Travel Beyond Our Borders
The Ursuline School is traveling again!
Whether it’s a day trip to Chinatown with our Mandarin language students, a Performing Pilgrimage to the Vatican with our Choir students, or an adventure to Yellowstone National Park, learning outside the classroom is an enriching experience. Ursuline students can broaden their global perspective while also gaining invaluable life experiences.
- Italian Immersion & Honors Choir Visit to Italy, February 2020
- Junior Class Cultural Trip to Greece, Spring 2019
- Costa Rica Eco Scientists, February 2019
- Paris Exchange, February 2019
- Australian Exchange, February 2019
- Spanish Immersion, February 2019
- Italian Immersion, February 2019
- European Cultural Trip, Spring 2018
- Classics Trip to Italy, February 2018
- Peru Exchange Trip, Spring 2017
Forty-two members of The Ursuline School Honors Choir left for Italy on February 14, 2020 and returned to America a week later transformed by the cultural and spiritual experience.
Dr. Laurie Adamo, Director of the Honors Choir, reflected that there were many strong memories created on the trip. She shared a few of the highlights: “The moment we sang the first few notes of "Adoramus Te” in St. Peter’s Basillica and the look on all of our faces as the resonance of their beautiful voices echoed praises to God; receiving a blessing from Pope Francis on a private rooftop garden; taking in all of the sights of the Eternal City and learning from our incredible tour guide Elisabeth; singing in the amphitheater in Pompei that had been buried by the Vesuvius’ 79AD eruption; meeting with and singing for the nuns at the Ursuline Generalate and really getting to know them over pizza and sodas; climbing the Scala Santa on our knees, bringing us closer to the suffering of our Lord; seeing the 30 brave girls taking a two mile walk with me to find the only open Gelateria on a Sunday evening and singing for the store owner as he happily waited on them; dancing, singing and sharing their favorite moments with everyone at our farewell dinner.“
In addition to the choir trip, the week of February break ten students and two teachers spent a week exploring the artistic and cultural hub that is Florence, Italy, and several ancient walled cities in the surrounding Tuscan countryside.
Faculty chaperone Ms. Bacich described this Italian Immersion as follows: “We started off our stay experiencing the melodic sounds of evening vespers sung in Gregorian Chant at the central Cathedral or “Duomo” in Florence, followed by a Mass in the massive Medieval structure. After breakfasting on cappuccinos and brioche at our pensione that overlooked a piazza in the cobblestoned streets of central Florence, the students headed out for a few hours of full-immersion Italian lessons taught by native professors at the Leonardo da Vinci School located in the historical center of Florence.
Each day was punctuated by delicious meals of local fare: panini, pizza, pasta and gnocchi. We even visited a family owned “farm to table” restaurant where we were served freshly baked bread and homemade pasta. The girls enjoyed a Tuscan cooking lesson on their last evening and were able to feast on the food they helped prepare.
The local gastronomy wasn’t our only pleasure! We also feasted our eyes on the works of Michelangelo, Botticelli, Raffaello and other Renaissance masters in the Accademia Museum and Uffizi Gallery. Each student prepared and presented her favorite work of art to the rest of the group while touring the Gallery.
My favorite excursion was a day trip to the city of San Gimignano, a Medieval jewel nestled high in the Tuscan hills, known for stone towers and exquisite walls. Later, that same day we traveled to the stunning city of Siena with its unique scalloped piazza and the Basilica of San Domenico that houses the relics of St. Catherine of Siena. Inside the church, the girls lit candles and offered prayers on their journey to this grand woman of faith and doctor of the Church. Their prayers worked! We all made it back safe and sound with a little bit of jetlag, a lot of souvenirs and plenty of memories.”
Our students’ and faculty’s safety and well-being are always of paramount importance. In 2020, the Coronavirus outbreak in China prompted a review of travel precautions for every traveler anywhere in the world. We closely monitored the occurrence of Coronavirus since the start of 2020 to assure that we did everything possible to keep our travelers and our entire school community safe. We were in touch with the Centers for Disease Control and the New York State health department regularly. We also reached out to infectious disease specialists and took all necessary actions in order to keep our school community as healthy and safe as possible.
One of the first stops by our group of juniors was at the Architectural Museum of Athens where students learned about Greek sculpture. The students also visited the Acropolis of Athens, the temple of Athena at the Acropolis and The Parthenon, a former temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron.
The group then traveled to Delphi, which ancient Greeks considered to be the center of the world. Their next exciting stop was Santorini, a beautiful island in the southern Aegean Sea. They enjoyed the Volcanic Island boat tour and visiting the excavation at the ancient city of Thira, the oldest known civilization on earth, dating back to 3000 BC.
Student ended their time in Greece with a visit to Cape Souion and the Temple of Poseidon, one of the major monuments of the Golden Age of Athens.
Over the February 2019 mid winter break, our eco scientists completed field research in the rainforest of Costa Rica and monitored sea turtles at Playa Blanca.
The students’ efforts were focused on Hawksbill and Easter Pacific Green turtles through in-water studies, data collection and work with rescue and rehabilitation. Work was also completed on the mangrove ecosystems in efforts to restore the tropical trees that thrive in conditions in which most other timber could not thrive. Mangroves are key weapons in fighting climate change because of their ability to store vast amounts of carbon.
The Paris Exchange was hosted by our sister school, Sainte Ursule,where they had a chance to work with the Special Learners in their ULIS program, leading a variety of games and activities. Our New Rochelle students visited many sites including Palais Garnier, home of the Paris Opera. They enjoyed delicious crepes and had their portraits drawn in Montmartre, the former artists' village once inhabited by Picasso and Dalí.
The Australian Exchange first explored Sydney. They climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge and discovered Bondi Beach where they enjoyed a swim and viewed the magnificent cliffs. Bondi comes from the Aboriginal word "Boondi" which means "water breaking over rocks." Then they flew to Toowoomba and were welcomed by St. Ursula College.
After a morning of Spanish classes, the Spanish Immersion students took a trip out of Seville to the ancient Roman city of Italica. They also visited the beautiful city of Segovia which features the third largest cathedral in Spain. In Madrid, they had a wonderful visit to the Prado Museum where they saw the works of Francisco Goya and Diego Velazquez. An additional stop on their itinerary was Cordoba, an important Roman city and a major Islamic center in the Middle Ages.
The Italian Immersion students in Florence learned about that city’s rich history in gold artistry, dating back to 400BC when the Etruscans reigned. The group had the chance to go to some shops and have a special lesson on leather craft, gold stamping, and gold jewelry. Excursions outside Florence included the beautiful Basilica of St Francis in Assisi where they were treated to breathtaking views from the top of the mountain. The group also went to Rome. They toured the Sistine Chapel and were amazed by seeing in person the works of Michelangelo as well as the Vatican Museum.
“The Junior European Trip to Spain was definitely the highlight of my Junior Year. In the course of 10 days, we managed to visit eight cities and two different countries. We immersed ourselves in the Spanish culture, learning new things and trying new foods every single day. My favorite parts of the trip were our time in Segovia and our time in Granada. Segovia is a centuries-old city, famous for a Roman aqueduct and beautiful Alcazar. The little city had such a charm, it was impossible to not be completely taken aback. Granada, another very old city, was rich with history and culture.“
Estefania Mendoza ‘19
“I was very fortunate to be able to attend the 2018 Junior European trip to Spain. I had no idea how beautiful the country was until I saw it first-hand. My most memorable part of the trip was going to Seville. My favorites were the Seville Cathedral, which is the oldest Gothic cathedral, and the Metropol Parasol, which is the world's largest wooden structure. The flamenco dancers and the food were also a highlight!”
Tessa DeVivo ‘19
“One of my favorite parts of the trip was when we went to Morocco, for it was unlike anything I had ever seen before. We started off the day by riding camels, which was an exciting experience. Just when we thought the day couldn’t get better, we went to a Moroccan restaurant that saw a traditional Moroccan dance that featured several instruments. This day stood out because it presented a different culture than what we were introduced to throughout Spain.”
Olivia DeLeo ‘19
The 20 high school students and faculty chaperones Pierce Wade, Brittany Johnson, and Maya Welch ’10 began their February 2018 Classics Trip in Rome by exploring the ruins of Ostia Antica with its labyrinth of funerary sites, temples, and storefronts. From there, they rode the bus to picturesque Nemi and its museum dedicated to the lost monumental yachts of Caligula.
The following day at the Domus Aurea of Nero they donned hardhats to view an archaeological site that is still under restoration and excavation.
At the Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine, the group learned about the human costs of the Imperial construction, and on the Palatine Hill they traced Roman history from its first emperor back to its earliest foundations.
Each day offered the girls a chance to experience rich historical and artistic sites such as the Capitoline Museum where the art of classical antiquity rests cheek-by-jowl with the greatest achievements of the Renaissance and the Vatican Museum, including the splendor of the Sistine Chapel and the majesty of St. Peter’s Basilica, where they found the statue dedicated to St. Angela herself.
Our travelers experienced Italy by walking through the Baths of Caracalla, the largest surviving Imperial construction of its kind, on bicycle along the Appian Way, by ferry to Capri, site of the Julio-Claudian Emperors’ personal villas, and on a chairlift to the summit of Monte Solara. The girls enjoyed gelato and cappuccino at Piazza Navona and had fun learning how to make gnocchi from a local chef.
The Peru Exchange group was led by Mrs. Davidson and Ms. Welch. Our students were hosted by Ursuline students from Colegio Santa Ursula in Lima. A group of students from this "sister" school will visit us in New Rochelle in January 2018.
The group devoted two days to service in the remote countryside of Jicamarca where they helped with the construction of a building. Then the group visited Qorikancha, the most important site in the Inca Empire and also home to the Temple of the Sun. Another cultural highlight was the Natural History Museum (Museo de Historia Natural) in Lima, Peru's most important museum of natural history.
On Easter Sunday, our group attended Mass celebrated by Cardinal Cipriani at the Cathedral Basilica in Lima.