See You Later: Students travel overseas for summer break


Natalie Martinez

Looking up to take a picture, sophomore Paloma Maldonado Banda and junior Gabby Brown stand in front of the Château Royal d’Amboise. The group of students visited the castle on May 30.

Another post of far-away lands and the Eiffel Tower popped up on a feed. After scrolling through social media, it seemed everyone was in a different country. Smiling from ear to ear as they explore an unknown territory, students posed for selfies with the scenery of distant lands behind them.
Students broke away from the familiarity of the U.S. and decided to explore cultures around the world over the summer. Whether students explored the towns of Europe alongside their families or decided to take a solo trip to gain a new experience, they weren’t the only ones following this travel trend.
An online survey conducted of 164 students showed that 21% of students traveled outside of the country this past summer.
According to an article by NPR in June, American travel to Europe was projected to jump 600% from last year.
Also according to NPR, this sudden growth in overseas traveling even had a new name, “revenge traveling,” because travelers were making up for lost travel time due to COVID-19.
Senior Alexander Murphy was part of this trend.

Alex Murphy

Walking across the brick streets of Italy, senior Alexander Murphy prepared himself for a long day of exploring. For Murphy, his reason for traveling was his annual family vacation.
Over the summer, Murphy and his family traveled to Italy for two weeks. According to Murphy, his family favors Europe as a place to travel.
While he enjoyed the trip, the part he wouldn’t want to do again would be walking to the Colosseum.
“It was a crowded and long walk,” Murphy said. “It was very hot.”
While some may like to go sightseeing or souvenir shopping, Murphy said his favorite thing to do was explore the food options.
“Eating was pretty fun and swimming too,” Murphy said. “The pizza was super good.”
A difference Murphy noticed between the U.S. and other countries he’s traveled to is how other families act.
“Here in America, everyone in a family tries to go away,” Murphy said. “In other countries, they all stay together and that’s very important.”
Murphy said he would like to continue going on family vacations even when he goes to college.
“It’s a fun escape for our summer and get together with family and have a good time,” Murphy said.
Having the opportunity to travel to Italy with his family made the trip an eye-opening experience for Murphy, and he is looking forward to the next trip.
“I think there’s a lot of good things other cultures like can bring to you and can change your way of thinking,” Murphy said. “So I think [traveling] is a very necessary thing I will do.”

Cooper Cahalan

Returning to his family’s roots, sophomore Cooper Cahalan traveled to Germany over the summer to see the place his parents once called home.
“My sister was born in Germany, so we decided to go back to her hometown because my parents also used to live there for two to three years,” Cahalan said. “We wanted to go back and see where they lived.”
While his trip was mostly centered around learning more about his parents’ past experiences, Cahalan took advantage of this opportunity to make some memories of his own.
“I traveled to a couple of different countries,” Cahalan said. “I traveled to Germany, Amsterdam, Paris and Ireland.
According to the first-time traveler abroad, he was not excited and felt underwhelmed when awaiting the trip.
However, once he experienced the lifestyle of different countries, he began to see how unique other cultures were and how much of the world he did not know.
“Everything in the U.S. is just box-like plain, but the architecture over there is unreal.” Cahalan said. ‘We did what we called castle hunting, where we would just go out and look around for a castle.”
Cahalan and his family spent two weeks in various cities of Germany and became accustomed to the everyday lifestyle such as eating wiener schnitzel and the long brick roads where they walked for hours as they explored little shops and the stories shared about the cities.
“I was not really expecting what I saw,” Cahalan said. “It was super cool to wake up in a different country because you are living in another part of the world, and you kind of just get away from home. It is not anything like the U.S.”

Avery Kurt

Charging port converters — these helpful tools aren’t on many students’ summer packing list, but sophomore Avery Kurt knew she needed one.
For Kurt, this was a useful tool as she traveled on a two week family vacation to Italy, Croatia and Greece in July.
“It’s definitely a different experience than in the United States,” Kurt said. “They do things a lot differently. Life in the United States is so much easier.”
According to Kurt, the travel time to Europe included a 10-hour flight in addition to another two-hour plane ride.
“The flight was super long, and the jet lag was bad,” Kurt said.
While Kurt and her family were in Europe, they stayed in two different Airbnbs and a hotel. Kurt said that most livable places were located above shops and restaurants.
“Everything is a lot more squished and compact,” Kurt said. “There are so many different travelers.”
While in Rome, Kurt and her family visited the Vatican and the Colosseum.
“It was my dad’s dream to take my family to Rome,” Kurt said.
For other students who are traveling abroad for their first time, Kurt urged them to be prepared for walking because of the price of transportation to each site.
“It was a thrilling, memorable and unique experience,” Kurt said.

Dr Julius Lopez

The ringing of the alarm clock shook the room at Oxbridge. Students filled the dorms in Barcelona at a summer study abroad program as they prepared for their first class of the day.
Over the summer, junior Dr Julius Lopez ventured by himself and resided with fellow students from all over the globe for one month when he decided to take the trip to enhance his interests in the health field.
“I studied general medicine,” Lopez said. “I learned how to do stitches and other basic stuff like that.”
While some may struggle with the idea of learning in a completely different country with people they have never met before, Lopez said it actually helped him.
“The combination of a different environment and a different culture — I feel like it really helps you absorb the information better and it sticks with you,” Lopez said.