When in Rome, Do as the Dragons Do

Sophia McCrimmon, Features Editor

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Photo courtesy of Eliza Bellamy

Thirty-one Maggie Walker students had the chance to visit Italy this summer, several of whom were learning Latin.

Many MLWGS students learn about Italy in the pages of a textbook, but this summer 31 scholars made the country their classroom.

From June 18th to July 6, made the trip to Italy and travelled from Gaeta, a town on the Tyrrhenian Sea, to Florence. Along the way they visited Rome, Bevagne, Sienna, and other memorable sites.

For many who had studied Latin or Italian, the trip was an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of their curriculum.

“It was cool to be able to go along with the Latin texts we were reading and the history we were learning,” said Maddie Coder (‘15).

The visit began in Gaeta. where students and teachers enjoyed relaxing time on the beach– and experienced some exciting moments. Ms. Todd recalled when one student started having an asthma attack on the beach after she waking up from a nap.

“Everyone on the beach started moving towards her and amassing around her to make sure that she was okay. This little Italian woman was even making her do yoga stretches to open up her lungs,” she said.

It felt like it wasn’t a day until we got lost”

— Serina Guy

That wasn’t the only unforgettable moment.

“One day in Gaeta we went hiking and got lost for an hour and a half” remembered Eliza Bellamy (’15).

“It felt like it wasn’t a day until we got lost,” said Serina Guy (‘16), “We got lost on the mountain in Gaeta, and I got lost in Rome several times. We could never figure out the directions people gave us.”

After Gaeta the group moved on to Rome, a city rich with history.

“Rome was kind of hectic because there was so much to see. Mr. Ross [the Latin teacher who chaperoned the trip] wanted to show us everything in the city so we were always up really early in the morning and we didn’t get back until really late,” said Guy. “At one point Ms. Hefty just went ‘If you stop to point out every brick in the city they will never get home!’”

Next the group visited Bevagna, a town in Umbria, and then Siena.

“My favorite place we visited was Siena because we got to become part of the Italian culture and go to the horse race called the Palio. We got a spot on the railing so we were able to watch it up close,” recalled Coder.

“The Palio was a little bit chaotic. Its not like the Kentucky Derby; they don’t really have a gate. They just kind of line the horses up and then say ‘go’” said Guy.

“One of the things I  enjoyed learning about the students was their reaction to the different sites that they see,” said Ms. Hefty, a language teacher and chaperone on the trip. “We do traditional sites, like in Rome, and I see them get excited about that. Then we do some unusual things, like visiting a waterfall in Umbria and seeing the Palio, and they get excited about unusual things as well.”

Experiencing the areas they had studied led students to make their own discoveries.

“What I noticed in Rome was that a lot of the different Roman mindsets and traditions are still there, except I’m not so sure the Italians really notice it,” said Guy. “I think a lot has changed since ancient Rome, but then a lot has stayed the same too.”

If you stop to point out every brick in the city they will never get home!”

— Ms. Hefty

“For students, traveling is not only a physical experience where you go from point A to point B, but travelling is an internal experience,” said Hefty. “They travel inside themselves while they’re there, and when they come home they have time to reflect on it.”

For everyone involved, the voyage was a truly special experience.

 

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