Student vacations: abodes and abroad

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As we say goodbye to Summer 2018 and Heritage students head back to reality, either physically on a plane from far away countries or mentally from their relaxed summer states, it is nice to reflect on how various students chose to spend their vacations.

However, I wanted to learn what Heritage students think is the best way to spend that summer vacation: a cozy vacation at home (staycation) in their bed or an adventurous vacation abroad.

When I interviewed students who spent their summers abroad, I came to notice that many of them spent their summers abroad to take part in numerous summer programs located all around the world.

Junior Félix Romier explained that he traveled to Barcelona, Spain in order to take part in the Education First (EF) program. Romier took part in this program to learn more Spanish.

Romier talks about how the EF program also provides educational tours and exchanges in foreign countries. The EF program also teaches program in many other languages such as English, French, and (of course) Spanish.

Romier continued to explain how dynamic he believes Barcelona to be.

“There are many parks such as Parc de la Ciutadella and Montjuic. I’ve also been to many viewpoints such as the Bunkers del Carmel (bunkers from the Spanish Civil War) which tourists often don’t think about.”Romier said.

Moving up north is where senior Kenzo Kimura spent his summer in Berlin, Germany. Kimura received a merit scholarship to study and work abroad in Berlin as a part of the Global Entrepreneurship part of the CIEE program, a program which provides students with the opportunity to spend summers or semesters abroad.

“While studying independently in Berlin I’ve realized two things: personal growth as well as the friends I’ve made during my program,” Kimura said.

Kimura stated even though a summer at home may be relaxing, spending his summer independently studying in Berlin gave him “the sense of independence and maturity most of us need during high school. For over three weeks , I’ve had to fend for myself while living at the institute- this includes cleaning, cooking, and keeping a check on my project due dates whenever I left my internship for class.”

Kimura noted that all of his new friends made during the program came from all different parts of the United States.“My work experiences and personal moments with them [his new friends] are unparalleled compared to the people I’ve encountered here in Florida,” Kimura said.

Another student who relaxed, worked and explored abroad this summer was junior Jana Kelly.

Kelly spent her summer at her grandmother’s house in Thailand. “I’m extremely busy during the school year with hard classes and sports and clubs so this is such a nice time to be able to sit down and breathe.” Kelly said.

“All I really do is is stay at my grandma’s house, so it’s nothing more than a change of homes really.”Kelly said. Kelly was surrounded by fresh food and her family who she only gets to see once a year since they live in Thailand.

“Thailand isn’t as rich and developed as America, which conveniently leaves less room for GMOs and artificiality. Everything here is fresh. My grandma goes to a little market every morning and buys fresh meat and vegetables for cooking throughout the day,” Kelly said. “Thai cuisine normally relies on a balance of three key flavors: spicy, salty, and sweet. A lot of the food here involves seafood, pork and lots of rice, noodles and curry.”

Not only did Kelly spend the summer visiting her family and enjoying Thailand, but she also volunteered, teaching kids english at the local public elementary school near her grandmother’s house, where her mother, uncle, and cousins went to school while growing up.

The teachers teaching English were from all over the world, including Australia, the Philippines, Iceland and the U.S. .

Kelly helped teachers with students from first through sixth grade.

“I’m fluent in Thai, which I think is a huge strength because if the kids are having trouble it’s a lot easier to translate than to keep repeating in a foreign language.” Kelly said.

Although she did stay in a different country and volunteer to teach English, Kelly says she continued her normal life in Thailand as she would at home. “I don’t do much over here because it’s really my second home.” Kelly said.

Sometimes vacationing abroad can be just as relaxing as sleeping in your bed, however, sophomore Kayla Meyers, who traveled to London, Bruges and Paris over the summer, prefers traveling more than staying home during the summer.

While vacationing abroad can be very exciting and captivating, enjoying a staycation at home can be just as fun.

Staycationing has many positives one being that one can spend the summer with best friends or family members who they can barely see during the school year. It allows one to catch up with their friends and rarely seen family members and create new exciting memories with them.

“I love staying home over the summer because it allows me to make plans and see my friends in ways I can’t do during the hectic school year,” said junior Paula Mitre, who enjoyed a staycation.

While on staycation you can also look upon yourself and find things that you enjoy, explained junior Valyncia Miller. “Spending time alone in nature is my new thing; I’ve been taking photos and writing poetry also,” Miller said.

Sophomore Gianna Clemente expanded upon the topic of looking upon and finding yourself.This summer I thought a lot about the person that I am and the one I want to be. Personally, I feel certain expectations are placed on me whether it be academic or extracurricular.” Clemente said. “Given the time to reflect, it all comes down to staying true to yourself and doing what makes you happy.”

Along with the fact that one can hang out with their friends during a staycation and explore new hobbies and activities that they may enjoy, there is one overarching advantage that most students agree to be the largest advantage to spending their summers at home: summer work.

“If you’re focused, you can get a lot of things done. Personally, I’ve been very productive in working on math and studying so I can take honors classes next year.” Miller said.

Junior Valyncia Miller spent her vacation in Florida, but made the most of her time in various ways, one of which was having fun photo shoots with friends. (Photo/Jasmien Allen)

Mitre had a similar outlook on summer assignments and staycations. “Staying home gives me the time and energy to do my summer work because I’d probably too worn out if I were actually travelling,” Mitre said.

Freshman Megan Yang got her summer assignments out of the way fairly quickly. Due to the focus Yang had, she was able to learn more pieces on the piano and prep for math competitions, which she doesn’t have much time for during the school year.

“This year I chose to do the Science Summer Research Program which let me get a huge head start on science fair.” Yang said.

 “As most people know, science fair is really stressful, so being able to do a big chunk of it will really lift a weight off my shoulders once school starts,” Yang said.

With all of these elements,  many students agreed that staycations may get somewhat boring after watching your fiftieth Netflix episode and taking endless naps.

However, when one has a staycation, they can often get more in touch with themselves and relax as compared to being whisked away into a hectic summer vacation.

“Vacationing requires a lot of energy, planning and organization…For me it tends to be physically draining and I knock out at the end of each day,” Yang said.

Some students enjoy travelling abroad, while others like to relax at home taking a moment away from the hectic school year. It seems that as long as a student spends summer with people they love and involve themselves with activities they enjoy, their summer will turnout just as great as they hope it will be.

Madison is a junior at American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla. This is her first year on the newspaper staff and is so excited for the many amazing things coming this school year for the Patriot Post. Madison is also a part of TASSEL and the Best Buddies club. She has a passion for photography and loves all types of music.

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