Amazing Immersion Experience for Latin and French Students

Two separate groups of Shaker High School students immersed themselves into their studies by traveling abroad earlier this spring: one trekking north to the French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec, and the other jet-setting across the globe to visit Greece.

two students in Canada with city skyline behind them.
Student trip to Quebec and Montreal

The common denominator shared between the two distinct trips was applying knowledge gained from inside the classroom.

‘It’s almost mind-blowing’  

Shaker High School Latin students traveled to Greece this April, concluding their journey to the Old World after gaining a first-hand experience rich in both history and beauty. 

Latin teacher Edythe Malara organized this year’s trip. World Language Supervisor Brenna Muldoon, Dean of Students Garrett Couture, and Spanish teacher Jessie Morgan, accompanied Malara and her students through the once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Students experienced a plethora of archaeological sites throughout the country. The Acropolis in Athens was on their itinerary, as was the Sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi, the birthplace of the ancient Olympic Games, the ancient bustling town of Corinth, and more. 

While visiting these regions for history, students were exposed to various geography, witnessing how ancient ruins coexist with modern architecture. 

“I really enjoyed seeing how the ancient sites intertwined with the modern towns,” said Senior Lilla Korniss, “and the influence that the past has had on the present.” 

Students said they were amazed after walking through sites and towns they previously learned about in the classroom. Students marveled as they walked the same paths as everyday people in the ancient world. 

“We got to walk the same streets and see the same views that the ancient people did,” Senior Gabby Karins said. “It’s almost mind-blowing when you really think about it. It was almost exactly the same as it was thousands of years ago. 

“When you learn about the sites and the history in class it’s fascinating. To actually experience these places was completely surreal,” Karins said.

In addition to seeing the Classical world, students were gifted the treasure of travel. When the group was not immersing themselves in ancient sites, they enjoyed an authentic Greek dance lesson and relished each and every authentic Greek taverna meal. 

Many students sparked a new found love of cultures, too. 

“Having never left the country before, I couldn’t fully grasp the beauty in traveling but after this trip where I was able to learn and see so much I have a new found perspective on why people truly love to travel,” said Junior Andrew Calderon. 

‘An excellent, culminating experience’

Dr. Keegan, Ms. Detmer, Ms. Shkaf and Mr. Wager accompanied a group of 28 French students to Québec City and Montréal over April break.

While in Québec, they participated in a ghost tour of the old city, recreating 17th century battles on the Plains of Abraham. Other highlights included a visit to Montmorency Falls and Ste.-Anne de Beaupré Cathedral, and dinner at an authentic sugar shack.

“Being immersed in French was an excellent, culminating experience after studying the language for so many years,” said Sophia Rayburn. “It was exciting to be able to read street signs, order in French, and pick up on conversations.”

In Montréal, students toured old Montréal, dined on crêpes, watched an extraordinary light and sound show at Notre Dame Cathedral, and took a guided tour of the Fine Arts Museum. They also ascended Mont Royal, the hill for which Montréal is named, and had a chance to get creative at a graffiti workshop.

“I really enjoyed my time in Québec. My favorite part of the trip was visiting the art museum and church in Montréal,” Katherine Conjalka said. “Not only was I able to practice speaking French with native speakers, but I was also able to pick up on the differences between European and Québec French. I had a great time with my friends exploring Old Québec as well.”