Xavier Gators Study Abroad

Mrs. Hubbard and a group of Xavier students visit Inishbofin in Ireland while on the Creative Writing trip this past summer. Photo courtesy of Emmie Halter ‘21.

Mrs. Hubbard and a group of Xavier students visit Inishbofin in Ireland while on the Creative Writing trip this past summer. Photo courtesy of Emmie Halter ‘21.

Caroline Hink, Managing Editor

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 Have you ever wanted to travel abroad with your best friends? Have you considered studying abroad in college? Due to the opportunities at Xavier, dozens of students travel abroad each year to Ireland, Germany, England and more. Many of these programs abroad take place during the summer. Two of Xavier’s international trips feature academic aspects that are similar to college study abroad programs. The Ireland Creative Writing trip focuses on improving writing skills while exploring the beautiful country of Ireland. Is writing not your thing? The Language and Art Immersion in France focuses on art and the French language at an international school in the French countryside. Many students attend these trips every year, but most Xavier girls do not know much about the trips.

The Ireland Creative Writing trip includes traveling to and exploring the city of Dublin as well as other regions of the country, including the island of Inishbofin off the coast of Connemara. The trip lasts for thirteen days and runs from late June to early July. The trip is led by Mrs. Hubbard, a Xavier English teacher, who chaperone the trip every year. When traveling with Xavier to Ireland, the group is also assigned a Putney leader, who serves as a writing mentor for the duration of the trip. All Putney leaders are published authors and writers that have a wealth of experience that is extended to Xavier students during the trip.

Throughout the trip, students write in various environments, including cafes, parks, and monasteries. Students can practice different styles of writing and also participate in workshops. In addition, students even have a chance to read their original piece in front of others on the final night of the program. 

This past summer, Emmie Halter ‘21 traveled to Ireland, remarking that “On the trip, I received some of the best writing advice from our leaders at Putney and experienced a once in a lifetime journey in Ireland.” 

Ireland is not only a great place to become a better, more confident writer; it is also a wonderful trip to become closer to your fellow Xavier gators. Emmie concluded that “you will become so close with many Xavier girls you would have never met if it wasn’t through Ireland. I made friendships with girls from all different grades that shared my same passion writing.” 

Emmie also enjoyed sightseeing in Ireland and mentioned that her favorite part of the trip was the “trip to Kylemore Abbey [which] looked like a castle from the movies” and had beautiful scenery such as a “lake, green rolling hills, and beautiful gardens.”

The Ireland Creative Writing Trip is open to students in any grade and everyone is encouraged to apply. If writing isn’t your strong suit or you don’t see yourself as a writer, do not worry. Emmie adds that “anyone would enjoy this trip, even if you don’t see yourself as a writer, you will change throughout the two weeks you are in Ireland.” 

Xavier’s second summer study trip is the Language and Art Immersion in France. The program takes place at Ecole Internationale de St. Denis, an international boarding school located near the city of Tours, in the Touraine region of the Loire Valley. During this two week trip, Xavier students will learn about cultural language and art in the beautiful country of France. During the stay at Ecole International de St. Denis, afternoon excursions are planned to travel to nearby chateaux and regional attractions. Mrs. Hyland, a Xavier French teacher, noted that there is a wide range of activities including “morning classes and afternoon trips” such as “canoeing or visiting a castle”. 

On the weekend, the group travels to Paris and spend a few days exploring the city and seeing famous attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. Mrs. Hyland added during the group’s time in Paris, they go on “bike tour and make macaroons.” She adds that “the bike tour is a favorite of students” as well as the “Eiffel Tour because it is iconic and exciting.” 

During the student’s time at the international school, they choose whether to focus on art or the French language. If students want to learn about the French language, they get a chance to start at the beginner level. However, if students take French at Xavier, they can also take more advanced French classes. For students interested in art, some activities include going to paint and sketch by river, gardens, and on the countryside. Senior Alyssa Gonzales ‘20 says her favorite part of the trip was “painting in a beautiful community garden. It was so serene and the weather was so nice.”

Alyssa also added that the trip is “a really great opportunity to step out of your comfort zone. I met so many new people from so many different places and I still talk to some of them today. In addition to meeting new people, I also deepened my friendships with girls from Xavier.”

Mrs. Hyland adds that the Language and Art Immersion trip is a great experience for students “[to] make friends with people from all over the world and to see France with their peer group without their parents, which is a different, more independent, and interesting way to see Europe. It gives them the opportunity to think about studying abroad and what that might be like in the future.”

If you are interested in any of these study abroad trips, consider talking to former students or Xavier chaperones for more information. Also, make sure you listen to the morning announcements throughout the year and pay attention to information meetings for the Creative Writing and French Language/Art trips.

 

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