By Yadira Lopez ’21
On Apr. 12, seven Pritzker students along with Katie Curtin, Journalism teacher and Thailand trip Group Leader, traveled to Thailand to explore a new place and get out of their comfort zone.
For the trip, Curtin and EF, Education First, played a big role. First, Curtin had to decide the trip’s destination and announce it to Pritzker through the announcements in October of 2017. Curtin also had to organize informational meetings for students and parents about payments and transportation, sign up students for the trip, and announce continuous meetings for the students that signed up. Curtin and College Counselor Jane Knoche initially planned the trip together, but when a smaller number of students signed up for the trip compared to the China trip, Knoche and Curtin decided together that just Curtin would chaperone. From there, students organize fundraisers and conducted research about Thailand. Education First coordinated the trip, meaning that they planned all of the activities, meals, and plane rides.
The Pritzker students were joined by 17 students, one family member, and three teachers from Rauner College Prep. During the trip, some of the activities that were planned out included visits to eight temples and to an Elephant nature park along with a meeting with monks. Additionally, the group visited Ayutthaya, Ratchaburi, Kanchanaburi, and Phitsanulok.
Curtin stated her reasoning behind choosing Thailand, “I wanted to take students to places where they are unlikely to get to easily at other points in their life […] I also wanted them to get really far out of their comfort zones.” Senior Diana Gomez decided to attend the trip “because at the time the trip was announced, [she] had never left the country […and she] thought Thailand was very interesting and not somewhere a lot of people can say they have gone to.” Gomez also mentioned that “being with a good group of students was very fun, and [she] even met new people even within Pritzker that [she] never talked to before.” Sophomore Abigail Salgado explained that this trip offered her an opportunity to get out of the country for the first time.
When asked if they would recommend students to attend other trips like these, all three said yes. Gomez said, “I would recommend it so people try new things and make new friends.” Curtin stated, “I think the trips are an amazing opportunity to […] explore a new place and to open [their] eyes to a different way of life.” She added on how trips like these might make students more interested and comfortable with traveling abroad. Salgado mentioned, “You get to go to a place where you never thought you would be able to go to, and plus you get to go with friends, if they can, or you get to make new friends while being there.”
The next trip is planned to occur in 2021 with no clear destination released. In addition, another teacher might be organizing the trip. On this topic, Curtin stated, “I think it is really important for these trips that the teacher coordinating it is invested in the destination.” She hopes that other teachers will be interested in taking her spot in the planning. One final comment that Curtin made was how “Pritzker students made [her] very proud at all times while [they] were traveling.”