This group of foreign language students from Westover High School arrived in France early Friday morning on the first leg of a 10-day trip that will carry them to Paris, Madrid and Barcelona. The group is, kneeling from left, Robert Hudson and Adam Landin. Back row, Makyah Clayton, Erykah Baker, Julliette Hu, teacher Sally Dugger, Jasmin Young and Nelliena Young. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)
ALBANY — On Thursday, 10 recently graduated and current foreign language students from Westover High School and three chaperones flew out of the country for a little “cultural immersion” in Paris and Versailles, France, and Madrid and Barcelona, Spain.
“We had some students who wanted to go to Spain. None have ever been out of the country before so we thought we would help make it a reality,” Westover teacher Sally Dugger, who organized the trip, said. “We held two fund-raisers and some are making payments, but we regard this as a possible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the kids.”
The students said they were looking forward to the 10-day trip.
“I have never been overseas before, Erykah Baker said. “I want to see Paris, the Eiffel Tower and The Louvre.”
Maktah Clayton was looking forward to sampling the French and Spanish cuisines.
“I want to taste the food,” Clayton said. “I want to try something I have never eaten before … except the snails.”
Adam Landin said he wanted to observe the people.
“I want to people watch in the Plaza Mayor in Madrid,” he said. “I want to eavesdrop on people’s conversations and pick out words and phrases and hope to understand what they are saying.”
Julliette Hu likened the trip to visiting a huge theme park.
“Going to Europe is like visiting Disney World,” Hu said. “I’ve see pictures but I am looking forward to personally experiencing it. I am looking forward to the food, the artwork and visiting with as many people as I can.”
Adam Landin just wants to experience all he can.
“I want to eat the food, soak in the cluture, learn about the Louvre, see the Arc de Triomphe and the beach at Barcelona,” Landin said. “And I am also looking forward to the midnight train rides.”
Sisters Jasmine and Nelliena Young seemed to have different priorities for the trip.
“I’m a Real Madrid (soccer) fan and it will be interesting to be in Spain when they play in the World Cup next week,” Jasmine said. “I’m really excited about the trip. I want to take lots of pictures and compare cultures.”
Nelliena, has a more artistic bent.
“I’m looking forward to visiting the Louvre and I especially want to see the Mona Lisa in person,” she said.
As for Dugger, she wants to see the expression in the kids faces.
“These are all good kids,” she said. “We’ll be excited to see them experience something new for the first time.”