Students to experience Italy, China with spring break trips

Nicky Edwards-Levin, Midway Reporter

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 This spring break, students will hike along the Great Wall of China, camp on a snow mountain and visit the Forbidden City. Others will visit the Colosseum, orange groves of a seaside town and see Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam” in the Sistine Chapel. This month, world language teachers will lead 17 students on a trip to Rome and 14 students to Beijing. 

The jam-packed Rome trip, led by Latin teacher Frances Spaltro March 18-27, will involve trips to the town of Sorrento, the ruins of Herculaneum and the capital of Italy, Rome. 

“The students will have some free time,” Ms. Spaltro said, “but they will be very busy. It’s a lot, but it’s a great trip.” 

Beyond relaxing in the Mediterranean sun, students will spend three days in Sorrento before heading to Rome for five days, where they will visit landmarks such as St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and Colosseum. 

Ms. Spaltro said that the trip was ultimately designed to give a look into ancient urban life. 

“Rome is always changing, but you still get those looks — the Colosseum and the Forum especially, but the other towns we go see, they are really just snapshots fixed in time,” Ms. Spaltro said. 

“ Rome is always changing, but you still get those looks — the Colosseum and the Forum especially, but the other towns we go see, they are really just snapshots fixed in time.””

— Francis Spaltro, Latin Teacher

According to Ms. Spaltro, one thing that makes the trip great is the fact that, though it was designed for Latin students, it’s for everyone. 

“It was always thought to be an offering for Latin Students. There is no trip for Latin students — there are trips for all the other languages, but not for Latin,” Ms. Spaltro said. “But it was never designed to be limited for Latin.” 

Rome is not the only destination for a school-sponsored spring break trip. Students in Chinese classes will travel to Beijing March 16-31 to continue the China exchange which began in February. The students will shadow their exchange partners at U-High’s partner school, Ren Da Fu Zhong High School, affiliated with Renmin University of China. They will attend cultural workshops, participate in student club activities and teach lessons to younger students. In Beijing, students will also visit the University of Chicago Beijing Center, participate in community service projects, hike on the Great Wall and visit the Forbidden City. Outside Beijing, students will venture into Yunnan Province in southwest China, and immerse themselves in Chinese ethnic minority lifestyles, such as the Tibetan, Naxi and Lisu. 

They will also explore the Shangri-la area, visit the Baima Snow Mountain Nature Reserve to learn about the Lisu ethnic minority and the endangered snub-nosed golden monkeys and their habitat, and hike and camp on one of the snow mountains in the area.