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Every year, Townsend Harris High School offers an international trip, but occasionally, world events cause these trip plans to change.
The school international trips usually alternate between exploring the continents of South America and Europe. This year, the scheduled trip was initially to France, Italy, Spain, and Moneco.
However, due to the recent attacks in Paris, the trip has been cancelled and moved to China. The ten-day trip will hit the major cities of Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai. Despite the fact that the State Department’s international travel alert expires on February 24, the end-of-April trip is affected.
In reference to this change, Principal Anthony Barbetta says, “In light of what happened in France, and the fact that there is a travel warning, the superintendent cancelled the trip. She figured that it would be easier to cancel it now, and to go somewhere else. It is harder to cancel the trip last minute because there’ll be a lot of money loss and things like that.”
Language teacher and international trip organizer Caroline Lopera is hopeful for this new change of location. “The kids voted, and they voted for China. I have never been to China, so it will be a new experience. I think it is going to be great to experience such a big place of such culture and history,” she comments.
Unfortunately, some students are disappointed to hear the news. Sophomore Valerie Mui who is planning to go to the international trip this year states, “I was sort of upset because I was looking forward to spring break. The international trip would have been beneficial to me mostly because of the experience and being able to view French culture [with] my own eyes.”
Sophomore Amy Lin describes, “My friends and I planned out our whole trip and how we were [going to] take loads of pictures. However, I would not want to be in Europe at this time.”
In addition to this alteration, another dispute is the cost of such trips, which are usually thousands of dollars. The trip to China will cost approximately $3,800, while the price for the trip to France was set at $4,000. Junior Harleen Karir went to the Peru trip last year and remarks, “I think international trips are wonderful, although they’re expensive. It’s still really fun eating new foods, practicing a foreign language in an actual foreign nation, meeting a great deal of friendly people, and seeing beautiful cultural and historical landmarks.”
Furthermore, sophomore Tara Jackson explains, “It was worth going at least once because you get to experience a brand new point of view. I went mountain hiking, saw Machu Picchu, and also visited Lake Titicaca, which had everyone laughing about the name.”
Principal Barbetta concludes, “Trips are a great way to expand a student’s horizons and furtherhelp students gain an understanding of another culture.”