Anyone have experience w/ international trips offered by the school?


Our Middle School is 6-8th grades. Foreign language is a requirement, and 3 languages are offered (Spanish, German, French). Mariah takes Spanish. In 8th grade, each foreign language teacher offers a trip that is scheduled over spring break. Last year's trip also included 1 or 2 additional school days because they got a better price leaving on an earlier day.

The trip would be next spring (a year from now). Parent chaperones are invited and my husband is available to accompany Mariah.

I recently received this e-mail from dd's spanish teacher:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ [i]Dear Mrs. W,

I know that you requested the dates for next year's Costa Rica trip, so I wanted to contact you regarding the tour. Having completed the tour recently, I wanted to share some information with you.

You should know that we will be traveling to very remote regions. On this year's trip, we traveled on narrow, one or two lane roads in the mountains in sparsely populated areas. At one point, our bus broke down and we waited about two hours for a replacement.

As regards to food, we stopped at roadside markets and consumed food that was not prepackaged with ingredient labels. We were not the only occupants on the bus. People purchased a variety of foods, including nuts. Meals at hotels were buffet style. We ate as a group- no one ordered individually. Some of the foods and drinks were completely new to me. When I asked what certain foods/drinks were, the answers were Spanish words foreign to me. I had NO control over or particular knowledge about certain foods and drinks.

Finally, the tour included a great deal of walking. In one instance, we walked down more than 500 steps to a waterfall. The walk down was challenging, not to mention to walk back UP. We hiked almost every day and we kayaked one afternoon for a couple of hours. If Mariah were to have an asthma attack we are no where near medical facilities.

In conclusion, the area is very remote, the food is an

On Apr 18, 2007


Originally posted by Gail W: [b] Mariah is somewhat interested in the trip. What would you do?[/b]

Keeping it plain and simple -- absolutely would NOT let my child go. Far too risky as to foods, in combo with remoteness & low-level med care available. I would prefer my child "miss out" on this trip as a youngster with the hopes that he/she survive to adulthood so he/she could take many trips all over the world.


On Apr 18, 2007

Would you ask the school to change the tour so it was not "remote"?

On Apr 18, 2007


[This message has been edited by NicoleinNH (edited June 09, 2007).]

On Apr 18, 2007


[This message has been edited by NicoleinNH (edited June 09, 2007).]

On Apr 18, 2007

I would not do it. It sounds way too risky. Even with your dh there, it sounds like there would be situations where she would be forced to eat foods without ingredient labels. Also, labeling laws vary from country to country. In some countries they do not have to list an ingredient if it is less than a certain percentage of the item. Add to that the questionable medical care, and I just don`t see how it is possible to make it safe for her.

On Apr 18, 2007

I understand, but haven't abandoned the idea completely.

Here is how I responded:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ [i]Hi ,

Wow. That sounds like a magnificent trip.

We have already approached our allergist about the tour. His adult daughter is highly allergic to nuts, lives in Mexico and is fluent in Spanish. We have spoken to Dr. about the possibility of her translating medical and dietary information to Spansih, with his supervision and assistance. I had thought that with Dr. and his daughter's help, along with Mariah having her dad (a physician) attending with her, would make this excursion possible.

I appreciate you thinking about us, and giving the examples so that I can understand the nature of the trip. I'll talk this over with , but I'm inclined to think this trip is not possible.

I'll get back to you again soon.

Thank you very much, Gail W[/i] ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I also sent an e-mail to the principal asking if the other 2 languages also offered trips, and if they were less remote.

On Apr 18, 2007


[This message has been edited by NicoleinNH (edited June 09, 2007).]

On Apr 18, 2007

Gail I tried to write something reassuring and I tried to link it to my son's semester in Scotland but I can't do it comfortably.

Plus it sounds like the school is already leery and that might make it even harder for Mariah to stay safe.

College Junior year most students travel abroad for a semester. My son did fine, by then Mariah will also do fine.

When my son's middle school proposed a trip to Europe I was the only one of TWO Parents who said "No way." I was not popular but there was no way my son was going at that age.

Good luck. I'm sure Mariah will understand. Show her my son's pictures from Scotland, she'll get her chance. I can send you a whole bunch of them.


On Apr 18, 2007

The wording from the spanish teacher comes across as "we'd prefer Mariah not attend"....and I say that because it seems she made a point in every scenerio that it is unsafe(either location, food, language barrier, even the stairs). She was being honest, which is great, but I just got the feeling she pointed out every negativity she could. JMO

If my son were her age and asked, I'd say "heck no" so fast. The only way I would even consider it, is if I was a chaperone. But then the remote loactions, would have a greater impact on my decision of *either of us going*. What ever happened to the trips to Washington DC?? Wow, Costa Rica!!!???

If it were me, I'd say no.

------------------ Chanda(mother of 4) Sidney-8 (beef and chocolate, grasses, molds, weeds, guinea pig & asthma) Jake-6 (peanut, all tree nuts, eggs, trees, grasses, weeds, molds, cats, dogs, guinea pig & eczema & asthma) Carson-3 1/2 (milk, soy, egg, beef and pork, cats, dog, guinea pig and EE) Savannah-1 (milk and egg)

[This message has been edited by chanda4 (edited April 18, 2007).]

On Apr 18, 2007

It's just so hard for these kids every step of the way.

My son was nominated to travel with the People to People Student Ambassador Program this summer. He turns 14 and will be entering the 8th grade. The group was traveling to England, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands for 20 days.

I didn't even call to check into it--I just don't think he's old enough to handle this kind of trip yet. Maybe in a few years-but it was really sad to let this opportunity slip by. It meant alot to him that someone thought of him and nominated him for the program.

Just when you think you have a handle on this allergy and the emotional toll it takes on your child--another obstacle comes up. Since the trip is done by the school shouldn't they try to find a trip that would be in your "safety zone". What would they do if there was a physically handicapped child--just not include them also?? The school needs to a least try to find a solution for your child.

On Apr 18, 2007

I'll start by saying I think you're handling this well already. I agree with the poster who said it sounds like the teacher is being honest and has concerns. Since it sounds like you have a good relationship with her, I'd inquire what the health and safety arrangements are for any child on the trip. Surely, if a child trips on the 500 steps and breaks an ankle, there is some contengency plan. It may be helpful to help her see if its possilbe to meet your daughter's needs within the framework she has in place already. If this is something you're daughter really wants to do, I would try to make it work. If in the end, you are not comfortable with it, then perhaps an alternative trip can be arranged (not necessarily through the school).


On Apr 18, 2007

We'd pretty much decided that she can't go before I posted. The e-mail response I sent was open because I haven't completely ruled it out. <> Hard for me to shut the door completely. Our allergist has offered to help us and my DH is a physician who would be attending with Mariah. It's the remoteness (lack of access to medical) that's the biggest obstacle for me.

But I'm still open to her going on one of the other two trips (France or Germany) depending on their itinerary.

Thanks for your responses everyone. Peg, we've got Edinburgh on our summer plans for next year, so I may take you up on your offer!

ETA: I received an e-mail this afternoon from the principal,[i] "This was the first year for the Costa Rica trip. Since I arrived at LMS six years ago, there have been no other trips sponsored by modern language teachers at the middle school. I believe there are trips at the high school that are sponsored by modern and classical language teachers."[/i]

So no other options. <> Oh well.

[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited April 18, 2007).]

On Nov 13, 2008

I know this is an old topic, but I would like to tell you that I went on a school trip to germany when I was 15. We went all over the country, often eating out, but also often at home-- We flew Lufthansa and there was no problem with my allergy, although it has been years so double check now.

In the first few days I was there, I sort of "figured it out" -- as I taught my host family how to feed me safely, and did a lot of shopping myself with German friends. We took busses, trains, and cars all over the country in a large group. I stayed in youth hostels as well, and did some remote kayaking and hiking, including eating in the middle of nowhere.

I think that anywhere there are decent medical and communication systems, it is safe for your children to go. They will figure out how to be safe-- it is, after all, his/her life ...

Happy travels!