Students at Abington High School, along with four chaperones, visit the Arno River in Florence, Italy on February 17, 2020 (Emily Coulsey)
Students at Abington High School, along with four chaperones, visit the Arno River in Florence, Italy on February 17, 2020

Emily Coulsey

An Ancient Getaway

Recap of the Global Education Trip to Italy and Greece

March 15, 2020

Over February Break, 25 Abington High School students and I along with four chaperones took an EF (Education First) Tour to Italy and Greece. The chaperones included four Abington teachers and support staff: Ms. Gerhart, Mr. Donahue, Mrs. Posk, and Mrs. Peck.

Throughout the ten days abroad, we explored the cities of Rome, Athens, Florence, and Delphi, as well as Vatican City and the Meteora Region of Greece.

I learned that travelling is such an important thing in life because it gives you a better sense of the world around you and opens up so many doors.

— Maura Odell

We were guided by our main EF tour guide, as well as several experts, on the different cities, buildings, and monuments of Greece and Italy.

A Brief Overview of the Trip:

Day 1: We all met at AHS for final baggage checks and family goodbyes, and then traveled to Logan Airport to fly overnight to Italy. 

Day 2: After arriving in Rome, we met the tour director at the airport, who was both friendly and highly knowledgeable about the cities and landmarks we visited. We were quickly immersed in Italian culture as we immediately boarded our bus and explored Italy. That afternoon, we saw the famous Fountain of the Four Rivers and experienced our first authentic Italian meal and dessert; pizza and gelato were very popular choices.

Day 3: A visit to the Catacombs was first, an underground burial place. We then visited Vatican City, and explored the beautiful artwork of the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. This day was a favorite for many; the artwork seen was extraordinary; it was something us as students had read about in textbooks numerous times but finally had the opportunity to see in real life.

Day 4: The day started with an expert tour of the Colosseum, and then onto the Roman Forum. We then continued onto Florence via our tour bus and arrived at our villa for the night. Over the 10 days abroad, we stayed in 4 different hotels, as well as the night ferry. The villa was located on a hill in the region of Tuscany, outside of Florence; at night there was a spectacular view of the cities below.

Day 5: This was our full day in Florence. After an expert-led tour of Florence, we were given the day to explore, eat, and shop before going to dinner. 

Emily Coulsey
The students saw the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, popularly known as the Florence Cathedral, on February 17, 2020, in Florence, Italy.

Day 6: Onto Greece. We departed from Florence and drove to Ancona, where we boarded a ferry for the night that would travel to Igoumenitsa.

Day 7: After arriving in Igoumenitsa that morning, we traveled on to the Meteora Region of Greece. The Meteora is a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site formed by enormous rocks and hills. We took an expert-led tour and bus ride up the rock pillars and to a monastery, located at the top of one pillar. The monastery is home to monks, whom we saw on our tour. The view of the Meteora region from atop the rock pillars was breathtaking; a view none of the travelers will forget.

Day 8: We took an expert-led tour of Delphi, through the Temple of Apollo and the Delphi Museum. We then continued onto Athens for the remainder of the day. That night, we attended a traditional Greek evening with dinner and dancing. We learned how to dance and cook a traditional Greek meal.

Day 9: After a guided tour of Athens, the group was given a portion of the day to explore and shop. The tour included visits to the first modern Olympic stadium, the Temple of Zeus, the Acropolis and Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike, and the Acropolis Museum. I particularly enjoyed this day because myself and a few friends explored the street-side shops and enjoyed trying new foods at restaurants around the city.

Day 10: The travel group ended their vacation and departed from Greece.

Would students recommend travelling abroad with the school?

Yes. When asked what her favorite part of the trip was, junior Maura Odell loved “seeing all the art everywhere, but especially in Rome. [She] loved seeing all the sculptures and paintings.”

Likewise, junior Carly Mentis, another traveler, enjoyed “getting closer to new and old friends.” Many felt the trip was a great opportunity to form bonds with teachers and students they otherwise might not have known. 

A trip abroad is also a great opportunity to gain an appreciation of other cultures, Odell said. “I learned that travelling is such an important thing in life because it gives you a better sense of the world around you and opens up so many doors.”

When asked if she would recommend travelling abroad with the school, Odell said she “would definitely recommend it because even though I might not be super close with everyone I traveled with, I at least got to get a little closer with everyone and really close with some people. Travelling with my friends and other classmates was so much fun.” She was very grateful for the experience.

Like Odell, Mentis said she took things away from the trip. Mentis said that she learned “that there are so many different parts of the world with all kinds of different cultures.” She also explained “how important it is to not be stuck in your own ways.”  She added some advice  to be open minded and try new things while travelling.

As for whether she recommended traveling with the school to other students, Mentis said, “I would definitely recommend travelling abroad with the school because you get to go to all kinds of new places and visit all of the most famous sights with all of your friends.”

If you enjoy traveling, consider taking a trip abroad with Abington High School. It provides an incredible opportunity to try new foods, meet new people, and immerse yourself in a different culture. Travelling is a great way to become more educated, even outside of the classroom.

Next year’s trips planned for the juniors and seniors are as follows:

February Vacation 2021: Portugal and Spain (Ms. Howell and Ms. Daisy)

April Vacation 2021: Italy, Austria, and the Czech Republic (Mr. Shannon and Ms. Poirier)

April Vacation 2021: London and Paris (Ms. Gerhart and Ms. Peck)

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About the Contributor
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Emily Coulsey, School News Insider

Emily Coulsey is a member of the class of 2021. This is her third year on the Green Wave Gazette, and her first year in the position as School News Insider....

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