NDA Students Headed to Europe on Summer Trip Organized by Madame

Elizabeth Bolin, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

The annual “French trip” is one of the most beneficial opportunities Notre Dame Academy has to offer. Madame Geyer, French and Russian teacher, has taken students all over Europe for 21 years and shows no signs of slowing down in the future.

With the end of semester right around the corner, the 2017 French trip is approaching quickly, and plans for the 2018 one are already being discussed. The 2017 trip is two weeks long, June 15-28, with 33 students signed up to go.

Past locations have included Rome and Paris, but the itinerary changes each year.

“Locations are driven by demand,” explained Geyer. Many students repeat the trip and it’s designed so they get to experience different cultures and activities.

This year locations include Barcelona, France, Monaco, Florence and Venice. “We like to go off of the beaten track and visit small, picturesque villages that provide a contrast to huge cities like Florence,” said the French teacher.

Preparation for the trip starts almost 18 months in advance, and Geyer shoulders almost all of the responsibilities of planning the trip. She is responsible for booking flights, buses, hotels and tour guides as well as pairing appropriate roommates.

“Safety of the students is the number one priority, and logistically it’s a difficult process but after twenty years it’s become a well-oiled machine,” she said.

The purpose of the trip is to provide a safe and educational experience while being immersed in different cultures.

“The tours are not just educational, but they are also meant to be a vacation,” said Geyer, and adding that many students appreciate the southern destinations during the summer because of the close proximity to the beach.

“Venice we must visit, of course, because it’s a disappearing city and many people might never get the opportunity to see it,” she said.  Geyer puts hours of thought into the selection of the destinations.

While the French teacher has worked hard to create and maintain a high quality option to travel, many students work to help pay for the trip.

“There are so many aspects of this trip,” she explained. “Not only is it seeing the world but it’s exposing students to different cultures and practicing language and religious education as well as art and music and food.”

Geyer believes that nothing in the world replaces experience, which is why she’s put so much effort into making the trip available. “I want my students to leave the school not only bright and well educated, but tolerant and accepting, which is achieved through becoming a citizen of the world.”