STA's International Trips, 2019-20
St. Thomas Aquinas is excited to announce the international trips that will occur during the 2019-20 school year. Please note that each trip is offered at a specific time of year; they are not all Winterterm trips. For your planning purposes, we want to share this information with our families sooner rather than later.
During the next school year, students will have an opportunity to travel to Peru, South Africa, The Galapagos Islands, and/or Italy. Interested families are invited to attend an information session about the trips on Monday, April 1st at 5pm. If you have any questions regarding a certain trip, please reach out to the facilitator directly (email is provided below).
The South Africa 2020 Winterterm Program is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for aspiring wildlife conservationists or nature enthusiasts. It will begin with a tour of Cape Town and then proceed on to a week of research, volunteering, and fun on a private Big 5 game reserve. This course has been developed to offer participants an incredible experience in practical knowledge and diverse hands-on encounters with the world famous “Big-Five” animals of Africa – the Lion, the African Elephant, the Cape Buffalo, the Leopard, the Rhinoceros, and a multitude of other native species. Specific focus is placed on managing the wildlife, conservation, education, and research activities. There are numerous research projects in which students will participate to help compile long-term data at the reserve. This includes night behavior monitoring, photography, tracking migration with telemetry, elephant nutrition, cheetah rehabilitation and much more. Students will learn the inner workings of operating a wildlife game reserve, make memories that will last a lifetime and will contribute to returning some of Africa’s lands back to their original state – an African savannah teeming with wildlife.
Cost: $3000. Students must be 15 years of age at the time of participation in the program.
Peru is a megadiverse country with incredible habitats ranging from the arid plains, to the Andes mountains, to the tropical Amazon Basin rainforest. Throughout our Peruvian adventure, students will have the opportunity to experience both the modern-day Peruvian culture and the ancient Incan culture. Students will travel to Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu, and other historic and natural sites in this breathtaking South American Country. In addition to visiting Machu Picchu (the ancient Incan city set high in the Andes mountains), students could visit the Ollantaytambo ruins, Moray, the Maras salt mines, Rainbow mountain, Humantay lake, and the Amazon Basin. During their stay in Cusco, students will complete their service work at Sunflower Orphanage. They will play and interact with the children, paint and clean the orphanage, and help harvest crops and prepare meals.
Estimated Cost: $3,500 per person. This includes roundtrip airfare from Boston, lodging, transportation, all meals, and all entrance fees to Machu Picchu and the other sites.
The Galapagos Island Ecology Program
This is a course in Island Ecology (facilitated by Ecology Project International) that takes place in the Galapagos Islands. The Galapagos Islands are a world-renowned archipelago off Ecuador's coast. These dramatic islands and waters are home to fascinating birds, abundant marine life, active volcanoes, and emblematic species like the giant tortoise and Darwin’s finches. With EPI, we will monitor wild adult tortoises as part of an exclusive partnership with the Galapagos National Park Service. (EPI is the only group with permission to work directly with the turtles in the wild- this is an utterly unique and life-changing experience). We will be conducting field work with researchers studying these rare giant tortoises. In addition to field work (students will get 30 hours of coursework as part of this experience), we will visit Isabella Island and Santa Cruz to snorkel, hike and kayak amidst hypersaline lagoons, pristine white sands beaches, coral reefs and experience the rich wildlife unique to this part of the world. Some examples include marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, Galapagos sea lions and penguins, sharks, rays, and sea turtles. If interested, please contact Dr. Sue Pike as soon as possible. We are limiting this to 12 students and expect this trip to fill up quickly. For more information about EPI and the Galapagos Island Ecology Program you can visit the EPI website at www.ecologyproject.org
Date and Duration: February Break, 12 days (Students will miss some school. The final dates are not yet set.)
Cost: $5495 (Price includes airfare, all fees on the island and all accommodations and food)
April Vacation 2020
A trip to beautiful Italy is being planned for April vacation, 2020. Students and their chaperones will begin the 10 day trip in Venice, the city of boats and gondolas. We will visit the Cathedral of San Marco as well as the Doge’s palace. We will tour this idyllic city with our guide before heading on to Florence. In Florence, we will study the Renaissance as we visit museums containing famous art from this period. We will visit two incredible churches and attend a cooking class where we will learn to cook and eat Italian delicacies. An excursion to the Tuscan hilltop town San Gimignano will follow with a Tuscan farm lunch that will stay in your memories for a lifetime. On day 6, we will travel to the Amalfi Coast where will stay in Sorrento. For the history enthusiasts, we will visit Pompeii, the city destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. We will also take a ferry over to the Isle of Capri. Here we will explore the island both on land and by sea. Weather permitting, we might even take a plunge into the Mediterranean Sea! Our trip will end in the eternal city of Rome. Picture yourselves living in the time of the ancient Romans! Students will even have the chance to attend Gladiator School! In Rome, we will visit the Vatican with its museums and the Sistine Chapel. Saint Peter’s Basilica will leave us breathless as will the Coliseum, the many piazza’s and the Spanish Steps. We will bid fond adieu to Italy when we throw our coins into the Trevi Fountain, which will ensure another visit to this city of art, religion, history and of course fabulous food!
Cost: approximately $4,500 which includes everything except lunches and souvenirs. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime trip. The trip is open to students of all grades.
Facilitator: Mrs. Mary Chamberlain (email@example.com)