Reflecting on 20 Years of GS

Gina Wither reflects on her years leading Global Studies trips. 

It is always an exciting time to learn where we’ll travel for our GS trips. It reminds me of watching Wheel of Fortune with my grandmother; Vanna White would unveil the grand prize trip to Miami, Florida and the audience would go nuts. As a young teacher in 2000, I was awed by the opportunity to experience Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana with Brick Root. Never did I foresee that 22 years later I would still be leading trips! In the years between, I’ve accompanied students to China, Peru, India, Costa Rica, Vietnam, Cambodia, Morocco, Greenland, Mongolia, and last year, the American Southwest.
I am thrilled to be visiting Spain this year with the seniors, but I wanted to mention my reaction to hearing the juniors would travel to Costa Rica. After seeing the list of countries I’ve visited, one might assume my grittiest experience to have been in Mongolia, Cambodia or India. But in truth, doing sea turtle conservation in Costa Rica demanded the most determination of anything I’ve done. It was an amazing experience that tested our courage and left us feeling truly accomplished.
Our Global Studies program brings more than can be explained with catchy phrases and pretty pictures. The way we travel, so different than any family trip could be, teaches skills that serve our students for life. Students come back from these trips with greater confidence, wonder, fortitude, resilience and a greater sense of their place in our global society.