Ciao! ACAD Travels to Italy

Adelaide Ellis, Section Editor

On March 1, 2023 15 students and 3 faculty members pulled out of Athens Academy Spartan Center to start their 24 hour travel day to Correggio Italy. The group left early in the afternoon on the 1st and arrived early afternoon on the 2nd. The stiff airplane seats did not stay comfortable for the whole 8.5 hour flight, but as soon as they landed the excitement was so contagious that all anyone could think about was the week ahead. 


The days were filled with touring cathedrals, admiring countless numbers of artwork, and walking around cities older than the creation of the United States. 


“The trip included every aspect I was looking for like the sightseeing, culture, food, and certainly the shopping,” said Connor Schoenfeld, a student on the Italy trip. 


Meanwhile, the stomachs were filled with sweet, smooth gelato that melted on your tongue, giant slices of pizza topped with delicate toppings, and hot, bitter espresso that made you pucker as you drank it.


“I was shocked when they served me the pizza. It was very cheesy and the bread was soft and salty,“ says Oswaldo Jara-Rivera, a student on the trip. 


Each American student was paired with an Italian one and stayed in their Italian home. They ate their food, lived on their schedule, and soaked in Italian culture. 


“Her family was amazing and so welcoming. It really felt like a second home to me, “ Rachel Wicker said, a student on the trip. 


The two big trips that the group took on their travels were to Venice and Florence. Florence was filled with endless shopping with long, narrow streets lined with quaint bakeries and bookshops and endless gelato shops along with designer brands and a ginormous duomo, 463 stairs up to the top. 


“We climbed to the top of the Dome and saw the entire city of Florence from right at sunset, “ said Marie Rutledge, a student on the trip. 


Venice, as described, was a city on water. The small canals, the streets of Venice, held shimmering blue water and slender, very decorated, taxi boats. The coast was bustling with street vendors selling their artwork and couples trying to get the perfect picture against the blue backdrop.


“We were all standing in the center of the main plaza of Venice. We had all just gotten some delicious pastries and we got attacked by vicious seagulls who stole our food and cut Rachel’s lip,” Veronika, a student on the trip, says as she recalls a funny memory. 


An exchange program, even just for 10 days, is such a special experience because you meet new people and make lifelong friendships. 


“It was truly an unforgettable trip,” said Rutledge.