Traveling to another country is a dream for some students and some SCHS kids get to do just that. One group of students are going to Japan lead by Abigail Birhanu and accompanied by Tanya Glennon while another group is going with Laura Reese to Italy and Greece. Birhanu and Glennon have taken other groups to other countries like China. The three teachers wanted every student that will be going to experience something that will change their lives.
“I love Italy and I have had wonderful opportunities to travel to different countries,” Reese said. “I want to give students that opportunity to see two other cultures, eat new foods, meet new people, hear Italian and Greek and come back to the USA with a more open mind about the world and its diversities.”
Senora Reese loves Italy, just like Birhanu loved China and everywhere else that she has traveled.
“I traveled to Europe, but I never got the opportunity to go to Asia, so unless you work a corporate job or you have connections with Asia in some capacity, you are most likely not able to,” Birhanu said.
One of the Japan travelers, junior Luke Hoffmann, has been learning a lot from the Japan meetings Birhanu hosts once a month.
“I wanted to go to Japan mainly because it’s a once in a lifetime experience that most people won’t get,” Hoffmann said. “I will definitely bring an extra bag for souvenirs.”
Hoffmann is excited for his trip, but the coronavirus might delay his and others travels. The coronavirus has been on all the travelers’ minds.
“Right now we are going to be waiting until the end of April and beginning of May to see what happens with the virus to proceed forward because a lot can change in two months. At the moment the travel advisory for Japan is 2 which means exercise caution,” Birhanu said.
There have been over 100,000 cases of the virus worldwide with the majority of the people dying from the virus are elderly people or people with pre-existing conditions like cancer or diabetes.
The fatalities to the students age and the teachers age is not an issue like the death rate is almost nonexistent according to Birhanu.
EF tours is the program that both trips will be traveling with, which means the whole itinerary is made by them. If EF thinks that traveling would be dangerous, they will tell Birhanu and Senora Reese.
“If the virus continues to spread and worsen in the areas where we would be traveling, then the EF program might reroute us to other countries not being affected or they might delay our travel to later or another time,” Reese said.
“It also depends on if most of the places we are going to tour are going to be closed or have any restrictions, there are so many things to think about,” Birhanu said. “The worst case scenario is we will postpone it until June of 2021. We are not gonna replace the trip because you can’t replace Japan.”