Exploring the World: Students Travel to Spain

Jacob Nakasone, Reporter

From March 19 to 28, students from MHS, Waipahu, Pearl City high school and Pearl Highlands Intermediate School visited Spain. The trip was partnered with the group EF Educational Tours and spanned across nine different cities in Spain. Osiris Santos, a spanish teacher at MHS who went on a school visit to Spain, Italy and Greece last year, led the group of 45 travelers on their trip.

“I believe that it is important for students to be able to travel and experience the world that we learn about in class. I had always wanted to lead a trip of students abroad, so I finally planned it with the support of the other Spanish teachers. It is important for students to experience first hand the Spanish language and culture and to try to use it in a real world setting. Students who went on the trip also learned about art, history, geography, and science during the trip, so it was cool for me to see their minds working and make connections,” said Santos.

The trip was centered around Spain’s culture, history and art. Throughout the trip, the group visited several famous and historical monuments. “We flew into Barcelona, then we traveled by bus to Valencia, Granada, Mijas, Costa Del Sol, Gibraltar, Sevilla, Córdoba, and we ended our trip in Madrid. Some of the coolest things we got to see during our trip was the Sagrada Familia and Park Güel in Barcelona, The Arts and Sciences complex and Fallas Museum in Valencia, The Alhambra in Granada, the Mezquita in Córdoba, and the Royal Palace in Madrid,” said Santos.

By traveling abroad, the students were exposed to a new culture. Along with their unfamiliar surroundings, the group also got the opportunity to make new friends and bond with them as the trip went on. “I believe that students were able to grow in their understanding of how the world works and the role that we play in it. They ventured out and were able to explore new things. They tried Spanish food and saw so many beautiful things and places that are so different from Hawai’i. They formed friendships and they will forever cherish their high school study abroad experience. At the end of the trip, everybody was comfortable and just kept wanting to learn and see more of what Spain had to offer,” said Santos. Junior Chloe Rego added, “I got to meet new people and hang out with people that I wouldn’t necessarily gravitate towards. I made a lot of new memories.”

The trip also served as an educational tool for the students. For many of them, this trip was their first time traveling out of the country. “Traveling is one of those experiences that make you richer and nobody can take away from you. Students are able to broaden their perspective, learn through experience, and truly see the world,” said Santos. Rego added, “I think it kind of — it definitely broadened my horizons and I got to experience new things. And I think it made me appreciate all the little things that Spain had and also even at home — that I should appreciate them a lot more.”

The experience of traveling to another country came with its challenges. Problems varied from the language barrier to the weather, but many of them didn’t hinder the overall experience for the students. “I’d say just maybe the weather. But I mean, it wasn’t too bad. I think the coldest we were in was 32 degrees. Or actually, the traveling was the worst part. The flights were absolutely ridiculous. And we had an 11 hour flight coming back home and that was just horrible,” said Rego. Santos added, “We had some minor hiccups, but they were able to get solved in the best case scenario.”

For a lot of the students, the trip helped them grow both as students and as people. In addition to these changes, the group made a lot of memories along the course of the trip. “I liked Madrid the most because of the palace and (I also) liked the environment. Everyone was — there was a lot of street performers. It was just like an upbeat place and it was fun and there was a lot of nightlife which I really liked and we just stayed out late exploring,” said Rego. “I feel like people don’t really get to experience this on their own, like outside of a school program. I think it’s way more fun when you go with your friends and people that you also don’t know because eventually you’ll get to know them and build new relationships with other people. And I think you’ll like take this with you for the rest of your life. It’s a memorable experience.”

The next trip MHS is planning to hold is a trip to Peru next school year. MHS is also planning on doing another trip to Europe in 2021. “We will be taking 12 students to Perú next year on a service learning project. There are still some open spots for that, so there is an informational meeting in N101 on April 23. In 2021, we will be traveling to France and Spain as a large group again. We will have 2 informational meetings on May 8th in N101 to discuss that trip,” said Santos.