which is where the Queen hosts world dignitaries and official functions.
During the group’s two-week tour they savored authentic dishes from each country, interacted with the locals, learned about overseas money exchange and international flight travel. Many of the experiences on this trip had only been seen in books for the students now it was within reach and real. The students and chaperones enjoyed a trip of a lifetime, and upon returning to the states several students were thinking and planning their next Educational First educational tour.
Benedita Gomes-Wani, the students’ Spanish teacher, works constantly throughout the year offering the students various fundraisers so they can raise money to help pay for an educational tour. It is through her endless dedication, time, and commitment that local students can see the world, experience different cultures and gain global awareness, bringing their classroom lessons to life.