The tour's name is dubbed "Europe at Leisure" because students are able to spend a couple of days in each city, in contrast to other tour options where students spend shorter periods in each city. The tours are led by licensed local guides from the company EF (Education First), the largest student travel company in the world. Due to the large size of EF, it can negotiate the cheapest prices. EF has four hundred and fifty schools and offices in over fifty countries, “so local EF staff members can react quickly and in person wherever you travel,” states the EF brochure.
The company is fully accredited meaning high school students can also garner elective credits while on tour.
The purpose of the trip is for students to gain an "international experience," said director Ms. Rasmussen, who studied abroad in Spain when she was in college. "[It] gives the ability to understand other cultures [and] it gave me the confidence to figure things out and be able to take care of myself," she said, on the most beneficial aspect of her experience.
The trip exact departure date will not be determined until approximately one month before departure, but will be in the first three to four weeks of summer.
While Ms. Rasmussen and Ms. Daniels are the main chaperones, the trip is not associated with any organization on campus. Any current student may go, including seniors. Siblings, parents, and students from other schools are also welcome. If the traveler is 19 or younger for the duration of the trip, they will pay the student price. Younger siblings may or may not be eligible to go depending on their age, due to the requirements of some of the activities and regulations.
For the trip to take place, a minimum of six people must sign up. The cutoff date for committing to the trip is quite flexible but, “it’s much better for the students to enroll earlier,” said Ms. Rasmussen. The earlier students sign up, the less costly their monthly payments will be. The first payment is due the month after the student commits to the trip.
The bare minimum, fifteen-day price is $4,320 for students and $4,805 for adults. The price includes transportation, hotels, meals, a full-time tour director, sight-seeing tours led by local guides, entrance fees, accreditation, and insurance. The only things that are not included are lunch and gratuities.
“I’d like to go, but I’m not [going to] because it’s too expensive…the [price] is good but it’s still a lot of money,” said tenth grade student Kimberly Sakaske.
In addition to the standard itinerary, students can choose to add on optional excursions, shown in the itinerary in blue. These extra excursions do not prolong the trip; instead, the students who want to go on the excursion will go with either Ms. Rasmussen or Ms. Daniels while the rest of the group does other activities in the city. These optional excursions add various extra prices that are not already included.
Students also have the option of extending their trip by an extra two days. While the rest of the students would depart from Rome, those on the two day extension will travel to the Sorrento region, Capri, and Pompeii, shown in red. This also adds an additional cost to the price of the trip.
Interested students should speak to Ms. Rasmussen for more details as well as the full itinerary.
Written by Hayley Petersen and Natalie Tetreault
Multimedia by Natalie Tetreault
Photo #3 By Boris Dzhingarov (Paris France Uploaded by dzhingarov) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons