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GOING GLOBAL: Silver Creek students make memories in trip to Europe

Students had a dance party in the Swiss Alps.

A recent trip to Europe was a life changing experience for 54 Silver Creek students and 21 parents and chaperones. The group headed to France, Switzerland and Germany for a 9-day trip to experience the history and culture that they learned in the classroom.

The international trip was open to all 10-12 grade students and was organized by history teacher Jessica Kardashian.

“I feel strongly about offering this experience for our students. It is a full-blown, life-changing experience that will give these kids more than just a vacation. When our students come back from this type of experience, they realize how much more adaptable they are, they have such a higher confidence, because they know that they can go and travel the world,” she explained.

Some of these students experienced many firsts along their way through Europe. They traveled to Toronto to fly to Paris, where they saw the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, the Gothic architecture of Notre Dame, and the Arc de Triomphe. They enjoyed a trip to the Palace of Versailles and the famous Hall of Mirrors, over 20 students took part in an escargot challenge and they spent a full day with the magic of Disneyland Paris.

“For many of these kids it was not only the opportunity to go to Europe. This was most of their first times out of Silver Creek, on a plane, on a bus into Toronto, a train and going to Disney. And their first experience includes Disneyland Paris, that’s priceless,” she said.

Senior Emily Bowers, Teacher Jessica Kardashian, and Senior Rachael Beadle pose in front of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The two students also traveled to Spain with Mrs. Kardashian for a language trip in 2019 as seventh graders and returned to Europe as seniors.

Junior Josie Daniels added, “What I learned about myself is that I’ve grown. I have never been away from my parents, and it was a huge milestone to be able to do that. I’m proud of myself for it and now I know I could go anywhere without being scared.”

From there, the students visited what many called their favorite destination – Switzerland. The students took a bullet train to Zurich and onto Lucerne where they were immersed in the culture. They took a cable car into the Alps and had a dance party at the top of Mount Pilatus. They finished up the day with a Swiss fondue dinner, traditional Swiss games, dancing and a yodeling competition.

Junior Alexander Karnes said, “The food was amazing, especially in Switzerland, the cheese fondue was phenomenal! It was all around a spectacular trip.”

“I specifically enjoyed the beauty of Switzerland, where the scenery was breathtaking and everyone there was eager to share their culture with us. This trip made me more comfortable with international travel, and made me want to do more of it in the future,” Senior Emily Bowers said.

The trip wrapped up with an educational and emotional visit to Dachau concentration camp and a day spent in Munich, Germany exploring Marienplatz, the Residenz, and the best pretzels in the world.

Students took an escargot challenge in Paris.

“This trip impacted me in a very positive way, I view the world differently now. There is a whole world to see and explore, definitely a lot more than just this little Silver Creek. Before the trip, I was very content with just taking an occasional trip to Florida. Now, I’ve acquired the hunger of seeing the world and the fun of travel, and thankfully I got over my fear of flights,” Junior Bailey Hilliker said.

“I can see myself studying abroad in the future, and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity, and I can’t wait for more!” Karnes added.

Mrs. Kardashian planned her first international trip for the school to Greece and Italy in 2018, and based on the success of that trip, she planned a trip for 2020, which was unfortunately canceled due to the pandemic. She herself has traveled to 30 countries and tries to bring international experiences to her students in Silver Creek through the History and Culture Club.

She still hears from students who took her first trip and knows the great impact it has had on them.

“I hear from past students that they are traveling, they ask me for advice on their plans and they tell me when they are studying abroad,” she explained. I had a student who recently did a medical mission in Honduras. She said, if it hadn’t been for our trip in 2018, she wouldn’t have done it. This year I took a student to Europe whose sister went on the 2018 trip. I received an email from their mom that her children have reconnected over a new love for travel and shared experiences. It’s these stories that make all of the planning worth it and reaffirm that these trips can change our students’ perspectives on their future.”

Silver Creek High School alternates international trips between the language and history departments.

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