Wanderlust Goals

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I started my summer with an unusual tour. In 2016, I began planning this 2018 tour to London, Paris, and Barcelona. My student tours had failed to make numbers twice in a row and I was looking for a way to get my small community interested in travel again! My tour coordinator at EF suggested a “community tour”.  Pitch a bucket list tour that would bring the adults in but then offer it to students as well. I loved the idea and set it up right away.

In the summer, just after my website went live, I got a job offer at a neighboring school. It was too good to pass up, so I accepted… but this left me in a bad place with my community tour! I had just left the school district and all of my potential student travelers! My new school had not traveled in years AND they didn’t know me… it took a while but we finally ended up with a group of 12 adventurous souls (10 adults and 2 kids).

Because our group was so small, we couldn’t be private without paying a LOT of extra fees so we had to agree to join a student tour group.

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My group’s ages ranged from 88 to 17 so in some ways this was not the best fit! All that walking and public transportation was challenging for my three seniors but in the end, the tour was incredible! It really got everyone excited about traveling.

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I had always stuck with Spanish speaking countries only so that my students could practice their new language skills but what I found on this trip was that in France, they were applying what they knew in Spanish to try and read maps, signs, and schedules! They were even figuring out French words on their own with no prior exposure!

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For me, it was incredible to be a language learner again. My French is only about Novice High reading and even lower listening and speaking so I loved being in the place my students find themselves in my classroom.

At the end of our tour, everyone was so thrilled that we began to talk about where our next adult adventure would take us.

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A friend recommended we give LingoTours a try. This company is based in the Netherlands but provides student AND adult tours. It’s incredible. For a fully private tour with as few as 15 travelers, they quoted me $500 lower than either of the bigger companies I’ve worked with in the past! We’ll be in central hotels and eat quality meals! And since this tour is designed to be an adult tour (although if a parent wants to bring a kid along, that is 100% fine), we’ll also visit some wineries, try Port wine in Porto, Portugal, have great Dutch beer and snacks in a brewery… It is going to be incredible!

Have you traveled only with students? From 2017’s tour of Ecuador with ICTFL and my travel-mate Kara Jacobs to this summer’s LPB with my 10 adults and 2 kids, I’ve discovered that student travel is a MUST and student travel to countries that speak your TL is also a must but a break now and then to travel with adults who are of the same mindset as you is a whole new experience! There isn’t the constant responsibility of counting your little ducklings before you put them to bed, there aren’t the complaints about the foods they’re served, there aren’t the homesick sweethearts! IMG_6428

If you’re interested in joining us, we’d love to experience Amsterdam, Portugal, and Galicia with you. If you are looking to take your own group and are interested in a more personalized experience, I can’t recommend Lingo enough! Whatever you do, see the world. It is more than just a bucket list to check things off of, it is a classroom that opens doors to things you never knew existed!

POSTER - Amsterdam, Galicia and Portugal 2020 Tour - AGP061

Author: senoracmt

I began teaching Spanish in Illinois in 1994. I have taught levels 1-4 in a small rural high school, 8th grade introductory Spanish, Biology 1, and 101 and 102 at the community college level. My Spanish classes are partnered with the community college to offer students 8 semester hours of dual credit on completion of Spanish 4. In 2011 I met Carol Gaab and Kristy Placido and have since co-authored the book "La hija del sastre" with Carol Gaab and authored the novels "La Calaca Alegre", "Bianca Nieves y los 7 toritos." "Vector," "48 horas" and "Bananas" through Fluency Matters. In 2006 I became National Board certified and I have been serving as a mentor both for candidates seeking certification in world languages other than English and a virtual mentor for candidates in all certificate areas. I completed my Masters degree in Spanish education in 2011 and did my research on the use of Understanding by Design to create meaningful cultural units for the language classroom. I am a frequent presenter on this topic, please consider me if you are interested in a workshop on backward design. In 2013 I was named the ICTFL Foreign Language teacher of the year and in 2014 I was selected as CSCTFL's teacher of the year. In November of 2014 I was lucky enough to be one of the five finalists for the ACTFL National Teacher of the Year in San Antonio, TX. What a "Cinderella" experience! You can reach me via email at senoracmt at gmail.com.

One thought

  1. Thank you for sharing your experience! I have always wanted to take my French students on a trip abroad, but unfortunately, I have not yet had the opportunity. As you describe perfectly, the responsibility of “counting the little ducklings” would be a challenge. I think it is crucial to make our students more globally aware. In the meantime, I’m limited to “virtual fieldtrips” for my students, as I familiarize them with countries where French is spoken: http://teachinginthetargetlanguage.com/geography-in-the-target-language-more-on-cross-curricular-activities/. Thank you for sharing your insight on both travel with students (and with other adults)! Best of luck to you with everything!

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