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 30-50 students have gone on each trip.  Sometimes parents will accompany the trip, with the understanding that the parents pay the full adult price. 

Sanford has used Explorica Tours for the past 14 years.  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.  We have looked at other tour companies, but their prices are not cheaper and their customer service is not better. We trust Explorica to give us a great trip every time.

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.  We aim to keep the trip under $3000 total when possible. Sometimes the itinerary has an environmental focus, or an historical focus that is attractive to the teachers/staff.  

Sanford will provide fundraising opportunities for students, and also start the trip planning in 6th grade so students have at least 2 years to work and save money. Our expectation is that students CAN raise all the funds themselves - students do this every year! But it does take some dog-walking and snow-shoveling outside of the Sanford fundraising. We will help students budget and strongly encourage students who are interested to do the work needed to make it happen. As Dr. Palmer says: "Your mom doesn't get to go - why should she pay?" Fundraising & saving money is also a great lesson in delayed gratification for our middle school students!

Here is info about specific trips:

For the 2018 trip, Ms. Becker and Mr. Morgan will be taking students to Costa Rica. explorica.com/Becker-990


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.


For the 2020 trip, Mr. Sparks and Ms. Hellevik will be taking students to Italy. Watch for more info soon for 6th graders.