Think spring break is about rest and relaxation? Think again. Every other year, clubs in Saint Viator’s Modern World Languages Department take trips, extending the classroom walls.

This was the first spring break for Principal Karen Love and she spent it traveling to Coast Rica with Mr, Kurt Paprocki and 14 members of the Spanish Club. While they spent their first day in the capital city of San Jose, they spent the majority of their time in the country’s lush mountains, nature preserves and on its beaches.

IMG_20180329_102334487_HDR“We had lots of active days spent outdoors during our week in Costa Rica,” says Mr. Paprocki, a 2000 Saint Viator graduate who teaches all of the accelerated Spanish classes.

Students saw beautiful waterfalls and unique wildlife at a pair of nature parks before ziplining over the canopy of a cloud forest. They also visited a coffee plantation, where they learned how coffee is produced and about its economic impact and relaxed on the beach.

IMG_20180327_104852876_HDROne of the highlights for the students was visiting a residence for teenage mothers. Many of these young mothers had been abused and because of having a child they could not continue in school or work, which made a big impact on Saint Viator students, who were about the same age.

IMG_0452“In Costa Rica, our students had the opportunity to use what they’ve learned in Spanish class and interact with locals in real-world situations,” Mr. Paprocki said. “We hope this trip sparked an interest in travel and an opportunity to experience the unique Latin American culture.”

At the same time, Mrs. Mirella Rullo and Dean Deborah Scerbicke led members of the Italian Club on a grand tour of Italy. Their trip began in Venice, where they toured a glass factory and saw the city’s major sites, before heading to Verona to see where Juliet appeared on the balcony before a lovesick Romeo and tour the Arena of Verona, where operas are performed.

IMG_2038The group walked the city of Florence, taking in the Medici and Pitti palaces, among other famous sites, and all before visiting the mountain city of Assisi, where they toured the Basilica of Saint Francis and the Basilica of Saint Chiara, before climbing to the top of the Rocca Maggiore fortress.

IMG_2057Rome was their final destination, and they again did a walking tour that included the Pantheon, Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, as well as the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Colosseum all the next day. Their last night, they dined in Rome’s famous Trastevere, where they walked its cobbled streets and took in the buzz of the city.

“Our kids were absolutely wonderful and they made a true effort to speak in the language,” says Mrs. Rullo, a native speaker. “They even asked the local tour guides to speak in Italian!

IMG_2054“All in all, it was a great opportunity to be immersed in another culture,” Mrs. Rullo adds, “utilize our Italian and extend learning outside the classroom walls.”

See more photos from the Costa Rica trip here.