Every two years, students from Siskiyou County are given an opportunity to leave life in our rural area behind to explore the world – with this year’s trip taking them to Italy and Greece.

Every two years, students from Siskiyou County are given an opportunity to leave life in our rural area behind to explore the world – with this year’s trip taking them to Italy and Greece.

The trips are led by Jackson Street School teacher Julie Weisinger, who has taken the opportunity to share her love of travel and learning about cultures with students and their families.

According to Weisinger, the travel is made possible through a partnership with EF Tours, which has over 300 offices around the world.

She said that fellow teacher Ken Masters used to take students on trips to Washington, D.C., and she built on that tradition by expanding travel itineraries to destinations abroad. “Every time I traveled, I wanted to show the kids photos,” she said, but ultimately felt that it would be better if she could just bring them along so they could see for themselves.

The first trip Weisinger facilitated two years ago was to Costa Rica, where students were given a chance to zipline, hike through jungles and experience what she called an “action/adventure.” 

She explained that she plans to rotate the focus on each trip between action/adventure and more educational – which led to this year’s trip to Italy and Greece in late June through the first week of July.

Weisinger said that the trip gave students an opportunity to experience true Italian cuisine and see firsthand ancient ruins where they could walk in the footsteps of the creators of modern democracy and even run a race in the birthplace of the Olympics.

She noted that, before the trip, she was learning to speak Italian, and some of the students would come by at lunch to learn along with her, and she said that it was great to see them ordering food in Italian.

“It’s important because it gives them a new perspective and appreciation for where they come from,” Weisinger said, adding that the trips can give the students an idea of what it means to have global citizenship.

Experiencing and appreciating other cultures is one of the many benefits of the trips, Weisinger said, but there are utilitarian benefits as well. She explained that the travel itself gives kids an insight into how to deal with things such as flight delays, lost luggage and other inconveniences, and it also inspires independence.

In addition, Weisinger said that the trips – especially this year’s – provide an opportunity to bring history to life for kids in ways that simply seeing a photo cannot. As one example, she said that a visit to the Sistine Chapel gave students an idea of the silence and reverence permeating the grounds.

She said that many kids have expressed an interest in returning to the places that they visited, and that seeing their excitement is one of her favorite parts of the experience. “My favorite part is watching them enjoying themselves and learning,” Weisinger said, noting that many of her photos are of the kids taking their own photos, which documents what they find to be important and exciting.

The next trip is planned for spring break in 2019, and, keeping with her rotation, will be an action/adventure in Belize. Parents, friends and students from other schools are welcome on the trips, and Weisinger will be hosting an informational meeting on Sept. 28 for anyone interested in joining the Belize trip.

The meeting will take place in room 26 at Jackson Street School starting at 5:30 p.m., and Weisinger will share information on the costs, procedures and more.



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