France trip launches revival of Global Education Program

Averie Howell, Reporter

Senior and French student Ellie Monaghan went on the first international trip with St. Mary’s since 2019 before COVID-19 – and she loved it. 

“I did learn a lot because the most culture I’ve ever experienced in my life is in Michigan,” Monaghan said. “That’s the farthest I have left from Memphis, so going to another country, I realized Memphis is so small. I’m moving [to France] when I am older.”

Over the 2022 fall break, chaperones Mr. John Nichols, Dr. Brandy Brown and Ms. Christy Askew took 23 Upper School students to France. 

Students spent time in Paris, visiting the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Champs-Élysées, the Latin Quarter, the Garnier Opera House, the Saint Sulpice Cathedral and more. They traveled to Arromanches, Colleville and Versailles, visiting the D-Day Landing Museum, the Normandy American Cemetery, the Bayeux Tapestry and the Palace of Versailles.

Alice Lee (11) found that traveling to a new country with her classmates added to the overall experience.

“We saw a lot of interesting things in the museums, and I just loved the architecture of the entire place,” Lee said. “I really liked going with my friends, and that was nice being able to all go together, which is something that would be harder to do without the school.”

While the France trip was the first one of its kind in over three years, Nichols, the Global Education Director, hopes for it to be the beginning of many more like it.

“We are trying to basically departmentalize travel, so every department will have a fair shake at doing a travel experience going forward,” Mr. Nichols said. “Ideally, we will have three offerings every single year, and those will occur either in the summer or during fall break.”

Students like Julianna Damron (11) who did not go on the France trip are excited to see the future travel opportunities. 

“I would 100% be interested in going on a trip,” Damron said. “I want that experience: the fun times in a place that you’ve never been to, and you’re not going with your family. You are going with your friends.”

Nichols believes that the excitement about these trips will hopefully encourage participation, as well as increasing  students’ overall global education.

“We have framed Global Education at St. Mary’s around the four domains of global competence that have been set forth by the Asia Society, which is an International Group: investigate the world, recognize perspectives, communicate ideas, and take action,” Nichols said. “I think that travel fits really beautifully into those goals … seeing how other people in other parts of the world live, and seeing differences but more importantly seeing commonalities between how we live in the United States.”