This year during Spring Session, Concord Academy students had the opportunity to participate in off-campus trips designed for students to have fun and learn something along the way. This article covers the spring trip to France, but there were also trips to Florida, Georgia, Spain, and Taiwan. The chaperones of the trip—Thomas Mandala, George Larivee, Sabrina Sadique, and Kim Kopelman—were amazing guides and created a great environment for the students to learn in France, and see its culture. “There is no better way to learn the language than to go to the place where that language is spoken,” said Mandala.
The Spring Trips were structured around experiencing global cultures and languages and had prerequisites for languages, such as French 2 for France. Students selected for the France trip assembled at Logan Airport and arrived in France in the morning of March 5. A tour guide accompanied the group during their five days in France. During their two days in Paris, the group went sightseeing in locations including Versailles, a gold-plated palace for French Monarchs; the Eiffel Tower; and the Arc de Triomphe. In the evening, the group dined by the River Seine.
After visiting Paris, students boarded the TGV high-velocity train to Aix-en-Provence. Due to the protests in France, students were only able to see the village of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and participate in an olive oil degustation. The next day the group went to see Aix, a beautiful city, and a favorite for many, with memorable sights, interesting activities, and beautiful architecture, with all the old 19th- and 20th-century buildings preserved.
French cuisine was definitely a focus and highlight of this trip. Students had dinners at many restaurants, including one on a boat cruising across the River Seine in Paris. They participated in activities designed to make us try out French cuisine, including a cooking class in Aix, where they made madeleines. The schedule incorporated a lot of free time to explore France, and students were able to split up into groups and roam the city with a large degree of freedom; some people went shopping in Paris, some people went sightseeing in Aix.
Students ended the trip with a visit to Nice and Monaco. Nice was a beautiful city with many impressive sights accompanied by the famous azure coast. Later that day students went to Monaco where they toured the Monaco Botanical Garden, featuring plants and trees from all around the globe. Finally, the group departed to various destinations to continue their spring break.
The organizers of the spring trips are always trying to improve them: "I often think about how we can make it better,” said Mandala, who is already working on many new ambitious spring trips for the future. “I also have in my mind a trip that will go to Europe and that will combine more than one country,” he explained. Needless to say, the future of the CA spring trips is definitely in good hands, and students will be looking forward to them.
Overall the spring trips were a great learning experience. “I was happy to have an opportunity to practice my French in a real-life setting,” said Archie Daffner ’23.