Exploring Europe

Lauren Huesers, Staff Writer

According to Education First (EF), “the best way to help students gain new perspectives and build skills for the future is through experiential learning.”

That is exactly what Tierney Weed, an English Language Arts teacher, and Ashley Scheuerman, a business teacher, said they are helping students do through their trips to Europe.

Their first trip with Blue Valley was last year when they traveled to Europe with a group of 12 students.

“We went to Dublin and London and Paris and a couple of places along the way,” Weed said. “That was about 10 days.”

Scheuerman said she has gone on two other trips before this previous one.

“My husband is a German teacher at Shawnee Mission West,” Scheuerman said. “The two trips previous to this last trip I took with his two groups that he takes over there [each summer.] We had gotten back from a trip and we had kind of talked over the summer [and thought], ‘This is totally something we should do.’ That’s how we got started.

Weed and Scheuerman found EF, a travel agency that plans all aspects of desired trips and leaves them open for several groups to take advantage of.

“They’re pretty good about helping you, especially as a first-time person,” Weed said. “They actually had the opportunity to go on a training tour over Spring Break, so I went with a bunch of other teachers from all over the country. We went through a mock [guided trip]. I went over to Spain and didn’t know anybody, but it was cool because they were like, ‘Hey, when you bring kids over here, this is what it’ll be like. Here are the things that you do,’ so it was cool.”

Scheuerman and Weed both said they really enjoyed seeing kids outside of the classroom.

“You may have a kid in class all semester long and not know almost anything about them,” Scheuerman said. “You travel with them for 10 days, and it’s amazing what you can find out about kids and just experience and watch them grow. [You get to] figure life out along the way. It’s 10 days of life versus [being with the kids in school] for 180 days a year. I feel like I don’t get to know them half as well as 10 days emerged in another culture with them.”

Weed said the students kept making connections to what they were taught in Advanced Placement European History. She said it was exciting to see the things they have learned come to life for them.

Although Scheuerman said using EF was easy, she also said there was a lot of planning and scheduling that had to happen beforehand.

“It’s a lot of work get prepared to go,” Scheuerman said. “Obviously we want to make the parents as informed as possible, and we want to be able to do everything we can.”

Weed said she didn’t have many complaints, but she wished a different type of group was included with hers.

“We went with another school group and another family,” Weed said. “Our kids had hoped it would be more students they were travelling with just so they could meet more people from the States.”

Weed and Scheuerman said they plan to take another group to Europe the summer of 2016.

“We’ll fly into Italy first and do a couple of stops there,” Weed said. “Then we’ll go down to Athens and do a cruise around the Grecian Islands. Then we’ll fly out of Athens back home. That’ll be 13 days, so it’ll be a little bit longer [than last year’s trip.]”

Weed and Scheuerman said the upcoming trip is open to all students who want to participate. There are 21 spots available.

“Now that we’ve done this and had the experience of it we’ve kind of just left it open,” Weed said. “We’ve been using a lot of social media and in (Scheuerman’s) classes (she is) using the BV Business website.”

Despite all the work that goes into preparing for an overseas trip, both Scheuerman and Weed said they enjoy going on these trips.

“It’s extremely rewarding in the end,” Scheuerman said. “When we get to go and we get to travel, it’s worth it.”