Minimester ’15 – Foreign Journeys

The fifth annual minimester is coming up. As everyone knows, this means another week of no classes and five days of a different type of learning. The school and teachers offer the students a variety of choices to choose from. Their options include a week of SAT tutoring, working on an artistic activity here in Miami, or an educational vacation to Italy or London with your friends. Every year, members of the faculty plan interesting trips outside the country to immerse the students in different cultures. In this upcoming minimester, the trips include previous destinations such as Costa Rica and London. The new locations consist of Canada, Puerto Rico, Peru, and Italy. There is a chance for everyone to learn something new and interesting!

Mr. Brown and a parent, Ms. Grossman, are taking some MCDS students to Canada to learn leadership skills. Paula Garcia, a sophomore, said, “the reason I want to go is to experience and discover my true ability to lead”. She wants to see what it was like to enjoy herself while completing athletic and artistic activities in the cold weather, contrary to what she is used to here in Miami. Mr. Brown has planned bonfires, service projects, and athletic activities for the students to accomplish. Paula is looking forward to visiting Toronto for the first time while exploring and revealing the honor, compassion, and leadership in her.

In the minimester to Italy, Ms. Martinez and Mr. Brennan are aiming for their students to take in the art, history, culture, language, and cuisine of the country. They are taking the high schoolers to three different cities: Rome, Vatican City, and Florence. Gaby Chariff has already visited Rome and Florence when she was younger with her family. However, she stated, “I am excited for this minimester because even though I have already been, I want to revisit and explore the culture with my friends”. While in these romantic cities, the students will visit the famous Sistine Chapel, the Pantheon, the Colosseum, and many more historical sites to take in the Italian culture, history, and experience. They will also be attending a cooking class with some of the finest chefs in the region!

Mr. Rosas and Ms. Vargas are spending the minimester week on the island of Puerto Rico. This trip includes exotic excursions to the beach and to historical sites of the island. The students and teachers are going to visit the rainforest of El Yunque and take in the natural aspects of the Caribbean island. Senior Eduardo Ratner will be attending this trip and he quite excited about it. “What I am most looking forward to is to see the island’s cultural sites and the beautiful beaches”, said Eduardo enthusiastically.

Another trip that was added this year is the visit to Peru. Ms. Pearson and Mr. Pineda are leading their high school students explore the cities in Peru. After visiting the city of Lima, they will continue to the capital of the former Inca Empire, Cuzco. Sophomore, Alex Slezynger, is attending the trip to Peru. Alex said this is his first time going to Peru, and he is really looking forward to seeing the remains of the Inca Empire. The teachers and students will spend some time learning about the history and the side of the Empire. In addition, they will go out and visit Machu Picchu and the Amazon Basin. They will also visit Ox Bow Lake and meet with local ecologists to learn more about the ecology of Peru.

For the students who love to travel, there are countless choices to explore foreign cultures. The London and Costa Rica trips have been very successful and popular in previous years, hence they are happening again during this fifth year of minimester. Along with that comes the new trips that creative teachers come up with. It is always fun to try something new, and if they are successful they could be repeated again in the upcoming years. Going on a trip to a foreign country during the minimester week is a great way to learn about different cultures, ethnicities, cuisines, histories, and artistic and literary traditions.