In spring of 2018 I went with a group of students to Italy and Greece. We spent 11 days there – only 9 of which were planned (you can read more about that in a future post). And I have to say that the time I spent in Italy and Greece was some of the most surprisingly wonderful time I’ve spent abroad. Though Ireland will always have my soul, Italy and Greece awed me in a way that I never expected.
Consequently, I’m going to do a series of posts in November, and probably December, on my time there. I’m sure I will come back to talking about Ireland again, for those of you who have liked those posts. However, I encourage you to be surprisingly wondered with my posts, even if that isn’t a place you’re particularly interested in.
I’d wanted to visit Italy for several years, but it was honestly a place that I never thought I would actually get to. I feel comfortable traveling on my own in places where I speak the language, but going to Italy seemed unrealistic because the extent of my Italian is basically food related. And though I assume that would come in handy as well, it wasn’t going to be enough to get me where I wanted to go.
Greece was not on my travel radar at all. Though I had heard of the beauty of Greece and the friendliness of the people, I really didn’t think it would be worth the time in the airplane to go there. Also, the Greek language is extremely complicated. Therefore, I never imagined that I would ever see Greece.
The school where I teach (the best school in the state of Indiana, in my humble opinion) has a wonderful history of taking students abroad. For the last twenty-four years, Cascade High School has taken students abroad through EF Tours. Most of the trips have been in Europe, but this summer a group is going to New York City and next spring break one teacher will also be taking a group to Japan.
In 2017 one of the teachers who often is in charge of trips asked me if I would be interested in going on a trip to Italy and Greece with her. Her usual chaperones were not going to be available for the trip, and she wanted to offer a slot to me since she knew that I loved to travel. Despite that chaperones basically get to go for free, I had to really think it over first. I wasn’t really sure that I wanted to travel with students, or with a tour, or be in charge of making sure teenagers survived in a foreign country.
- Visiting new countries at a very minimal cost
- EF provided: airline ticket, breakfast, dinner, transportation, hotel rooms, tour guides, translators, entrance fees to museums/attractions
- The itinerary was planned out and arranged for me – I just needed to wake up and follow the guide (which wasn’t always easy)
- The ability to see countries I didn’t think I would ever see
- There were several parents/aunts/uncles going, so my chaperone requirements were going to be minimal
- Being in charge of teenagers during a school break
- The inability to go where I wanted, when I wanted
That last con was a big one for me. I’d just taken the trip to Ireland and had that freedom to come and go and do whatever I wanted because I didn’t have to accommodate for anyone. However, the pros greatly outweighed the cons, and I decided to make the trip. And to be honest, when I got there I really didn’t mind that as much as I thought I would.
In next week’s blog post, I will talk about our first day in Italy — ROME!