Two senior students write about their term break experiences in other parts of the world...
12 days, 14 art galleries, three states, walking, walking, walking and, of course, the finest American cuisine. These are just a few things that made up our whirlwind North American adventure. 32 students and four teachers began 36 hours of travel to reach our first destination - Washington DC.
The Capitol met us with cold weather and rain but it couldn’t dampen our spirits. We headed to the National Mall to see the First and Second World War memorials - the very spot where Martin Luther King addressed the crowd with his “I have a dream” speech.
We visited Capitol Hill, the Supreme Court, and The White House before heading to Chinatown. We went to the National Gallery of Art, seeing works by Da Vinci, Picasso, Van Gogh. The Hirschhorn Gallery showed us the finest modern American art. Later we experienced an evening of Italian food with true, huge American portions.
Next, we drove to New York City, where we would spend the next five days.
In New York, we packed in everything we could. We went all over Manhattan Island, navigating our way from our hostel on the Upper West Side by subway and foot, like the real New Yorkers we aspired to be. We walked around Central Park, visited Union, Herald, Madison and Washington Squares, visited the 9/11 memorial, walked along the Highline and Brooklyn Bridge.
We saw ‘Kinky Boots’ on Broadway, transferred through Grand Central Station and shopped it up at the biggest department store in the world. We saw the iconic Flat Iron building, the Washington Arch, the Rockefeller Centre, Times Square lit up at night, the best views of Manhattan from the Empire State Building and we even ventured to Brooklyn!
Oh, and the art. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was a tour favourite. There we saw Claude Monet’s ginormous water-lily painting, works from Picasso, Frida Kahlo, Jackson Pollock, Henri Matisse and the memorising Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh.
We saw some funky art in the beautifully designed Guggenheim, on the Upper East Side, and visited the Whitney Museum of Art and several small galleries in the arty Chelsea district. We spent a whole day in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, seeing a completely inspiring range of artworks, even a staggering real Egyptian temple, rebuilt brick by brick.
After an amazing time in New York, we left, with heavy hearts, to fly to Los Angeles for two nights. There we had the time of our lives at Universal Studios, ordered a truckload of pizza, walked down the Hollywood Walk of Fame and naturally, saw the Hollywood sign - it does not look as big as it does on TV. We shopped in Santa Monica and walked on the board walk to Venice beach, seeing the stereotypical Californian body builders.
This trip was not only amazing because of the culture, sights and the fun, but because of the people and friends we shared it with. Whether it was friends we made in our hostel from around the globe, or new friendships formed with our classmates, the experience was 100 times better because of them. It was all truly life changing and we are so grateful to be able to have been given this opportunity, thanks to our amazing art teachers.
By Isabella Dunleavy
A trip to Asia's second largest country, gave eight students the experience of a lifetime. Travelling with Miss Kofoed and Mrs Johnson, the two week trip consisted of big bustling cities, spicy Chinese food, impressive factories and popular tourist attractions.
Shanghai was incredible; the city spreads for miles. Four days, filled with an Ikea and Disneyland visit, and a tour of Shanghai’s attractions and factories; including the Fake market - an underground market filled with everything imaginable, from designer handbags, wallets and watches to shoes, jewellery and sunglasses.
Beijing had more smog and historic temples than Shanghai. The weather was wet and cold on the day we went to the Temple of Heaven, Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square so it was a quick stop at the souvenir shop to purchase umbrellas. Beijing has beautiful infrastructure and gardens and of course the Great Wall, which the group visited while the last bit of afternoon sun was still out.
Xian was the group’s favourite place because it was the most traditional city we visited. Cycling, walking and visiting the Terracotta Warriors; with the highlight cycling the city wall. It was a tough exercise but it was so worth it.
Hong Kong was the last stop. It is quite different when compared to the other cities, because of the green hills that surround it. The group watched the light show, went on Hong Kong's Ferris wheel and visited the chaotic night markets. The highlight was going up to Victoria Peak for beautiful views of the city and the sea together.
The trip was a great learning experience as every student learnt how to be independent and responsible. We are so lucky to have the opportunities that allow us to travel and learn about other parts of the world at our age.
By Sophie McMillan