GREECE & ITALY - WINTER 2017
We hit the ground running as we began to tour Greece on New Year's Eve. One of the experiences that none of us will forget was the special New Year's Eve celebration. We got to celebrate New Year's Eve in a Grecian banquet hall where we danced and ate until we rang in 2018. We learned how to say, "Opa!" and sing and dance to popular Grecian folk songs. Many of us got up and danced with strangers from all over the world! That wasn't all we did though. From touring the Vatican, to walking through the Roman Forum, to eating pizza on the top of one of the most beautiful islands, Capri, Italy and Greece had us all in awe. Everywhere we walked, we could feel antiquity becuase these were the same places that ancient philosophers pondered life's meaning and emperors contemplated battle. We also admired architects of the past as many of the ancient structures still stand today. We also reflected on the meaning of democracy as we walked through its birthplace. The whole trip was so rich in history and we felt it as we toured and learned how people lived during antiquity. Another successful trip is in the books!
DUBLIN, LONDON, & PARIS - WINTER 2016
It's hard to find the right words to explain how awesome the Dublin, London, and Paris trip was. We were a little nervous taking 40 kids overseas; however, we couldn't have had a better group. The laughter was strong, the jokes were always funny (unless they came from Kalma), and our smaller groups were full of pride (GBG, The Ho Ho Hos, Kevin's Krew, Kang, Dream Team, The Walkers). When we first arrived in Dublin, the students didn't really know what to expect, but very soon after exploring Temple Bar and St. Patrick's Cathedral, it was clear that this would be one of the favorite places they'd go. Believe it or not, one of the other favorite attractions was the Trinity Library (even though many of the students were so tired they decided to post up and nap). After Dublin, we made our way to Whales where we got to explore Beaumaris Castle and enjoy the niceties of a small coastal town. When we arrived in London, many students students were in awe of the London Eye, but were already over eating mashed potatoes for nearly every meal. There were a couple other main highlights from London. We spent Christmas Eve together in a Ramada in Hounslow, a borough of London proper. Students and teachers opened up surprise cards written from family members - many of us were brought to tears. We ended the trip exploring Leake Street, about a 300-meter long tunnel under the platforms and tracks of Waterloo station. It used to be a sketchy part of the city, but was reclaimed by Banksy and other graffiti artists in the mid-2000s. Our last stop was Paris. Many were happy we'd saved "the best for last." From the Eiffel Tower, to crepes, to Notre Dame; Paris truly encapsulated the beauty that was our entire trip.
PERÚ - SUMMER 2016
We traveled to Perú with little to no expectations for what we'd experience. Machu Picchu, Saksaywaman, Ollantaytambo, and Cuzco City were some of the highlights, but luckily for us, our service learning part of the trip was truly inspiring and life-changing. We had the opportunity to partner with Awamaki, a non-profit organization that works with women and their families in Ollantaytambo and surrounding communities through programs in women's cooperatives and sustainable tourism. We spent 2 days of our trip building a weaving center with the community members. We mixed cement, we dug ditches, we fetched water, we prepared meals, we laid bricks, we connected with another school from South Carolina and the community members we worked with side-by-side. Our small group of ten made life-long memories and for that we are all thankful. Until the next service learning trip.
COSTA RICA - SUMMER 2015
We discovered a perfect balance of adventure, service, and ecology in Costa Rica. We traveled to a coffee roastery in San José and enjoyed the delights at a pineapple and banana plantation in Sarapiquí. In Monteverde, we zip lined over a canopy for more than two miles before visiting a local school where we felt right at home. Everything about our trip to Costa Rica was beautiful. From the amazingly clean air, delicious coffee and gallo pinto (black beans and rice), to the incredible hospitality of the locals; our trip truly encapsulated the "pura vida" lifestyle. #iminlovewiththecosta