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-   -   Class Trip to Europe - where's the best place? (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/class-trip-to-europe-wheres-the-best-place-181401/)

lisa Aug 27th, 2001 07:51 AM

Class Trip to Europe - where's the best place?
 
My daughter (11) came home from school saying she wanted to join the travel club, and that there was a planned trip to London and Paris. (Personally, I think this is much too young to go to Europe with a school group, and will break the news to her soon.) But I starting thinking... If I were to plan a European trip for kids (ages 11 - 13), I'm not sure I'd pick London or Paris. I think that kids that age might find a trip visiting Ireland or Scotland more memorable, mainly for the castles, the people, etc. Where would YOU suggest as the best place in Europe for a trip for kids ages 11 -13? (My European experience is limited to Spain, when I was in High School).

grasshopper Aug 27th, 2001 07:56 AM

I disagree that 11 is too early for the trip. If your daughter is interested and willing and it's affordable, I'd go for it. In my own experience, my exchange student daughters came home much more global thinkers.

lisa Aug 27th, 2001 08:03 AM

Perhaps she is old enough. I do need more details from the school to make a final decision. She is interested, since she is taking French. However, she did say "Mom, we aren't going to Europe. We're going to London and Paris!" <BR> <BR>I think I'd rather use the money and go to Europe as a family one of these days.

grasshopper Aug 27th, 2001 08:15 AM

Lisa, <BR> <BR>That's an absolutely valid response. Just taking your kids to both London and Paris would be great as an experience for the family and an experience for the kids. Don't feel bad about the "we're not going to Europe comment". I travel annually with a friend in her 40s who told someone "I have been to London but I've never been to England". And this, after we drove from London to Edinburgh!

elvira Aug 27th, 2001 08:19 AM

I never underestimate kids; maybe some kids would prefer castles, but there are other kids who would be fascinated by a tour of Parliament or the Egyptian collection in the Louvre. <BR> <BR>And what better way to convince an 11 year old that London and Paris are in Europe than to visit there? <BR> <BR>She's certainly not too young (personally, I'd rather take a dozen 11 year olds to Europe than a dozen teenagers - you know, the hormones with feet?), but I certainly can understand your budget concerns and the desire to experience Europe as a family. <BR> <BR>If you choose to tell her no, that she can't join her schoolmates, give her a decent time frame for the family trip. "Someday we'll all go together" isn't much to hang onto when all your friends are making immediate plans.

lisa Aug 27th, 2001 08:28 AM

Perhaps you are correct - I DO remember my class trip to Spain when I was 17. What we enjoyed most was being served alcohol in the bars... Maybe 11 is a "safer" age. <BR> <BR>

StCirq Aug 27th, 2001 08:43 AM

It's up to you to decide whether 11 is too young or not. I have an 11-year-old, though, and he's just about my favorite traveling companion - still has that fascination with learning, still takes direction from adults, isn't old enough to be self-absorbed, etc. But as for where the best place to go in Europe on a class trip is, I'd have to say that a school trip should be tied to something the kids are learning about it school. I used to take school groups to France - the year that they went on the trip they studied French history and read French literature, and they had been studying the language for at least two years. The trip had great relevance for them because they were knowledgable in advance. At all the major sites we visited, one of the children gave a report and/or acted as a guide (we also had a professional guide). I don't know that one European country is "better" for kids, but I do think wherever they go, they need to take the trip within some educational context.

Rex Aug 27th, 2001 06:33 PM

All three of our daughters made their first trip to Europe at age 11 (1992, 1994, 1995); the travel lasted three weeks - - with AFAC - - www.afac.org - - but the "trip" lasted pretty much all year. Then, in 1998, I did a "payback" trip with AFAC, serving as the volunteer interpreter and "accompagnateur" with fourteen fifth-graders (nonoe of which was our own kid). <BR> <BR>I don't know that the specific destination is as important at this age as the structure, preparation and experience putting their trip together. I am certainly NOT prosposing that I have the expertise to do such a trip "from scratch". <BR> <BR>AFAC is an exchange program that matches up town to town, family to family, kid to kid - - and they are penpals for 4 months before the French kids come here to stay for three weeks (typically in March), followed by the American kids returning (in May) to stay, respectively with each of those kids and their families. <BR> <BR>They stay in one place the whole time (each kid lives in a family - - and they are all in school together). All of our kids made it to Paris (one was based IN Paris), but they got just as much as many of the other "lesser known" places they went. <BR> <BR>when we first joined in on this, I was virtually evangelistic about AFAC - - thinking it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. time has mellowed me some. I think it was very good, not "extraordinaire" - - not life-changing, no more, no less than any other aspect of how we have reared them. <BR> <BR>What you're describing sounds more like being "tourists" for the entire duration of the trip - - not that there's anything wrong with that. But an eleven year old needs "normal life" if this trip is going to last more than 7-10 days - - and some of the kids will have SOME adjustment difficulties. A very, VERY good relationship with (one or more of the) adults will be crucial - - for you or any other parents who decide to have their kids participate. <BR> <BR>I think London and Paris would be okay. Our kids have been back (once, twice, and none) - - and we will go back again in summer 2002 - and they are very good travelers now - - phased by little - - and they absolutely love it. Is it necessary to "start" at age 11? no. Will it work out okay? Probably. <BR> <BR>But grill the planners and leaders carefully. <BR> <BR>Feel free to write me. <BR> <BR>Best wishes, <BR> <BR>Rex Bickers <BR>Westerville, Ohio <BR>

Jim Rosenberg Aug 27th, 2001 07:40 PM

Our daughter of 11 was involved with the same program that Rex is talking about. It was a fabulous learning experience and is actually what got the rest of us started traveling to Europe. It was nice to have people over there to meet and the family has visited with us here, too. The funny thing was, nobody else in the group seized the opportunity and so they lost out on the chance to develop the relationships that we did. If you don't want your daughter to go with the class, my advice would be to follow Elvira's advice and begin planning your own trip quickly. Happy Trails! :o)

lisa Aug 28th, 2001 10:26 AM

Thanks for your suggestions! I will check out afac.org shortly. It sounds like a great program. I just wonder if I can stand having my daughter gone for so long!

Rex Aug 28th, 2001 02:36 PM

Don't want to burst your bubble, lisa - - but it is EXTREMELY unlikely that you can get your town signed up for AFAC in time for any trip in the next 12 months. It takes a concerted springtime (or early summer) effort to get AFAC to select your town to participate. Your best bet is to lobby one more elementary school principals in your school district. Your daughter's participation might not fly - - depending on whether you have middle schools (grades 6-8) or junior high school - - and at a minimum she might have to pay a supplement to participate since presumably she will be 13 by spring 2003. <BR> <BR>They DO have programs for high school students, though I don't really know anything about them - - and I bet that they are structured differently. <BR>

ttt Aug 3rd, 2002 07:08 PM

from about a year ago<BR>

StCirq Aug 3rd, 2002 07:24 PM

Gosh, I'd never say it's too early for any American kid to experience Europe - anywhere, anytime. And I certainly wouldn't think that Ireland or Scotland would be the best picks for a first trip - remember they are probably tying it into a history curriculum. What's wrong with London and Paris, two of the most fabulous cities in the world? Not as though there's any shortage of world history associated with both of those, eh? What is your point?

xxx Aug 3rd, 2002 07:40 PM

You already answered this a year ago StCirq. It's an old thread.


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