Travel Beyond Our Borders
Ursuline students have many opportunities to travel internationally. The girls broaden their global perspective and also gain invaluable life-defining experiences.
Travel abroad includes language immersion trips, exchanges with other Ursuline schools, and service trips. Juniors can take the annual European cultural trip, Science students can conduct research in Costa Rica, and Classics students have the chance to explore Greece. In addition, in certain years the Honors Choir performs internationally.
- In the 2019 - 20 academic year, we again embark on language immersion trips to Italy and Spain.
- In the next chapter of our exchanges, we welcome students from our sister school in Japan, and then we visit Japan.
- The European Cultural Trip will explore Prague, Venice, and Milan.
- The Honors Choir will travel to Italy and perform in Rome, Naples, and Pompeii.
- A group of classics students will take a historical and cultural journey to Athens and Thessaloniki, Greece.
- For the second year, our student eco-scientists will conduct field research in Costa Rica!
- And we end the academic year with a cultural trip to Ireland in partnership with the University of Limerick.
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.
Ms. Killebrew and Ms. Summa accompanied the Australian Exchange group in April 2017. They first enjoyed the sites in Sydney, such as the Opera House, climbing the Sydney Bridge and the famous Bonzi Beach. Then they spent time with students at our Ursuline sister school. The girls attended classes together and stayed with their host families.
The girls were happy to reconnect. Only four months earlier, in December 2016, the Australian group had visited us in New Rochelle.
The traditional European trip for Juniors explored Italy and was again led by Ms. Quartaro ’80, the chair of our Art Department, with five faculty chaperones. In Brescia and Desenzano, our students learned more about St. Angela Merici, foundress of the Order of St. Ursula. They visited her childhood home known as the farmhouse, and the Church of St. Angela.
In Venice, the group enjoyed a gondola ride. Florence featured a stop at the Duomo, the square and the Ponte Vecchio. Assisi included a visit to St Francis Basilica.
The students also went to Nice, the unofficial capital of the French Riviera, and Monaco.
In February 2017, the Honors Choir embarked on an educational and spiritual pilgrimage to Austria and Prague. The 32 students, under the direction of Dr. Jean Boehler, performed choral repertoire in the universal language of music. Their journey was filled with gorgeous views of the countryside, castles, and churches. A number of parents were able to join the students on this exceptional trip.
The first few days were spent in Salzburg where the Choir sang at Mass at the Salzburg Cathedral, an amazing Baroque edifice, and the church in which Mozart was baptized.
On the way to Vienna they sang at the Melk Abbey, a Benedictine abbey on a rocky outcrop overlooking the majestic Danube river. Vienna provided the opportunity to visit Schulen St. Ursula, our sister school, who were generous hosts and joined our Choir for a wonderful joint performance.
One breathtaking excursion was to the Schonbrunn Palace, the former summer castle of the Hapsburgs. Another stop was Belvedere Palace; “belvedere” means "beautiful view" and, with Vienna in the background, many photos were taken.
Our girls also performed a concert to raise money for the Capuchin Church in Vienna.
The final stop was Prague, called the “City of 100 Spires” and the capital of the Czech Republic. The walking tour included the Old Town and the famous astronomical clock, Prague Orloj, which entertains when the hour strikes and figures of the 12 Apostles appear. The group also toured the impressive Castle District.
A fun cultural highlight was a delicious dinner with folk music at which the girls learned how to dance the Mazurka. The Choir’s final performance took place at the St. Nicholas Concert.
Over the February 2017 Winter Break, Ms. Brittis and Mrs. LaBella accompanied 11 students on an incredible Italian Immersion. In Florence, the girls attended morning classes conducted almost entirely in Italian at Scuola Leonardo da Vinci. Afternoons were devoted to practicing Italian while exploring this birthplace of the Renaissance.
In the heart of Florence is the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, usually referred to as Il Duomo, a cathedral built in the Gothic style which is the most recognizable building in Florence. This picturesque city is also known for its leather and gold. Our group visited a leather shop one afternoon to discover how to recognize real leather from imitation leather. Additional cultural activities included making frescoes and enjoying the Uffizi Gallery.
Memorable side trips were to Pisa for a view of the famous leaning tower and an exhilarating bike ride on top of the walls surrounding the city of Lucca.
Another highlight was a tour of the Basilicas of Saint Francis and Saint Clare in Assisi.
The girls and chaperones also stopped at a gelato factory, assisted in the making of four different flavors and tasted them all!
The last destination was the country’s capital, the eternal city of Rome. The group visited the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Colosseum, plus the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and the Spanish Steps before going to make their own brick oven pizza.
So many wonderful ways to improve language skills and absorb Italian culture!
During our Easter vacation, in March 2016, fourteen freshmen and sophomores along with two faculty members traveled to South Africa. Their hosts were our sister school, Brescia House School, in Johannesburg.
The students stayed with host families from Brescia House and attended some classes with their host sisters. Their exploration of Johannesburg included visiting the Apartheid museum, Nelson Mandela’s house, Regina Mundi church, the Wits University and museum, and a tour of Soweto. They also spent four days on an amazing safari in Kruger National Park.
Can you imagine an Easter sunrise prayer service and then seeing lions and other big animals?
We invite you to see more photos and read their daily reports in the blog here: ursulinenewrochelle.org/southafrica16
Paris, France was the site of an exchange for seven Ursuline high school students and two faculty members in March-April 2016. The girls stayed with families from our sister school, Sainte Ursule, attended classes with their host sisters, and enjoyed Easter with their host families.
The girls also took some sightseeing excursions to the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sainte-Chappelle and the Musée du Louvre. One highlight was the day trip to the Palace of Versailles. Another was a promenade to the bank of the Seine River for a riverboat cruise.
You may learn more about their experience in the blog here: ursulinenewrochelle.org/paris16
The European cultural trip in March 2016 began in Edinburgh, Scotland. The group became well versed in castles as they explored stoic Edinburgh Castle, St. Andrew’s Castle and the town University, and the scenic Stirling Castle.
Next stop was London and well-known points of interest such as the Tower of London where the beefeaters tell tall tales, Trafalgar Square, the British Museum, and Piccadilly Circus. Students and chaperones enjoyed the view from the London Eye.
A special stop was the elegant city of Bath, and the opportunity to admire its Georgian splendor and view the Roman Baths and Pump Rooms. For many girls, a highlight was walking through the ancient arrangement of huge stones and earth at Stonehenge, which has baffled archaeologists for years.
The group then traveled to Paris on the Chunnel. There, they enjoyed seeing famous landmarks such as the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysees, the Place de la Concorde, and Montmartre. They also delighting in the Parisian boulevards and cafes. Easter Mass at Sacre Coeur was a unique experience.
More photos may be viewed here: ursulinenewrochelle.blogspot.com
A group of Ursuline School middle school students and faculty chaperones went on a new, educational tour of Greece. They studied the cultures of ancient Byzantine and modern Greece as they visited Athens and the Aegean islands. Special sites of interest included the Temple of Apollo, a guided tour of Delphi, the Acropolis and the Parthenon.
A special stop on the itinerary was the visit to The Ursuline School in Athens! We invite you to see photos of their adventure by clicking on the Twitter link below. You do not need to have a Twitter account to access the link.
In spring 2015, on the annual Europe trip, a group of juniors and faculty chaperones traveled to Munich, Salzburg, Vienna, and Venice. Highlights included a visit to the Ursuline School in Vienna and attending the Vienna State Opera to see the opera Elektra by Strauss.
The group also visited Dachau as well as making excursions to the Wieskirche church and a Sound of Music tour in Hellbrunn. Relaxing time was spent at Cafe Mozart in Salzburg. Castles, museums, and a gondola ride were also enjoyed.
Students prepared for this trip by reading several texts. On their travels, the girls studied artwork and reflected on the countries they visited.
See photos by following the blog at http://tuseurotrip2015.blogspot.com/
In February 2015, Ursuline students attended the Leonardo DaVinci School located in the historical center of Florence. They stayed at a hotel, which is an historical landmark and located in the city center.
Classes were scheduled Monday to Friday during the morning hours. All classes were taught by native Italian professors. The classes were conducted in Italian. The students and their professors also walked to the market places in Florence and the students conversed in Italian with the merchants.The afternoons were spent practicing Italian and visiting the many world renowned museums and nearby Tuscan towns and churches.
There was also time to do some shopping in the many stores and markets. The program offered perspectives on all levels of cultural immersion - acquiring mastery of the Italian language; using a local Renaissance Chapel as the Art History classroom; evening workshops on creating a fresco; and a cooking class on Italian Cuisine.
Follow the adventure by reading the blog at http://tusitaly15.blogspot.
In January 2015, our High School Honors Choir traveled to Italy. The choir sang for His Holiness, Pope Francis, on two occasions - at a Papal audience and at a Papal Mass with the Sistine Choir. Our girls also performed at the St. Francis Basilica in Assisi. Their last and most unexpected performance was in the Roman catacombs where they were moved by their surroundings and sang the Alleluia.
This spiritual and musical pilgrimage was an exceptional opportunity for our students. See photos about the Honors Choir Trip to Rome here.