Global High School Travel Journal
On Monday we climbed 3km up Maderas Volcano to the ‘mirador’, or viewpoint. Moving in and out of shade, the climb was hot, challenging, and beautifully lush every step of the way. Our Nicaraguan guides, Eric and Dimas showed us so many interesting species of plants and insects native to the region. Some of us even milked a cow!read more
Now we settle into Ometepe at our beachfront resort, Villa Paraiso. We are currently enjoying a relaxing day as some of us go for a swim and others do some homework/read in their personal hammocks. We are surrounded by palm trees, Lake Nicaragua, and friendly locals who accept us ever so warmly.read more
There are over 350 small islands sprawled throughout Lake Nicaragua – Central America’s largest lake. We even stopped at Monkey Island, where we fed Doritos to the furry little things who get chubbier each year from all the food they get from tourists like us!
All in all, it was a perfect day. The students have been laughing and smiling the entire time, which is truly such an amazing thing to see. Everyone is happy and healthy as we ensure they stay hydrated in this heat! (Accidental alliteration right there).read more
The journey is not over just yet; we have a second exam to write tomorrow! Today the students wrote their first exam, and they felt good about it. Upon asking them how they felt this morning, everyone seemed cool, calm, and collected. The teachers did a great job of preparing the students for their end-of-term assessments.
Tomorrow evening we have our final banquet dinner as a group. We will ascend the Auckland Sky Tower and dine in the famous Orbit restaurant, which offers stunning views of the city.read more
Greetings from Auckland! We have arrived safely from the South Island and are enjoying the warmer weather here on the North Island.
We have already checked into our centrally located hotel with apartment style suites, which is around the corner from the beautiful Albert Park and the bustling Queen Street.read more
With the hours of work your children are putting into school, the activity was a nice treat to clear their minds so they can have a fresh start at preparing for ISU’s and exams. A big thanks you to The Playground NZ for their amazing organization and laid back nature.
Tomorrow morning we fly to Auckland. Though it hurts a bit to leave our beloved Queenstown, we have checked everything off of our lists, and are ready to explore the next destination!read more
We are more than halfway through our Queenstown stay and we’ve gotten to know this place very well – from all angles and viewpoints, I might add. From lessons in the classroom, to lakefront strolls, to viewing the tops of mountains while skydiving from 15,000 ft in the air, it’s no wonder Queenstown is named ‘Adventure Capital of the World!’read more
The way in from Dunedin was a restful and scenic bus ride with a stop at the famous Mrs. Jones Orchard where we bought some fresh fruit and homemade ice cream.
Now in Queenstown, we are in THE place for adventure sports and I promise that we won’t disappoint. Some of us are bungee jumping and skydiving this weekend!!! Jumping out of a plane at 15,000 feet…easy right? Jumping off a bridge at 150 feet…also easy, yes? I hope so, because I know I will need all of the encouragement I can get! 🙂read more
After a few quick flights we have touched down safely in Dunedin, NZ. Our new home has slightly cooler temperatures than Australia, as we nestle into a comfortable 15 degrees this evening. Cue the spring jackets!
We chose the perfect time for a weekend getaway in Dunedin, as there are many opportunities for hiking, working out, watching a national rugby game, or even viewing a show at the annual Fringe Festival!read more
Our last few days in Australia were exciting and memorable for all. Our week kicked off with a visit to Brisbane’s Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. You guessed it – we each got to hold and cuddle the beautiful little Koalas! We then moved on to roam with and feed the kangaroos in their natural habitats.
Some were just tiny little Joeys with two legs poking out of their mother’s pouch, while others could pass for professional athletes with biceps as big as your local Toronto Raptor’s Power Forward.read more
Here in Brisbane there is an area called South Bank, which sits along the longest river in South East Queensland. Crossing over the Victoria Bridge this weekend, we made our way into South Bank, past the Wheel of Brisbane (60 meter tall Ferris Wheel), and headed to The Collective Arts Market where we indulged in some stall-to-stall shopping. The sun was shining as we walked amongst locals and tourists who flock to South Bank Beach, or eat at one of the trendy cafés along the river.read more
We woke up this morning for breakfast and later went on a 2-hour walking tour of this beautiful city. We saw the Riverside urban life, the Queen Street Mall, the famous South Bank Park, Historical monuments, the Story Bridge, and more! A few of our students even attempted the Tough Mudder obstacle course we stumbled upon in City Hall Square.read more
As we prepare to leave our new home in Airlie Beach, we will give our thanks to the incredible staff at Colonial Palms Motor Inn. They warmly welcomed us to their beautiful grounds (with two pools and lush gardens!) from the moment we arrived. Owner John and his team of family members were generous and friendly day in and day out. We were spoiled with delicious gourmet dinners, and a safe place to call our home.read more
Here we are in the beautiful Whitsundays; where the people are friendly and the palm trees are plentiful. We have been taken from our bustling cosmopolitan city of Sydney and placed ever so gently into our relaxed, slower-paced, greener environment of Airlie Beach.
Our stay at Colonial Palms has exceeded expectations in many ways. Being a family-run business, you immediately feel like you are one of their cousins.read more
This past week has been filled with the perfect mix of adventure and academics. For starters, our amazing teachers led all of our students on a 45 min hike to Double Bay Beach for afternoon classes on Thursday. We’ve also had classes in the rooftop pool of our hostel, cafes in the neighbourhood, and the private conference room available to us at Sydney Central YHA. Students have been doing a phenomenal job juggling excursions, jet lag, and assignments. They have already become very close with one another in such a short time!read more
Well…we did it! After passing through a few different time zones and spending many hours in the air, we finally touched down in Sydney. The flights couldn’t have been more seamless. We went from plane to plane with ease and everyone got at least a little bit of sleep on the flights (or stayed awake and binge watched movies!)
We were picked up at the Sydney airport by our private coach, which took us directly to Sydney Central Youth Hostel.
Thank you all for being with us on this incredible journey. Having your support – through emails, phone calls, and even some facetime chats – means a lot to the staff and myself. Your kids have now expanded their professional network.read more
This past week in Firenze has been so wonderful. From buying apple cider at the Christmas Market in front of the Basilica di Santa Croce, to visiting THE statue of David himself at Galleria Accademia, we have seen a lot. This city has effortlessly become home, with the ability to walk everywhere, the safe streets, and our new favourite cafes at which the students study. We’ve also taken some pretty incredible (and bucket list location) day trips: we’ve seen the leaning tower in Pisa, walked along the canal in Venice, and sat in Piazza del Campo, where they hold the famous Palio races in Siena!read more
Today after classes we had a wonderful walking tour with our North Carolina-born tour guide, Sally, who has been living in Florence for the past three years. She was wonderful with the students and showed us the Christmas market, the famous Ponte Vecchio, and the gorgeous Duomo in the heart of the city. We visited the best places for leather shopping (moms and dads – send in your requests now!) and finished the tour giving the students some time to explore the markets with their friends.read more
After our quick one-hour train ride to Naples, we met our guide Giuseppe who led us onto the local train to Sorrento. Sorrento is a beautiful, safe, and small city that is currently covered in Christmas decorations and lined with cobble stoned roads – a big difference from bustling Rome.
Next stop was Pompeii on Sunday morning where we visited the famous archaeological site of the once-large city that was completely covered by ash from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.
As finals approach, the students have been working very hard in their classes and during study hall with the teachers. Classes are held at our hotel, in local cafes, and on experiential tours such as the Colosseum! It is now Sunday, and I write to you after having spent the weekend in Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast with 11 of our students.read more
In the blink of an eye, we have arrived in Rome! Our hotel is situation on the grounds of a beautiful restored Monastery, just steps from cafes, basilicas, and the metro.
Our two flights to Rome were extremely quick and painless, as was our transfer from Fiumicino Airport to the hotel.
After a quick bite to eat, we are currently settling into our rooms. The students have some time now to nap, shower, unpack, and most importantly, start studying for some upcoming tests in English and Philosophy.
This past week has been so great; classes are running smoothly and the students were quick to orient themselves in the small downtown area where our hotel is situated. The port, lined with fishermen and sailboats, is a stone’s throw away. We saw some beautiful old churches on our walking tour a few days ago, and strolled through the ‘market street’ where the narrow road was lined with tiny shops housing Cretan olive oil, Greek herbs and spices, honey, teas, and more.read more
Our excursion and short climb to Mystras castle on Thursday gave us some of the most beautiful views of the area. A short bus ride later, we found ourselves in Sparta where we had a lovely lunch and took some photos in front of King Leonidas’ statue, before heading back to Kalamata.read more
After breakfast, we took our coach bus to Olympia where we saw the training stadiums, the ruins of Zeus’ temple, and even some leftover architecture of what was once the ‘VIP hotel’. This is where spectators stayed as they flocked from all over Greece to watch the athletes showcase their prowess. A few of our students showed their skills as well when they raced on the original Olympic track.read more
Here we are safe and sound in Kalamata. Our quick 3-hour bus ride was easy and relaxing. Here in the Peloponnese, the sun is hot, the clouds are few, and the sea is a stone’s throw away. The incredible staff at our beautiful Elite City Resort has welcomed us with open arms as we settle into our spacious villas. I’ve already heard a few people say that they will never be ready to leave this place.read more
We’ve had quite the successful few days here in Athens. From starting classes to seeing the major sites of Greece’s capital, we can say that our time has already been memorable.
We visited the Acropolis on a cloudy, dreary, rainy Thursday. Sounds awful right?… NOPE! It was quite the opposite. After the acropolis, our wonderful tour guide Daphne showed us around the most exciting and popular spots in Athens: Plaka and Monastiraki.read more
We have arrived safe and sound in Athens after an emotional farewell to our Term 1 students at the airport.
We now have a brand new group to call our family. Some new additions (8, to be exact) who have joined us for Term 2 have settled in nicely as we all get to know each other.read more