Sturgis Travels

2019 was another banner year for international Sturgis student travel!  Our annual World Challenge trip is underway as we speak exploring Iceland and in the past school year our students have visited Italy, Costa Rica, the United Kingdom, and Spain on service, educational travel, and even surf trips!  Read on for more info and pictures!

An Italian Exchange: Sturgis welcomes 18 students from Trento, Italy

At the end of September, Sturgis students and families hosted 18 students, along with two teachers and their principal, from the Sophie M. Scholl Liceo Linguistico Trento — a five year high school with close to 800 students who study many languages — in Trent, Italy. This was the first part of the exchange program that Mme. O’Keefe, Mr. Bihl and Mr.Churchill arranged. During February break, Sturgis hosts will be returning the visit where they will be hosted by their Italian friends and their families for a week.

“Being the host for an Italian exchange student has broadened my perception of how I see the world,” said Carly Burns. She added “As Alessia was learning about our culture she was also teaching me about Italy. The different ways our school works and how different our homes are was very intriguing. Living with a person from a different country was an eye opening experience. I began to think about all the different cultures and people on earth and how everyone’s lives are so different. I have a new found respect for the tasks I previously thought were mundane. I will be traveling to Italy in February and I can’t wait to experience an entirely new and different culture.”

Ryli Thrasher and her exchange student in NYC

Sturgis families spent a lot of time with their guests, taking them to interesting nearby places. “Having an exchange student was a lot fun,” said Julia Keeling, “we got to take her apple picking, whale watching and we showed her the ocean for the first time. It was an amazing experience!” The Italians had an opportunity to experience some of the typical activities to do on and off Cape Cod. They visited Provincetown and went on a whale watching cruise, visiting a range of towns, went to Plimoth Plantation and visited the Old Burial Ground, took in some of the historical sites in Boston, including Harvard Square and the North End. A few students went to a Red Sox game and some even made it to New York City!

Ryli Thrasher said: “I loved having my Italian student, Aurora, here.  It was very interesting to be able to learn how different America is compared to another country through somebody else. She had the opportunity of showing her Italian friend more than just Massachusetts, “on her last weekend we went to New York.  She got to experience the different cultures of the city, and see how different the city is compared to Cape Cod. We went to the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial, and we went shopping in Times Square. I cannot wait to go to Italy and see her again, and to experience how her culture is.” said Thrasher.

Students from Italy explore Cape Cod

Everyone involved in this experience was thrilled with the outcome of the exchange program. “The Italian students and their chaperones were overwhelmed by the warm welcome they received upon their arrival at the airport and throughout their stay. The hospitality and availability shown by our Sturgis families made their stay and their American experience unforgettable”, says Mme. O’Keefe, “In essence, creating bridges across the oceans”.

The experience was very successful, and it will surely be an unforgettable experience for our sixteen students traveling to Trento during February break. They will stay with families in and around the area and are planning on visiting Verona, Venice, and the Dolomites.


Exchanged! Sturgis Students Take on Italy

reprinted from Sturgis Stormwatch. By Caitlin Nitschke, Sophomore Class Reporter


From the 14th to the 22nd of February, Sturgis students went on a trip to the beautiful city of Trento in northern Italy. They were able to explore a different lifestyle and culture by staying with host families for the week. Students visited the Buonconsiglio Castle in Trento and later traveled to the cities of Verona and Venice. In addition, they shadowed at the school of the students they were staying with. Lyle Edwards, a sophomore at Sturgis East, says, “I remember playing telephone with a few of our classmates and Italian students. It was hilarious because of the slight language barrier, and it was a lot of fun.” The trip allowed students to immerse themselves in Italian culture after the Italian students visited Cape Cod earlier this year.

I recently interviewed Hunter Crossman, a sophomore who went on the trip, about his experience. “The trip was fast-paced from day one,” Crossman explained. “The places we have seen are amazing and beautiful, from Venice, to Verona, to the amazing city of Trento with its mountains, the bustling city, and the calm that you don’t always find in the U.S. The sense of community is very prevalent. Members of the community frequently interact with one another which honestly surprised me. The food is delicious as well. I have had rabbit, pasta, pastries, and a lot of gelato. The architecture is just astounding. I also got to connect with and form new friendships with fellow students, the chaperones, and my host family. This past week has been one of the best of my life, and I plan on returning to Italy someday.”

Tell me about your day-to-day experiences.
“Each day brought something new. The only real constants of the trip were waking up at 6:30 and eating lunch around 1 and dinner around 8. There was also a lot of walking and reliance on public transportation everyday instead of cars.”

What was your favorite part of the trip?
“My favorite part of the trip was my time in Venice. It was so beautiful and fun. I took a Gondola ride which made it even more special. We then went to two other islands which were also really pretty.”

How was your experience as a student shadowing at an Italian school?
“The Italian school was much more different than I thought it would be. I shadowed in a year 5 (senior) Spanish class. The students there could speak many different languages. Not only did they have language classes such as Spanish, but their history lessons were also entirely in Spanish. This really amazed me.”

How was your experience with your host family?
“My host family was great. They were so nice and such wonderful hosts. They cooked amazing food and were constantly trying to make sure that my roommate, Lyle Edwards, and I were happy and comfortable.”

Many thanks to Mr. Bihl, Mr. Churchill, and Madame O’Keefe for coordinating this exchange.

Costa Rica – Squads Abroad Trip 2019

East senior, Ellen Adams began organizing this trip last spring. It was her dream for the Key Club to participate in a service trip. The Key Club raised $1500.00 to donate to the cause which was matched by Global Brigades to help pay for our enrichment projects at the Buho Okhy Elementary School and Burbujitas de Amor Day Care. Projects at the elementary school included assisting a local plumber to install 2 sinks, paint an educational mural, a bookcase, fence and playground equipment. Projects at the daycare included using pickaxes to take out existing asphalt, leveling and creating a new floor to create another classroom, and painting several educational murals. Twenty- eight students from Sturgis East and West worked hard, made new friends with the local children by playing games with them, enjoyed cultural activities; native dance, clay, mask- making and cooking classes. They were even able to fit in zip-lining, surf lessons and a trip to the hot springs. It was a life changing experience for all. Chaperones included Helen Raftery, Rachel Todoroff, Heidi Wilson and Ann Forget.

Surf Club – Costa Rica

The Sturgis East Surf Club spent February vacation in Tamarindo, Costa Rica at Witch’s Rock Surf Camp. Faculty advisers Marsha Yalden and Jim Albrecht felt that it was one of the best international trips they have ever chaperoned as the five girls on the trip were model students and travellers who arrived home with so many wonderful memories of learning to surf and visiting Costa Rica.

East & West trip to London, Paris, and Madrid

Between East & West over sixty Sturgis students were in Europe at the same time!  They flew overnight to London where they took a guided tour and explored: Big Ben and Houses of Parliament, Piccadilly Circus, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and Windsor.  After two days in London they took the Eurostar train to Paris to visit the Louvre and explore the city of light and love, Paris.  While there they saw the Eiffel tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysees, and unexpectedly witnessed the historic fire at Notre Dame Cathedral.  Read this article from the Sandwich Enterprise to learn more.  After leaving Paris they flew to Madrid and explored the Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol, and Toledo.  Students and chaperones alike reported that it was a worthwhile, educational, and overall incredible experience.

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