In anticipation of next week's release of the 2019 Global Learning Trip descriptions, below are perspectives from two Fieldston Upper students who traveled to Germany and Japan this spring.
This spring break, ten students accompanied by Dr. Banks and Mr. Kleinman went on the Nazi Germany and Holocaust trip to Germany and Poland. It was important to me to see first hand the places that made history during WWII, such as the Berlin Wall, Germany's Holocaust Memorial, Nazi Party Rally Grounds, the Nuremberg War Trials Museum, Auschwitz and Dachau. I've studied the Holocaust, but being there made this history real to me.
The most important experience for all of us was visiting Auschwitz and Dachau, concentration camps. Seeing gas chambers and cremation sites where so many innocent people were killed was heartbreaking.
Anti Semitism is on the rise in Europe, and there are few Holocaust survivors to help us remember the horror of the Nazi's war against the Jews. Future generations must be educated about the past, and understand the dangers of remaining silent in the face of injustice.
Back in Osaka, we met up with our Japanese pen-pals who toured with us to Osaka Castle, a beautiful giant white edifice decorated with gold. It was comical how nonchalant the Japanese students acted in the castle while we were in complete awe. I couldn't believe that this was just their daily view from their school. Although we were different in many ways, It was interesting to see how much we had in common; the first thing my pen pal and I talked about was how spring break was half over and how we both dreaded going back to school after vacation. I guess some feelings are just universal. Finally, I want to talk about what was really my favorite part of the trip, the free time we were entrusted with to explore Japan independently with friends. It was so fun, for example, to wander into a small wooden ramen shop and repeat the word, "Arigato," combined with a lot of confusing hand gestures of communication back and forth, until we were served food. I think that was the best meal I've ever had. At night we ventured into huge Japanese arcades, onto luminous ferris wheels resting on the top of buildings, and even explored a pingpong club. The freedom I shared with my friends turned an already great trip into the best trip of my life.