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Astor Collegiate visits Europe

Continuing a tradition that began last year, Astor Collegiate Academy hosted its second oversees trip for the school’s juniors and seniors during spring break. This time around, students from the school took a trip to several countries in Europe.

The school, located on the Christopher Columbus campus at 925 Astor Avenue, made an oversees trip last year to Costa Rica, where students obtained first-hand experience learning about rain forests and the eco system. This year, the school sent a dozen eager juniors and seniors to Switzerland, Italy, and Germany.

Along with their teachers and an assistant principal, the students learned about the history and culture of Europe by seeing visiting places like Venice, Italy, Verona, Italy and Munich, Germany. Along the way, students became acquainted with the customs, countryside, and food of three different, distinct cultures.

“We set a precedent with last year’s trip to Costa Rica, and we set a precedent with this year’s trip to Europe,” said Astor principal Rose LoBianco. “We are really excited that we were able to continue these trips where students take in the history and culture of other countries.”

The students were able to visit some of the great landmarks of the different regions, including a building in Verona with a balcony very similar to that portrayed in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the Black Forest in Germany including its mountains, and the architecture of Venice stretching all the way back to the Roman empire.

“I really enjoy taking the students and exposing them to new things, people, and cultures; I think this was a great opportunity to do that,” said Chemistry teacher Robert Harrits, who was one of the chaperons. “I think that one of the things the kids got out of it was how old and vastly different the cultures are in Europe. This includes the architecture, currencies, and food.”

For many of the students, it was the trip of a lifetime, the first time that they ever visited any place outside of the United States. The landscape impressed some of the students.

“In Switzerland, we could look out of our hotel windows and see mountains that had white snow on top,” said junior Isiah Darby. “They were right there. Our tour guide said that we could fill our water bottles with water from a spring in the mountains.”

Others were happy to sample the culinary delights of three different countries. Still others got an adrenaline rush from taking a cable car to the peak of a mountain that was 7,000 feet above sea level. All came away with greater understanding and appreciation of both one another, and of the world around them.

“I came back with a broader perspective of different cultures,” said Astor student Niholas Grandados. “I now appreciate more of what I have here after being over there.”

Reach reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 742-3393 or procchio@cnglocal.com.

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