Every two years, St. Margaret’s students in Grades 8 to 12 embark on a European adventure, where history, art, language and culture come alive. The 2019 SMS group toured through France and Italy, from March 16 to 31.

The journey began in the picturesque French Riviera, then across the border to Italy, through the heart of Tuscany, and on to Venice and Rome with many stops along the way.

For many of the girls, getting photographs of historical landmarks such as Notre Dame was the highlight, while for others, it was the French pastries!

“My favourite part of the trip was going to Capri because I liked taking a boat tour around the island. I also liked taking a gondola ride in the canals in Venice and being able to walk up the Eiffel Tower! My favourite memory was making sure we always ate a crepe every day in France and gelato every day in Italy,” said Grade 9 student Jamie Harker.

After spending two weeks abroad, new friendships were formed, and lasting memories were made.

Thank you to Grade 9 student Paige Hudak-Kesteven who took the time to recount the amazing European experience:

This past Spring Break I was given the amazing opportunity to visit France and Italy with SMS. I have to admit, I was quite nervous for it as was my very first time visiting another continent and I was definitely dreading the jet lag.

We arrived in Paris and on my first day we visited Notre Dame Cathedral. The reason I want to bring up Notre Dame is because of the devastating fire that recently occurred. When I look through my phone, I have photos of some of the original parts that are now ash and I am overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude to have been able to see the one-of-a-kind stained glass and spires. On a lighter note, I loved being able to utilize my French from school and I’m going to be honest with you, I ate WAY too many pastries (but is there really such a thing as too much French food?).

A very special place we visited was a small town in the French countryside, Chartres. To this day, Beauty and the Beast is my favourite Disney movie and Chartres’s cobblestone streets and architecture truly made it feel like I had stepped into that story.

Our second week was spent exploring multiple cities in Italy including Venice, Florence, Siena, Rome, Sorrento and Capri. Venice is so unique with all its canals and winding pathways that it makes you want to get lost. On a gondola ride it was amazing to see how Venetian people truly live; featuring a ‘garbage gondola’ instead of a garbage truck.

Finally, other memorable places on the trip were Sorrento and Capri. Sorrento probably has the smallest roads I have seen so far and after taking a boat ride to Capri, we tasted some delicious Capri sandwiches and fantasia di capri gelato!

My overall message is that if someone gives you the opportunity to travel or try something new, take it because you won’t regret it and you never know if you will ever get that chance again. I loved taking a leap outside my comfort zone and would do it all over again!