By Abby Terrill | Journalism 1
Five Pearce girls and a group from Lake Highlands High School took a trek across Spain and Morocco during Spring Break. The group went to study Spanish, learn history, and immerse themselves in a new culture.
Pearce Spanish teacher Erin Carstens led four sophomores and one junior on the eight-day journey through famous Spanish cities.
“I was eager to lead this trip,” Ms. Carstens said. “I wanted to allow students to expand their knowledge and introduce them to a new culture firsthand.”
In October, Ms. Carstens invited students from Spanish 3 and 4 classes to join her and other students and teachers from Lake Highlands on the tour.
The first day was a travel day. The flight from Dallas to Madrid took nearly 10 hours. Once in Madrid, they took a connecting flight to Malaga, a province in the autonomous community of Andalusia.
The next morning, the group woke up at 5:30 in order to catch a ferry to Morocco operating that day.
In Morocco, the group visited an art school, explored the old city of Tetouan, mingled with street vendors, learned a bit of Arabic from the locals, and even got to ride a few camels.
Junior Andy Garcia was thrilled by the experience.
“I couldn’t believe that I was actually in Africa,” Andy said. “How many people in their lives get to go to Africa?”
On day three, they departed Costa Del Sol for Seville. The visit included a tour of the Seville Cathedral and the Alcazar Castle. The day ended with a special flamenco show.
“The flamenco night was incredible,” Lake Highlands Spanish teacher Josh Perkins said. “I’m amazed that people are able to move their feet that fast.”
Granada, home to the famous Alhambra fortress and palace, was the destination on day four.
The next stop, on day five, was Toledo. They visited the Toledo Cathedral, the Toledo Synagogue and the painting The Burial of the Count of Orgaz by famed painter El Greco.
Then the group drove to Madrid, where they spent the last nights of the trip.
In Madrid the group visited the Royal Palace, ate at a tapas bar in a dungeon, watched street performers in the Plaza Mayor, and viewed some of the finest pieces of art in history.
For sophomore Mia Sustek, Madrid was one of the best parts of the trip.
“I absolutely adored Madrid,” Mia said. “If I could go back and live there, my life would be complete.”
However, the purpose of this trip was not only to have fun, but to learn.
“I believe learning hands-on is more effective than sitting in a classroom and listening to lectures,” Ms. Carstens said.
Sophomore Mia Sustek benefited from being surrounded by native Spanish speakers.
“I learned so much Spanish on this trip because we got to converse with the locals,” Mia said. “I can actually carry on a conversation in Spanish now.”
Heavy hearts accompanied them on the flight back home, but what also accompanied them were the memories, the knowledge, and the joy of finally being home.
Junior Andy Garcia was grateful for the opportunity to be on the trip.
“This was really an unforgettable experience for me,” Andy said. “If I could do it all again, I would do it a million times over.”