Tag Archives: student travel new york city

Student Travel Update: New One World Trade Center Graces NYC Skyline

student travel nyc
The view from the observation deck of One World Trade Center encompasses NY and NJ.

 

by Howard Clemens

For many high school and junior high students today, the tragedy of 9/11 in New York City happened is already a part of history. It happened when many of this age group was young children – or they were not even born yet. As a new generation considers the tragedies of 9/11, the event is already making its way into the shrouds of history.

Students Travel to NYC & See the New One World Trade Center
This year, the new One World Trade Center has arisen, and it is ready for commercial occupancy. Fortune 500 companies and successful tech companies are securing decade long leases on office space.

For student trips headed to New York City, the New One World Trade Center is certainly worth a look. Groups may also want to visit the 9/11 Museum – a separate building nearby.

One World Observatory spans 3 floors and is open for public, ticketed admission. Ask a student travel company representative about group rates and scheduling tickets. A trip to the 100th Floor is a phenomenal way to see New York City from a bird’s eye view and learn more about the history of 911 as well as present day New York.

Workers Hoist the New Sign to Top of Building
As the sign, One World Trade Center, was hoisted to the top of the 1,776 foot building, workers on site took photos. The written signatures and messages of loved ones were visible on the back of the street sign. Many who live and work in New York City lost loved ones: family and friends, work associates and neighbors. After 9/11 the city was never to be the same again, with tightened security and heightened anxieties at large public events. Yet the spirit of New Yorkers has survived the catastrophe, and this new building stands today as a testament to those who were lost – and those who remain.

The project to rebuild the World Trade Center began in earnest post 9/11 as collaboration between government and private industry. It was to illustrate that the U.S. has an indomitable spirit, not easily broken. The building is immense, covering 3,500,000 square feet, including: offices, observation deck, parking and storage and more. Shopping and dining is available beneath the building, as well as PATH and subway train access. One World Trade Center has 70 different elevators and nine escalators. Five elevators are reserved for access to the top of the building where the Observatory is located.

One World Observatory
Student travel groups will be interested in visiting the One World Observatory, an innovative, contemporary space that gives more information about 911 and the new One World Trade Center’s construction, as well as present day New York City.

Timed ticket entry is part of the scheduling for student tour groups, so prompt or early arrival will be necessary. Students will ride the elevator to the 102nd Floor on a sky pod with windows on three sides. As students enter the Global Welcome Center, digital signs in many languages will greet them.

On the 100th Floor of One World Trade Center, students can enter the Main Observatory to see 360-degree panoramic views of New York City and beyond. The sky portal is another observatory where students may enter a 14-foot wide circular disc that opens up an astounding view of the streets below. To find out more about NYC neighborhoods below, students can question the City Pulse – a video monitor system that provides close-up street views.

The new One World Trade Center was designed and built to showcase the latest state-of the-art technologies, and to encourage public engagement. Plus it sets aside three floors for public access and enjoyment, while the floors below are teeming with work and productivity. One World Trade Center offers its tenants a prestigious address, a work environment with a contemporary design and one stupendous view of New York City. Its presence has already enlivened the lower Manhattan neighborhood.

One World Observatory has opened a brand new gift shop called the Gallery at One World. Here, students can obtain exclusively designed mementos of their trip to the top of New York City. Dining at One World Trade Center may be a bit over budget for many student groups or simply inconvenient for touring. Instead, take groups on a walk through the restaurants and stores below the building’s street level to find lunch or dinner.

For more information about seeing One World Trade Center while on tour of New York City, trip leaders and teachers may contact info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.

An Art Focused Student Trip to New York City

By Howard Clemens

Desmond Cormier is an art teacher at the Buford Middle School in Charlottesville, Virginia. He has taught at the school for 16 years. Cormier lives at a nearby farmstead with his wife, Virginia, a sheep farmer. He became an educator after many years in an entirely different profession. “My first career was a commercial deep sea diver and I was also involved in the offshore drilling industry for 17 years,” says Cormier. Thanks to the demands of his first profession, he has traveled all over the world.

Now Cormier believes his art students should gain exposure to the world through travel at an early age. Each year, Cormier organizes a student trip to New York City and invites students to take a deeper look at ‘the city that never sleeps.’

“When I was young, I toured all over the world,” says Cormier, “I think it’s a valuable experience to bring these students to New York City and let them see the world through their own eyes,” he added. Basically, Cormier attempts to schedule a class trip to New York City for those interested in taking a long weekend. Student trips to New York City took place in 2013 & 2014. In 2015, Cormier says he couldn’t get the number of students needed to travel, yet he’s planning to travel again with his students over the long term.

While on tour of New York City, students visit world famous art museums, such as the Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Cormier says this is an excellent opportunity to take in some masterpieces. “Students see these famous works of art in real life. These artistic treasures are totally different in a museum, in their original form,” he observed.

Touring such large museums may be a daunting endeavor for a teacher and his class. Cormier says “The Metropolitan Museum of Art was overwhelming and MOMA is such large museum it is hard to take it all in.” However, the Guggenheim Museum’s set-up is perfect, because, students have to go from the top down to the bottom. “The way the museum is designed, they have to see the entire collection and exhibitions,” commented Cormier.

In addition to touring art museums as a complement to their studies, students also immerse themselves in the New York City experience. Here there are exposed to the diversity of the U.S. population, by visiting immigrant neighborhoods, and experiencing a lively artistic culture as well as global cuisine choices. “We had dinner in Times Square and the kids loved the excitement of it all. It was Saturday night,” said Cormier. The student group also visited Chinatown, toured the New York Harbor, and saw the Empire State Building, among other sites.

After touring the world, Cormier eventually returned to Charlottesville, Virginia, because it’s home to him. “My wife loves sheep farming. I love Charlottesville, because I am an alumni of University of Virginia and it’s my hometown.” His daughter lives in Charlottesville with his three grandchildren and Cormier also has a son in San Francisco. His views about becoming a well-rounded artist include the incorporation of travel, consideration of great artistic works, and exposure to different cultures, cuisines, architecture and social customs.

Learn more about art tours of New York City.

Senior class trip ideas for NYC, Washington D.C. and Orlando

by Howard Clemens

Senior year in high school can be life changing in so many ways. Marking the border between adolescence and adulthood, school and college (or employment), senior high school students are looking forward to a world of new opportunities but also saying some poignant goodbyes. After all, the friends that have been so important to them over the last few years will also be going their own way. That is why the end of senior year is an important milestone – important enough to mark with lasting memories.

For many, a senior class trip is the perfect way to make this time extra special. Whether it is a day trip, a few days, a week or more, this is one vacation that must be carefully planned and thoughtfully constructed.

Among the most popular senior trip destinations are New York City, Washington DC and Orlando in Florida. These vibrant, exciting places make it almost impossible for high school seniors to be bored. Read on to learn more about some great senior class trip ideas for those destinations.

High School Seniors on their Final Trip Together: New York City

NYC is a legendary student trip destination, simply because there is an almost endless list of things to see and do there. If traveling to NYC is likely to leave classmates a little tired, why not spend the first evening relaxing at one of Broadway’s legendary musicals? Wicked, Les Miserables, Cabaret and Mamma Mia are just a few of the choices available right now.

If time allows, New York City’s Chinatown district is a must-visit, and the ideal place for that after-show meal. NYC has one of the biggest Chinese communities outside Asia, and there are a huge number of authentic Chinese and other Asian restaurants and shops. Mott Street and Grand Street, in particular, are lined with Chinese restaurants, while Canal Street is a great place to go for gifts and jewelry. Also located there is The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) offering fascinating insights into the vibrant culture and history of the community.

Of course, high school seniors are music and fashion-conscious, and one of the best hangouts for the young and fashionable in NYC has to be the world famous Hard Rock Cafe. Located in the heart of NYC, it is full of authentic rock memorabilia and is a great place for a relaxed, all-American dining experience. Priority seating can be booked in advance by an educational travel company, making the lines a non-issue.

Finally, no student trip to NYC is complete without a boat tour of the harbor. High school seniors can see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. A student trip to New York City rounds off high school in truly memorable style.

Senior Class Trips to Washington DC

Although it has politics at its heart, DC is far from being a dry, administrative center – there is plenty here for high school seniors to see and do. Within eyesight of Washington D.C., on the shores of the Potomac River in Maryland, the National Harbor (NH) has a bustling waterfront that can compete with any international city. NH has more than 150 diverse shops and boutiques, over 30 eating places to choose from, a range of enticing hotels and lots of special events. Many visitors find this area hard to leave! The National Harbor is also home to the National Wheel, a gigantic Ferris wheel with enclosed gondolas that give a superb – and unforgettable – panoramic view of DC.

For culture lovers, DC has a range of theaters; so taking in a play is a popular option. For those whose preference is for adrenaline, there is the opportunity to try whitewater rafting on the Shenandoah or Potomac rivers in nearby West Virginia. More laid-back water lovers might prefer a boat tour of calmer sections of the Rappahannock River.

Orlando, Florida has Much to Offer Student Traveler

Surely no high school career is complete without at least one trip to Walt Disney World in Florida. Disney World offers a range of special offers designed especially for senior class trips, including interactive rides and programs, themed dance parties and buffet breakfasts. With a setting like that, how could anybody forget their high school senior year?

A great alternative – or addition – to a trip to Disney World trip is Universal’s Islands of Adventure, which offers rides, characters, special events and shows for every age and taste. Senior students will love Universal CityWalk, a 30-acre entertainment complex with nightclubs, restaurants, shopping and movies.

Planning a senior class trip can be challenging; with so many different tastes, interests and personalities along, it is important to offer a good mix of activities and entertainment. However, the high school senior year trip is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all. So it is important to get it right. Hopefully these ideas have provided some inspiration.

For more information on putting together a senior class trip itinerary for New York City, Washington D.C. or any other destination, visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com

A Swing Choir from Wyoming Takes Student Performance Trips to New York City and Hawaii & Wows Audiences

by Howard Clemens

Linnea Dickson is the Vocal Music Instructor for Lovell High School and Middle School in Wyoming. “In our town there is limited cultural opportunity or variety. There are hardly any minorities in Lovell, just a few Hispanic children,’ she commented. So for the past 25 years, Dickson has been taking her Swing Choir and Choir groups to New York City and Hawaii. She varies the trip between these two far-flung locations because some middle school children attend two trips by the time they are in high school. This variation of destinations allows flexibility with the performance venues selected and the students are enriched by exposure to new places.

Every two years students from Lovell visit Hawaii. Student groups visit New York City about once every four years.

In New York City, students have performed at Carnegie Hall, the Statue of Liberty, the 911 Memorial and the United Nations building. “Student swing choir groups have even performed on church steps in New York City,” says Dickson. “We always have people stop and video tape and photograph their performance. And the children think it’s really cool that someone out in the world is watching them perform,” she added.

In New York City, student travel groups have a tight schedule that keeps them on the move. Still, they make time to attend as many as three Broadway plays. Visiting Broadway is an extraordinary event for any student of the performing arts. “This gives them a great chance to aspire to a performance career,” says Dickson. “We have seen Broadway musicals like: Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Fiddler on the Roof, The Lion King, and Mary Poppins,” she said. “We try to select a wide variety of Broadway shows. It really makes it fun for kids to have this opportunity.”

Student groups keep busy in New York City. “We are on the run morning until night,” says Dickson. “We see the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the 911 Memorial, the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), the Intrepid, Trinity Church, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and much more,” she added.”

The town of Lovell, Wyoming has only 2,300 people, and very little diversity. On the trip to New York City, students visit Chinatown, Little Italy, and even have lunch in a New York Jewish Deli. These are all new experiences for them and Dickson believes this exposure to a diverse city life is necessary for their education and personal growth.

Over the past 25 years, trips have grown in size from just 16 kids and two chaperones to 30 kids and 35 adults. “We make it open for family to travel along with children, and they often do. People come in from Calgary, California and Texas,” observed Dickson. “It’s a fun opportunity and it would cost them so much more to go on their own then to travel with the student group. Everything is included and paid for in advance for this trip: meals, airfare, bus and hotel,” she concluded.

Students actually only miss a day of school, since the Lovell school trip is always scheduled over the Easter holiday. This means less time out of school for travel and more time for out-in-the-world learning.

Having the children see a variety of cultures and hear different languages puts them in a different atmosphere. “It’s important for these kids to have the opportunity to get out and see something of the world and find out there’s a heck of a lot more than the state of Wyoming. We love it here, but it’s good to go visit other places,” says Dickson.

To find out more about scheduling performance trips to New York City, Washington D.C. and Orlando Florida as well as other destinations, visit: http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.

For Student Travel Groups, Broadway is the Lights of American Musical History

For more than a century Broadway has been making musical theater come to life in New York City. There has never been a better time to engage the musical than now, and there is no better place for the musical than Broadway. Start the day with your student travel group in New York City in Lower Manhattan at The Theater Museum on 40 Worth Street: http://www.thetheatremuseum.org. See the history of the famous Playbills show time magazine, the history of the showboat and other exhibitions on display. Later the student tour group can head uptown for lunch and a show.

Currently there are many award-winning Broadway musicals around Times Square. The Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder not only won the 2014 Tony for Best Musical, but Darko Tresnjak won Best Director and Linda Cho won for Best Costume Design. This new musical is taking Broadway by storm. Set in England’s elegant Edwardian era, it shows just how low some will go to make it to the top. Latest news on the cast is available at this link: http://www.agentlemansguidebroadway.com.

Jessie Mueller won Best Actress in the 2014 Tony Awards for her leading role in BEAUTIFUL: The Carole King Musical. This musical is a story of true Americana, tracing the history of writer and singer Carole King, whose voice helped shape the sound of a generation. Mueller’s performance leaves the audience wanting more. Standing ovations after every show make it one of the best experiences today on the street of lights. For more details on the musical The Wall Street Journal calls “OUT OF CONTROL AMAZING!” please see this link: http://beautifulonbroadway.com

Disney has been bringing their magic to Broadway for over two decades. Aladdin is the latest hot ticket with the amazing James Monroe Iglehart winning a 2014 Tony for Best Actor. Aladdin brings the historic New Amsterdam Theater into a new century, with special effects and lighting that dazzle viewers. There is also the ongoing Lion King for the true Disney and Elton John fan. Few musicals have had a better selling soundtrack in history than The Lion King, which also won many awards for singing, acting, set design, writing and directing.

Les Miserables, the musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s famous novel is an ongoing classic at The Imperial Theater, continuing to wow and educate audiences from around the world with the epic tale of the French Revolution. Another longtime popular Broadway musical is now in its tenth anniversary on Broadway, and of course that means the musical WICKED. WICKED is a retelling of the classic American epic Wizard of Oz, a prequel to the original Wizard. This is the story of the Wicked Witch of the West and Glenda the Good Witch.
Another new musical getting attention is MATILDA. Based on the book by beloved children’s author Roald Dahl, Matilda is a precocious child equipped with psychic abilities and telekinetic powers that help her battle the wicked adults around her.

For fans of Frankie Valli, Jersey Boys is one more important musical on Broadway that is garnering a lot of attention. Jersey Boys is the true but classic story of rags to riches, tracing the American story of bestselling music sensation Frankie Valli and his band, The Four Seasons. Such chart topping songs as “Sherry,” “Rag Doll” and many others have become part of the American soundtrack.

Student tour groups visit New York City for a one of a kind experience at 42nd and Broadway, the place millions have journeyed to for more than a century to be entertained. Trip leaders, do not forget to take student groups on a visit to the Theater Museum and ask a travel professional to plan the trip around other art or historic museums in the city. To create an itinerary for a student trip to New York City, visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Museum of Modern Art in NYC Offers Student Travel Groups Sophisticated Look at International Art

By Howard Clemens

student travel new york city
MOMA is a popular point on the itinerary for student travel groups in NYC.

What do Henri Matisse, Diego Rivera and Georgia O’Keeffe have in common? Their works can be found in the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City. MOMA’s permanent collection of international art is staggering in its enormity. Any student of art will want to visit this museum at some point. No student trip to New York City is really complete without a visit to MOMA. I recommend student travel groups interested in visiting MOMA to spend at least a half day touring this world famous museum.

MOMA’s Permanent Collection Online – A Great Teaching Tool

For those educators who want to preview the work of well known artists before a student trip to NYC, most pieces in the permanent collection are viewable online. This is a wonderful way to familiarize students with the work of artists prior to a class trip to New York City. The permanent collection is in alphabetical order and works owned by MOMA are displayed in image format, making a preliminary study of artists in the collection easy and interesting.

Matisse's "Interior With a Young Girl" is a great example of his work.
Matisse’s “Interior With a Young Girl” is a great example of his work.

Henri Matisse: the Cut-Outs

Matisse is a French artist whose interest in drawing and painting the nude set him apart from his contemporaries early on. MOMA owns an extensive collection of Matisse’s work. Matisse’s last body of work, made in the late 1940s, is composed of cut-outs. He used paint, paper and scissors as his primary mediums to construct colorful and playful works of art. In this MOMA show, which will be on exhibit until February 8, 2015, students will see 100 cut outs (both small and large scale) along with related drawings, prints, illustrated books, stained glass and textiles. Running concurrently with this exhibition is MOMA’s restoration and exhibition of Matisse’s “The Swimming Pool” a wall-sized cut out once displayed in Matisse’s own dining room.

The Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec: Prints and Posters

This exhibition displays the art, social life and talent of one of the most famous Parisian painters of the late 18th Century: Toulouse-Lautrec. His work documents the Belle-Epoch era in Paris from 1864-1901. The show will be on exhibit until March 22, 2015.

student trips nyc
“Girl With Tulips” by Henri Matisse.

It includes posters Lautrec made for actual theatrical productions in Paris, lithographs, printed materials, illustrated books and 100 examples of Lautrec’s best work. For student travel groups headed to NYC in late fall 2014 or early spring 2015, stop by the Bauhaus Staircase to participate in the Interactive Lounge. Here, students learn more about the entertainment, dining and personal spaces that inspired Lautrec’s work.

Painting and Sculpture I & II

These exhibition rooms are designed to cover specific eras in art history, by offering a comprehensive look at it, while showcasing works of artists from MOMA’s permanent collection. Painting and Sculpture I covers the period from 1880-1940; Painting and Sculpture II surveys 1940-1980. Both exhibits give an overview of stylistic movements, artists and themed works that exemplify these periods. Students walk away with a broader understanding of the way artists across the globe impact a time period by stimulating cultural conversations.

Teach Art, English and History on a Student Tour of MOMA

While Art teachers may find it easier to develop a customized tour of MOMA, History and English teachers will want to complement a study of a certain period in history or literature with an examination of art of the same period. It is possible to structure a tour geared towards these areas of study at MOMA, mainly because of the way exhibitions are organized. Teachers will want to take a look at MOMA’s permanent and rotating exhibitions prior to planning a tour, to focus the educational experience.

Consult with an educational travel company to create the perfect student tour of MOMA to fit curricular needs. For more information about student travel itineraries to New York City, visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Student Travel to NYC: Ellis Island Reopens

One of the most popular and most visited national monuments in the United States, Ellis Island, is now partially reopened after receiving devastating blows from Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.

Preparing Students for a Trip to New York City to See The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
Prior to a class trip to New York City, teachers often encourage students to spend time in the classroom viewing the Statue of Liberty’s various webcams. There is the Crown Cam, the Torch Cam, and even a full panorama live streaming cam.  In 1916 access to the torch was restricted, making these webcams the first ever completely unobstructed view of the New York harbor in generations.

Webcams are a great way to familiarize students, but taking a boat trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is a once in a lifetime adventure for many who have never visited NYC or this historic site before.

Thousands of people are back to visiting the State of Liberty again each day after interruptions from damage by Hurricane Sandy, and the Federal Government shutdown in October 2013.   Did you know Lady Liberty’s face (not including the crown) is eight feet high?  This 225-ton statue was a gift to the United States from France in 1886 to commemorate the important friendship between the two nations during the American Revolution.  The statue was 350 pieces that had to be shipped to New York harbor then reassembled, a giant metal puzzle representing the brave fight for liberty.  The famous Emma Lazarus poem “The New Colossus” from the voice of the statue ends with the remarkable reminder, “Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, / I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

An incredible, breathtaking journey awaits all students who visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  Over twelve million weary, overwrought human beings passed through Ellis Island between the years 1892 and 1954.  More than half a century of immigration occurred in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, first designated as a check in point by president Benjamin Harrison.  The Native American’s called Ellis Island Kioshk, or Gull Island because of the abundant oyster beds the birds would feed on.

Many history and social studies teachers know that one of the most important places in the United States to visit for a significant historical and cultural reference is Ellis Island.  Students can learn more about immigration to the United States during the years of growth and even investigate their own ancestry – provided they come prepared with information.

The American Immigrant Wall of Honor on the Ellis Island tour is astounding and has the effect of connecting many to their history as immigrants. The wall overlooks the Statue of Liberty and is the longest wall of names in the world, and you can join fourth and fifth generation Americans pouring over the wall looking for long lost relatives from Ireland, Italy, Germany, and other countries.

The People of America Center is the newest expansion of Ellis Island’s historic landmark built to preserve the countless stories of the families who came to make this one of the greatest nations on Earth.  The exhibits are interactive and engaging, with stories ranging from the pre-Colonial immigration patterns to the great potato famine of Ireland.

The Flag of Faces exhibit is one of the most popular interactive displays at Ellis Island to date.  Individual American faces set into the mosaics of red, white, and blue to make the American flag.  You too can have your face and the faces of your family included in this project while it is still in process.  Ask about this opportunity when visiting, or check out the Ellis Island Foundation website for additional details.  You want to make sure to stop and spend some time with the Flag of Faces exhibit when on tour at Ellis Island.

The American Family Immigration History Center is one of the true highlights of any tour to Ellis Island.  This engaging interactive exhibit allows visitors to access immigrant boat passenger records of more than 22 million people.  When visiting students should come prepared by bringing the full name of an ancestor, their ethnicity, and approximate landing time in the Port of New York or Ellis Island. Chances are good these inquiries will result in seeing actual data on the first day the first member of a family stepped foot on American soil.  There are also photos of ships and manifest records to be viewed, as featured on The Today Show on broadcast television.

Student trip leaders may now plan trips that incorporate a visit to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Now is the time to start going back to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, since many repairs have been made. The entire facility is not yet ready for the complete tour.  Expect renovations on the rest of Ellis Island to be underway during 2013 and 2014 – until complete.

For more information on booking a student travel group on a tour of New York City that includes a visit to Ellis Island and other destinations, visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Statue of Liberty Reopening, Updates on Observation Tower for 911 Memorial

By Howard Clemens

Good news for student travel groups planning trips to New York City: the Statue of Liberty will be reopening this July—right in time for 2013’s July 4th celebration, says the National Park Service. This event, eagerly awaited since last fall, represents an important time in the history of both New York City and the nation at large.

The statue has been closed since Hurricane Sandy made landfall (a day after the statue’s 126th birthday) in late October of 2012. This means that student travel groups traveling to NYC this autumn will be able to experience an historic and exciting reopening.

Reservations for Statue’s Crown to Open in September 2013

The Statue of Liberty has been one of the world’s premiere student travel destinations for generations. Though nearby Ellis Island is not yet scheduled to reopen, the Statue, which welcomed 3.7 million visitors in 2011, is expected to become one of this fall’s most popular destinations. Student travel groups will once again be able to visit the famous observation area inside the Statue’s crown. Ask your student travel company to make reservations now for a visit to the Statue of Liberty in the fall of 2013.  More information, including updates on the Ellis Island reopening, can be found by visiting the National Park Service’s website. Reservations will be facilitated by the Statue’s official ferry provider, Statue Cruises.

Student Trips to NYC can include a visit to the Statue of Liberty with Other Historic Sites

Student travel groups who will be visiting during the statue’s historic reopening will benefit from combining their trip with visits to other important NYC sites. The Empire State Building, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, Times Square, and Governor’s Island are only a few of the limitless options available to groups. Coney Island is also a famous landmark that’s an easy subway ride from Manhattan. Student travel group leaders may choose to visit any of New York’s many famous and thriving neighborhoods, like Chinatown, Little Italy, Greenwich Village, and the art district of SoHo. Student groups can visit Central Park and Madison Square Garden, or tour the United Nations. The NYC “Sky Ride”, which departs from the second floor of the Empire State Building, is a simulated way for students to experience the city from the air via a “specially designed platform which moves in sync to an 18 foot high-definition screen,” according to the attraction’s website.

Preview of 911 Memorial Observation Deck promises historic opportunity to-come for students

This month, select guests and media were given a preview of the observation deck for the 911 Memorial. According to an article in the Tampa Bay Times, the observation deck tours will be “packaged like a theme park ride,” and visitors to the deck will watch a narrated video before “the actual panoramic view is revealed.” The deck is slated to be completed in 2014 and is expected to be “The Yankee Stadium of observation decks.” So student travel groups will have an exciting and historic visit to look forward to once the panorama opens to the public, most likely in 2015. The 911 Museum itself will also be opening in 2014, which will provide student travel groups with an even more valuable experience.

The Statue of Liberty is one of NYC’s most famous landmarks, and students will be able to be a part of its legacy by visiting it when it is once again unveiled. This year will provide great and unprecedented opportunities for groups to see this symbol of freedom in a brand new light.

Request a quote for student travel to NYC.

Student Travel Tour to NYC Introduces Foreign Exchange Students to American Culture

by Howard Clemens

Recently, Tim Dougherty, Director of Admissions at Cathedral Preparatory School and Villa Maria Academy, took his international and foreign exchange students on a tour of New York City.

The tour was included as part of a package designed to encourage international students to enroll in both schools. It was also an attempt to introduce students to American culture, by exposing them to historical American landmarks like the Empire State Building and the United Nations.

With the help of his student travel company, Dougherty worked out a tour that turned out to be a great success, and a wonderful way for his students to make the transition into the United States. I interviewed him about his experience recently, and he went over some of the details of the trip.

Q. What is your official position at Cathedral Prep?

A.  My title is Director of Admissions at Cathedral Preparatory School and Villa Maria Academy.  Cathedral Prep is an all-male school of approximately 600 students and Villa is an all-female school of over 300 students.  We have one common administration, one curriculum, one school calendar, but we have two campuses…one for boys and one for girls.  Both Cathedral Prep and Villa belong to the Catholic Diocese of Erie in Pennsylvania.

Q. When you planned this student trip to New York City, what was your vision? How does the trip tie into studies?

A.  The trip was purely for entertainment and sightseeing for the students, many who had never been to New York City.  We were not covering New York City in the classroom, and it was not tied into any educational program we have.  When planning the trip I envisioned seeing all the famous sights in the city and allowing the students to have a real “New York” experience.

Q. Many of the students traveling were foreign exchange students. Can you explain how this came about? Give me some background on your school and families and their relationship to foreign exchange students.

A.  We have recently initiated an international program (consisting of mostly Chinese students) at Prep and Villa.  The students are exceptional in the classroom and pay top-dollar to study in the USA, so in order to entice them to enroll at our schools we included a yearly trip to New York City as part of the tuition package.  All of the 28 students on the trip were international students, mostly from China.  We had one student from Denmark and one other from Slovakia.

Q. The Empire State Building was on your itinerary. Why did you think it was important to bring the group here? What was their experience like?

A. The Empire State Building is one of the most recognizable images of New York City, and in America.  All of our international students were familiar with it—they’d seen it on television and in movies.  When we told the students we would not only be visiting the building, but would also be going to the top of it, they were more than thrilled.  I thought it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity for them to visit the building that has been a symbol of NYC for so long. It allowed for several awesome photo opportunities, and an excellent view of the entire city.  We went at night, and the view was breathtaking!  The students, many of whom live in large cities in China, agreed that it was one of the most beautiful city landscapes they’ve ever seen.  The fact that we saw the city lit up at night made it extra special.

Q. The United Nations Audio Tour must have been interesting.  Was this narrated on a mobile device?  If so, how did it enhance the tour? Did students get to see people in the UN at work? I imagine UN sessions are closed to the public, but please describe what you saw and learned in detail.

A. The United Nations tour was interesting, and the students and chaperones were both moved by what they saw.  The work that the UN does in order to provide children and the under-privileged with school and medical supplies is amazing, and unknown to many people.  Many of the students and chaperones were teary-eyed at the end of the tour when they saw the images of the people in need, and how grateful they were for the hard work of the UN.  The fact that the tour was given with the assistance of an audio device was immensely helpful considering that the international students were able to listen in their native language. Unfortunately there were no ambassadors working and nothing in session during our visit.  But we were able to visit the main room in the UN that everyone always sees on television.

Q. How did students like the visit to Central Park?

A. Our trip to Central Park was brief, but a lot of fun. There were still a lot of leaves on the trees, and the weather was comfortable considering the time of year. We stopped at the Alice in Wonderland statute, and got some group photos.  There was a woman playing the guitar and singing beautifully while we were there, which added to the ambiance.

Q. The 911 Memorial is a site most student groups visit.  Why was it important to you to bring the group to this site? Also, what were their reactions?

A. The students were anxious to visit the 911 Memorial because they are all familiar with the importance of that day to Americans.  On 9/11 the entire world was impacted, so the memorial is special for everyone around the globe.  The students were very impressed with the beautiful memorial, and took time to reflect on the tragedy that changed America and the rest of the world forever.  For the most part, the students were reverent and respectful during the visit, and asked the chaperones several questions, which showed they were sincerely interested in learning more about what they were witnessing.

Q. Did you give any post trip writing or oral presentations projects to students?

A. The students were not given any assignments to do for this trip.  They’re very scholarly and have plenty of other homework to do, so we did not require them to do anything on this trip.  Most of them used their free time at the hotel to catch up on the work they were missing while they were out of school.

Q. What was your overall impression of the tour guide and your experience of traveling with your particular tour guides?

A. Our tour guide was excellent!  She knew the city very well and took great care of us during the entire trip. She always had a good attitude, and when we had to make slight changes to our itinerary, she did an outstanding job of getting us all set.  Not only was she knowledgeable about the landmarks and sightseeing hotspots, but very helpful with guiding us through the best traffic routes. Our travel company definitely had the best itinerary, services, and overall plan for our trip to New York City.  Every detail was planned and taken care of.  It was reassuring, and each night at the hotel I slept a little better knowing we had the support of the night time security worker that had been arranged. I can honestly say that I’m thrilled with our experience, and that we plan on taking more trips in the future.

Student travel can help facilitate innovative and imaginative ways to incorporate students into American culture. Itineraries may be designed to accommodate a variety of backgrounds and educational goals, and are by no means limited to American students alone. With a little ingenuity and planning, teachers can create travel tours that can open doors for students and help ease their transition into exciting new academic environments that will open doors for them.

Request a Quote for a student trip to NYC or other locations in the U.S. Canada, Puerto Rico and other locations.

Student Trip to NYC Opens Up New Horizons for a School Group from Texas

By Howard Clemens

Students from Byron Nelson High School in Texas pose in front of the NYC skyline.

Lori Imrecke, a popular teacher whose approach to her profession is innovative and fun, is an Economics instructor at Byron Nelson High School in Texas. She’s also a sponsor of the school’s Snow, Ski, and Snowboard Club, and an avid proponent and organizer of student travel.

Students Travel From Different Schools

Recently, she took her students on a tour of New York City. “I like to take the kids on trips that expose them to things they wouldn’t normally see,” Imrecke says. “They leave suburban Texas and enter into a whole new world.” This particular excursion was unique because students from other area schools were involved. Imrecke put the word out about the trip, and got a great response from other teachers who wanted their students to be involved. “A lot of the kids didn’t really know each other, so they made a lot of new friends on this trip,” Imrecke says. “There was a lot of great conversation and sharing of individual experiences.”

Students explore the vivid street life in NYC.

Visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC

The group’s objective as a whole was to see as many sites in NYC as possible. “We visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” says Imrecke. “I had gone before, but seeing it through the students’ eyes made it a whole new experience for me.” Many of the exhibits correlated with the students’ particular fields of study or interest. “Some of the kids were studying photography,” Imrecke says, “So they were interested in those displays. Others wanted to see the Egyptian exhibit. One student was in a state of culture shock everywhere he went. Everything we saw was amazing to him!”

A Visit to the 911 Memorial

One of the most important visits the group made was to the 9/11 Memorial. “For the kids, it was eye-opening,” Imrecke says. “They all remembered 9/11 happening, but they were too young at the time to really grasp the significance of it. The visit to the site made it real for them.” The tour guide, who had lived in the city at the time, also shared her stories with the group. “One of the students took a photo of the memorial, and it was entered into a contest to be displayed at the Capitol,” Imrecke says.  “It didn’t ultimately make it in to the exhibit, but it was a very powerful experience for her.”

Wall Street, the Federal Reserve Bank and the Statue of Liberty

The group also visited Wall Street, and took the boat over to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. This segment was of particular interest to the American History students. “The cool thing about Ellis Island was that they already had a background knowledge of it,” says Imrecke. “They were in awe of the statue, and seeing it really brought it to life. It was a perfect day.” The group toured NYC’s financial district and the Federal Reserve Bank. “I wanted the students to get some insights on the Federal Reserve and how it works,” says Imrecke. The students had a lot of questions for the tour guide, and appeared to be learning from other students’ questions. “They took us down into the vaults,” says Imrecke. “Getting to see all that gold in one room was astonishing to them.”

Visits to Other Sites of Interest to Student Groups in NYC

The itinerary had a lot of cultural variety. “We spent time in places like Chinatown, and went to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. The museum was a blast! The kids loved it because they could be goofy and take pictures of the wax celebrities. It fed right into their views on pop culture.” The tour also featured a Broadway musical, The Lion King, which was thrilling for the music students in the group. “They found it so fascinating,” Imrecke says. “This was really the number one iconic New York experience I wanted them to have. In fact, it was so great that we’re in the process of working out the logistics of another trip to NYC.”

Imrecke loved watching the students’ faces as they experienced Times Square and other NYC landmarks for the first time. “I wanted the kids to get as comprehensive an idea of NYC as possible, to experience the hustle and bustle of New York,” she said, “and I really feel that was accomplished. It’s a lot of work to organize a tour, but it’s so worth it. I would recommend it to every teacher.”

Education is not what it used to be. No longer does learning need to be confined solely to the classroom. Supplemental curriculum like student travel can open up new horizons and introduce students to a brand new world of interactive learning. When they can experience the world hands-on, their knowledge of subject matter is enriched and expanded.

Request a quote for a student trip to New York City.