Experience the World is a travelling summer school programme operated by Georgia Hardy Tours from Toronto. The B.C. tours began several years ago when our very own John Liggett, Director of Academics, initiated the first summer school programme with St. Michaels University School and a sister school from Vancouver, Collingwood. Since that time, SMUS participation has been relatively small and the Collingwood contingent has provided the bulk of the students, teachers and administrators. The programme has become one of Collingwood’s most popular trips with a regular set of administrators and teachers returning year after year for the excitement it provides: the sheer love of travel, and most of all, the opportunity to do what we do best–teach students–in a unique and rewarding way.
Thus far, our destination has been the UK and Europe. As a new teacher to SMUS, last year was my first year of travel with the tour. We spent half of our time in Oxford and London, half in Barcelona and Costa del Sol in southern Spain. I was hooked. I love classroom teaching and participating in students’ learning over the course of a typical ten-month school season, but travelling and completing a course in one month is another matter entirely. It is intense, energizing, and provides incredible opportunities for learning. Not only do the students complete B.C. academic courses on a rigorous schedule (thus far English 10, 11, 12, and Math 12 are on offer), they also interact intensively with each other, their teachers and the administrators and they absorb the sights and sounds of the places they visit. This combination of new cultural experiences, relationship building, and focused academics creates an unforgettable learning experience.
Although our SMUS group is very small this year, four students and one teacher to Collingwood’s thirty-five students, three teachers and two administrators, we are still a strong, comprehensive group that represents both genders, a set of siblings, and both day students and boarders. SMUS students are enrolled in each of the classes offered this summer; thus, our presence is felt and we are very much a part of the entire experience.
As part of the staff, I am happy to note that we teachers have excellent, collaborative working relationships and that our principals are highly energetic, compassionate, attentive administrators. Together, we work to provide our students with the best learning opportunities that a travelling summer school can provide.
Kay Weber, Senior English, SMUS / English 11, Experience the World 2010