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The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

International adventure

Eikmeier experiences training tour in Spain
Ginger Eikmeier poses in front of the landscape of Toledo, Spain. Her tour group spent an afternoon in Toledo while on their trip. (Courtesy Photo)

Traveling takes up a space on many people’s bucket lists, but for English teacher Ginger Eikmeier, traveling by herself is not her only goal. She wants to be able to help her students travel as well, which is why she has planned an international trip with students to Greece and Italy this summer—and this trip opened the door to another opportunity to travel herself. 

“I guess I just wanted to be able to provide opportunities for other people to be able to do it, knowing that it still takes sacrifice. It’s time. It’s money,” Eikmeier said. “But if I could provide that opportunity for other people to be able to travel too, then I thought it would be worth it.”

Because this will be her first time leading an international trip, Eikmeier had the chance to travel to Spain for five days in November for free on an EF Tours training tour. The goal of the trip to Spain was to give Eikmeier a feel for what taking her students on an international trip would be like.

“I got a lot of tips from experienced group leaders. I got to see just how their tours work in terms of the guides, the tipping, how the meals work,” Eikmeier said. “I would say I also just have more recent international travel to Europe to kind of know some of the procedures in the airport.”

Going through EF Tours allowed Eikmeier to experience time in a different country and culture without a ton of planning, as the trip included a mix of learning and exploring, all planned by EF Tours.

“It really was training sessions, touring historical sites, walking in groups, going through museums, those sorts of things,” Eikmeier said. “And then there were some unstructured free times to shop and explore.”

Throughout the trip, Eikmeier had the opportunity to see amazing landmarks and beautiful sights in both Madrid and Toledo. 

Pictured is the skylight window in the Toledo Cathedral. Eikmeier remembers the cathedral as one of the most beautiful things she experienced on the trip. (Courtesy Photo)

“The most incredible site that I would not have expected was the Cathedral of Toledo. It was built in the 1200s. It’s just massive and so beautiful,” Eikmeier said. “The intricacies of all of the stuff inside was amazing too. Their altar is all this gold-plated stuff. They had another back altar. They had like 10 pipe organs and this really cool window. It was like a skylight that they built sculptures and paintings around. It was just so amazing.”

Eikmeier was not alone or with a random group of people on the trip, though. Her travel group included around 40 other teachers like herself who will also be taking their students on trips through EF Tours in the near future. 

“I would say my other favorite thing was all the other people that traveled were teachers from different places, and it was actually really cool. I was kind of nervous about that beforehand, not knowing anybody else that was going to be there,” Eikmeier said. “We all just had very similar things that we could kind of share in common. So that was really neat getting to network with all of those other teachers.”

Although most of the trip went smoothly, Eikmeier did have a few experiences that she learned from and plans to prepare her own students for. One of these experiences included witnessing a peaceful political demonstration that blocked off a major street in Madrid.

“I navigated us around it and got us back to where we needed to be. So that made me feel really good about my abilities to do that with a whole group of students too,” Eikmeier said. “So you just have to be ready for anything to happen basically. And that’s travel in general. You just never never know what’s going to pop up in the mix of things.” 

Because the entire trip was only five days long, Eikmeier also wished that they would’ve had more time to shop and experience the culture.

The group tour guide, Mario, talks animatedly about an aspect of the culture of Spain in the Puerta del Sol. The Puerta del Sol is a public square in Madrid, Spain, and a common group meeting place. (Courtesy Photo)

“[The trip] was very fast… it would have been so nice to be able to spend more time there and shop more,” Eikmeier said. “They have a lot of really nice stuff that they make, but they don’t don’t overcharge you for it, which I was really surprised about because in most touristy places you have to overpay for everything.”

From the culture she did get to experience, Eikmeier noticed a difference in pace between the United States and Spain.

“The pace is slower overseas. I feel like the cities feel busy, but the pace is definitely slower,” Eikmeier said. “I feel like they maybe take more time to enjoy life than we do sometimes.”

Overall, the trip to Spain really increased Eikmeier’s excitement for the international trip to Greece and Italy.

“I’m actually just really excited to share the travel with other people. I mean, I wish I could take everybody in the junior and senior class along because it was just so refreshing,” Eikmeier said. “It filled my bucket in so many ways, getting to do that, that I just want to share that with as many people as possible.”

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About the Contributor
Bella Tederman
Bella Tederman, Senior writer
Bella Tederman is a senior in her fourth year of journalism.  She enjoys writing stories and taking pictures. Outside journalism, Bella is involved in volleyball, CrossFit, powerlifting, track, speech, FBLA, FCA and NHS.
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