Westgate has a long tradition of travelling to Europe. In fact, the first Germany trip went in 1977 and the first France trip dates back to 1986. Since that time we have combined travel to Germany and France in order for grade 10 and 11 students to experience both countries. We try to spend 10 days in each country giving students a variety of cultural, historical and tourist experiences.
The France portion of the trip always includes Paris and Chamonix- Mont -Blanc’s gondola and glaciers. The rest of the trip is variable. At times we have chosen to visit historical Juno Beach (WWII history) and Verdun (WWI history) and the island of Mont St. Michel in Normandy. Other trips have gone to the South of France to visit caves, Roman ruins, the Mediterranean Sea and canoe down the Dordogne riverside in the heart of the most beautiful castles.
The Germany portion of the trip has always included a few days exploring Berlin with all its history, modern architecture and culture. The trip usually includes some connection to a sister church community where students are billeted. The rest of the time in Germany changes from trip to trip. We have hiked along the Rhine River and the Harz Mountains. We have explored cities like Hamburg, Munich and Stuttgart as well as relaxed in little towns like Rottenburg, Schierke, Oberammergau and Neuharlingersiel.
The European Study Tour (EST) has students interacting with locals in the languages they have studied in the classroom, seeing history come alive in museums and memorials and standing in awe of places and spaces they have learned about in classes — think Eiffel Tour, Brandenburg Gate, Renaissance Art.
For many students this is the first time being away from family for 3 weeks, first time flying overseas and the first time experiencing independence and responsibility in this way. It’s trip of a lifetime!