NDA Europe Trip Draws Rave Reviews

Diego Mendoza, Staff Writer

There is much excitement throughout the halls of Notre Dame Academy as students anxiously prepare for the upcoming European trip.

The two week trip, set to depart June 20, is in its final preparations and revisions as French and Russian teacher, Natasha Geyer, works swiftly in the midst of all her classes.

“The main purpose of the trip is to be exposed to other cultures,” Geyer said. “The only way to learn about cultures is to see it through your own eyes. In this format, students will become independent and learn to create their own opinions.”

International travel opportunities are nothing new at NDA. Geyer, commonly referred to as “Madame” among her co-worker and students, introduced the idea to the school in her first years of teaching. She was surprised that NDA students did not offer students travel opportunities and consequently began the trips within the NDA community.

“When I first began teaching here, Green Bay was lacking in global culture the rest of the country was experiencing. Notre Dame helped its students develop educationally and spiritually, but lacked in helping them develop culturally. The trips have become so popular that we’ve been trying to conduct one every year!” Madame said.

The trip has received positive reviews from the students who have participated in it. Multiple participants described the trip as “a once-in-a-lifetime experience.” For many students, like senior Colleen Mortell,  it was also her first time travelling outside of the U.S, a goal Madame is proud many of her students were able to achieve.

“I’ll be honest, it was very overwhelming (travelling outside the U.S), but soon became a lot fun knowing I was travelling from country to country with some of my best friends,” Mortell said. “The most stressful part is the time before you leave, like applying for your passport, but it is definitely worth it once you realize that you’re in Europe!”

Many freshmen were also given the opportunity of travel after several spots were opened at the beginning of the school year. Freshman Colleen Lois quickly added her name to the list soon after she was informed of the openings. For her, the greatest value of participating on the tour is to actively experience the French language.

“Now that I’m learning French, I’m really excited to experience the language hands-on,” Lois said. “I want to see where the language originates from, and hopefully I can improve while I’m there.”

Madame said that students need to show proper etiquette and safety while travelling internationally. Madame additionally warns her students to “have street-smartness” while travelling as in any other city. Previous groups have experienced crimes such as pickpocketing and street violence on their trip, she said.

Those participating will be travelling along the Mediterranean coast and visiting cities and countries such as Barcelona, Spain; southern France, Monaco, and Rome. Much of the tour will be focused on visiting  Medieval villages, various museums, and famous Mediterranean beaches.

Madame said she expects the most anticipated landmark to be the Vatican. She said she hopes students will be able to appreciate where the faith of NDA is based from.

For now, Geyer is keen on having her students understand the true meaning of the trip:

“Of course it will be fun, and everybody will have a blast, but the trip isn’t just for that. It will be an educational tour as well as a personal journey, where those who do it will become independent, responsible, and grateful.”