This spring break, middle school students will go to Mexican city Cuernavaca accompanied by middle school Spanish teacher Andrew Brabbee for the first time in three years, while upper school Spanish teacher Javier Zaragoza will lead upper school students to Costa Rica on a cultural immersion trip to solidify their language skills.
The three-year suspension of the Cuernavaca trip allowed middle school students to combine with upper school students on the Costa Rica trip. This year, however, the middle and upper school students will be separated again, while ninth graders will be able to choose between trips.
Students on both trips will engage in up to 50 hours of 100 percent language immersion in small groups. Students will also be completing an AP program while there and staying with host-families to solidify their grasp of the language.
In this way, the trip has undergone a major philosophy shift from “let’s help those who are struggling” to “let’s reinforce,” Zaragoza said.
Students on the Costa Rica trip will go river rafting and sight-seeing, in addition to “just relaxing” at the beach resort at which they will be staying for part of the time.
“This trip is more suitable to the older kids because of the activities and the environment,” Zaragoza said, as students have a degree of independence while abroad.
The Cuernavaca trip will include trips to the pyramids, water parks, and a colonial village. Students will go on mountain climbs that will allow them to see the entire valley, just as the ancient peoples did as they were communicating via signal fires atop the mountain.