A token of advice frequently offered is to travel and explore Earth’s many corners. Throughout the majority of June, 21 LSR7 students did just that as they embarked on a journey through four European countries: England, France, Switzerland, and Germany.
West junior Isabel Rodriguez, who had previously not ventured outside of her home state Missouri and neighboring state Kansas said this trip was amazing. Rodriguez said her favorite memories on this trip were “just getting to explore and see the different countries.”
“It was amazing,” said West Junior Taylor Manske, who also went on the trip. Manske, who has already travelled throughout Europe before, was most excited to stay with her German host family.
While shadowing her German student Lotta in her daily activities, Manske particularly enjoyed going to school where she was able to communicate with other Germans and test out her German speaking skills.
Senior Daxton Gautreaux grew very close with the German family who hosted him, and said “the best thing about my homestay was the amount of kindness shown from the Stübke family.”
With his family, Gautreaux attended a few parties and dinners, explored various museums, castles, and other landmarks, and was able to try new foods specific to the German culture.
While faced with various obstacles, whether that be the ever prevalent language barrier, or the slew of foreign cultures and cities, many of the young travelers cited emotional shifts as a result of this trip.
As Manske travelled from one European border to the next, she also ventured within herself and unveiled character traits and insights she never realized were present.
“I discovered that I’m a completely different person than I thought of myself as,” said Manske. “I got to be myself on this trip because I wasn’t with all of my friends and trying to do what they were doing. I just figured out a complete different side of myself… and learned that I need to put myself out there more and talk to different people as much as I can and just experience the world.”
Gautreaux said this trip aided him in the realization that he is “pretty good at trying new things and making new friends.”
In addition to inward reflection and increasing self awareness, this trip seemed to spark and grow a love and passion for travel among many trip-goers.
“Traveling was always something I wanted to do in the future, but this trip strengthened that more,” said Manske. Manske decided not to wait until she was older to travel, but rather utilize scholarship opportunities and exchange programs so she can travel and experince non-American cultures and lifestyles while she is still in high school.
Rodriguez also foresees travel in her future and said she hopes to revisit the countries and destinations she saw on this trip sometime in her life.
Gautreaux advices all to “get out of your comfort zone and go see the world, try new foods, talk to someone in a different language, or camp under the stars in the middle of nowhere. Just live your life because you only have one so you might as well make the most of it.”