By Student Ambassador, Solomon I. Odom.
The first time out of the country was an exciting and new experience for student ambassador Solomon I. Odom and his classmates. His adventures in Switzerland and the Mediterranean were “life altering,” an experience he’ll cherish forever.
In March, I departed to Switzerland and The Mediterranean with my high school classmates. From the moment we got on the bus for our departure, to the time we touched down in Frankfurt and Zurich, it was thrilling coming to the realization that we were taking our biggest stride away from home. Some of us were too stunned to speak while others were so giddy they couldn’t rest over the eight hour flight—I was one of those individuals. The opportunity to do this trip was truly life altering and I am thankful to have had the chance to go.
The first few days we were in Zurich, Switzerland. From the moment we touched down we were met with our lovely and compassionate tour guide, Alba. Alba took us immediately from the Airport to Lucerne, the financial district. We saw a breathtaking view of the Swiss Alps and their stunning churches. After Alba showed us around, we all got to explore in groups what Lucerne had to offer which was delectable food and beautiful street art. On Day 2 we explored further into Lucerne and learned the history of the land such as how Switzerland has one of the biggest militaries because every citizen of Switzerland is considered a soldier. The rich history and extravagant sights made this place one of our best destinations and was the best introduction that we could have seen.
The following days we explored Lake Como, Italy. The beautiful sights and heights of the city were almost comparable to the cuisine. Lake Como offered all of us a new take on foods most ranging into Seafood dishes such as Rivoli’s Seafood Pizza which was a new— in my opinion— version of pizza I would never think of. On the second day, we ventured farther into Italy visiting the five villages by train and met with our tour guide who explained the history of the land. We learned why a pier near the train is considered a pier of ‘love’ due to traditions in the village up until a landslide occurred. Alba also introduced us to the bluest sea water we have ever seen! This moment was the pinnacle of Italy and made this part of the trip worth it.
Next, we stayed in France bouncing between locations of Monaco, Providence and Nîmes which had a bright history of architecture. We saw Pont du Gard, a Roman bridge that has stood across time and was made to help with water flow. Then we got to see the Amphitheatre of Nîmes that has survived for hundreds of years and is just now getting small repairs. France’s economy and history gets more and more interesting the deeper you look into how things are now and that is fascinating how closely they celebrate their past, truly something worth the trip.
We spent our final days in Barcelona, Spain. We ventured across the city and witnessed St. John’s Church firsthand. Barcelona’s city is rooted deep in religion and Catholicism, and it shows with their food and artwork. Barcelona taught me the most about myself such as my appreciation for the arts. I loved seeing Salvador Dali’s works, especially Happy Horse. This experience is something other students should have the experience of getting to do whether it be this trip, or somewhere else in the world.
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