Information About 8th Grade International Trips

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Sanford Middle School has provided 8th grade trips abroad for the past 14 years.  Traveling to a different country provides an authentic learning experience for students.  They make connections to history, geography, culture, literature, art, language, and science as they explore a different part of the world.  Generally, between 20-40 students have gone on each trip.  Some teachers invite parents to accompany them, with the understanding that the parents pay the full adult price.  Generally, when parents are invited to participate, between 3-6 parents have come.  

Sanford has used Explorica Tours for the past 14 years.  Based off of research and customer service interactions with both Explorica and EF Tours, their prices for trips are very similar.   However,  EF customer service was not as accommodating or friendly, and the EF tour guides and EF itineraries did not receive as many positive reviews compared to Explorica.   Explorica does a particularly amazing job employing tour guides that are extremely good with students, knowledgeable about many topics related to the places we go, and can communicate in both English and the language(s) of each country the school group visits.  

Sanford students have visited places in Central America, South America, and Europe because these destinations are cheaper, relatively speaking, compared to flying to Asia or Africa.  The teacher(s)/staff members who lead the trip decide the destination students will visit.  Sometimes the itinerary has an environmental focus, or an historical focus that is attractive to the teachers/staff.  

For the 2018 trip, Ms. Becker and Mr. Morgan will be taking students to Costa Rica. 

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For the 2019 trip, Ms. Stuehringer and Ms. Novak will be taking students to Central Europe.  Some cities and sites we’ll visit include: Berlin and the Charlie Checkpoint Museum, Prague, Krakow and the Auschuwitz Concentration Camp and Memorial, the Wieliczka Salt Mine Museum, and Budapest.  This destination was chosen largely due to the great reviews Mr. Sparks had about his trip that he took with 8th graders in the spring of 2017 to Central Europe.  World War II and the Holocaust will be covered in both social studies and English classes, which will hopefully make the trip to the above destinations all the more meaningful.  The cost of the trip is $3195, which includes the flight, 8 hotel nights, breakfast, dinner, tours, and the services of a personal guide and bus driver (as needed).  Teachers recommend that students bring an additional $400-500 to pay for lunches and souvenirs.  You can sign up by going to www.explorica.com/Stuehringer-2263.  Please be aware that the cost of the trip will increase after June 21st.  We look forward to another fantastic learning experience in 2019!  Contact Lisa Stuehringer at lisa.stuehringer@mpls.k12.mn.us with further questions.