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2011-2012 Global Exploration

Wilbraham & Monson Academy is pleased to announce the proposed educational trips for the 2011-2012 school year. Each trip is designed to add value to existing curriculum and to give our students a deeper understanding of the places, peoples, arts, and languages they study at the Academy.

Before each trip, students are given selected readings that will prepare them for the sites they will visit and give them appropriate cultural, historic, and political information about the country. During the trip, students are required to keep journals and record their observations. Within two weeks of returning from the trip, students are also required to share their experience through written reflections.

How do I Sign Up?
  • Print out and sign the Intent to Participate Form.
  • Scan and send/fax to Wally Swanson at wswanson@WMA.us (fax # 413-596-2448).
  • Trip leaders will be in touch with you regarding next steps.  Send any questions or concerns to the trip leaders listed.


When: Spring Vacation 2012
Trip Leader: Mark Fischer, Caroline Smith
Sign-up Deadline: November 15, 2011 -
 Intent to Participate Form
Cost: $3,800

This trip is open to a maximum of 10 students in grades 9-12 with priority given to juniors and seniors.

WMA students will enter the country of India and spend spring vacation learning about the economic shifts within the world's largest democracy and the diversity of religions that coexist in the subcontinent. The group will start in New Delhi and work their way North through Amritsar and other regions before reaching Dharamsala, home to the Dalai Lama and the largest Tibetan community in the world. During the trip, students will visit a number of community-based organizations working for economic and social change in India. Students will explore Hinduism, Sikhism, and Tibetan Buddhism in depth. Upon successful completion of academic work, students will be awarded a trimester credit for a World Religions class through the CEGS Department. Highlights include visits to ancient Hindu temples and the Taj Mahal, travel by train through Northern India, and hikes in the foothills of the Himalayas. Open to all students.

 Click here for video of previous trip.



When: March 2012
Trip Leaders: TBD
Sign-up Deadline: November 15, 2011 -  Intent to Participate Form
Cost: $

Preference will be given to students who have not traveled outside the United States.

 Through the generosity of friend of the school Lev Hubbard, four students and one faculty member will be sponsored to travel to England in the spring of 2012. Students will be chosen based on academic merit and citizenship, as well as the submission of an essay explaining why they would like to travel to England. Students will be housed at Plymouth College, a boarding school in Southern England where they will be fully immersed in British boarding school life. Additionally, the group will spend time visiting historical sites both in the South of England as well as in London.



When: June 2012
Trip Leaders: Michael Dziura and Professor Tom Gardner, Westfield State University
Sign-up Deadline: November 15, 2011 - Intent to Participate Form
Cost: $4,585 (plus registration for course credit through DGCE at Westfield State). Non-credit participants are also welcome.

This trip is open only to juniors and seniors.

WMA is offering this academic experience jointly through the Communications Department of Westfield State University. College credit will be available if all the academic components of the trip are met. There are two academic tracks within this course: The first track will examine a particular aspect of the US-Vietnam War and compare Vietnamese accounts with coverage of the same aspects by US mainstream media. The second track will examine contemporary Vietnamese mass media and the impact of media on attitudes and beliefs among Vietnamese youth.


  • Tour Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City
  • Visit the villages of the Duong Lam countryside
  • Cruise Halong Bay and overnight on a Bai Tho junk boat
  • Tour Cu Chi Tunnel
  • Stay for 2 days in Angkor Wat in Cambodia
  • Interact with English speaking Vietnamese college students in Hanoi, Hue, and Ho Chi Minh City



When: March 2012
Trip Leaders: Jessica Feldheim & Caroline Burke
Sign-up Deadline: November 15, 2011 - Intent to Participate Form
Cost: $3,500

Focus: Art and design in Italy

This trip is open to all students.

This intense course will survey some of the most remarkable contributions to western art and design from Italian culture ranging from the ancient Romans to modern designers. In particular, students will have the opportunity to look at the connection between form and function in architecture, sculpture, fashion, and contemporary design. They will also have an opportunity to see some of the masterpieces of Renaissance art in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Students will be expected to sketch, photograph, and take notes daily to prepare for final art projects due upon return to school. Trimester art credit will be given upon successful completion of the assigned work.

 Proposed Itinerary:

  • Three days in Milan: Teatro alla Scala Laboratories, Milan Cathedral, Ferrari Museum & Fashion School
  • Two days in Florence: Uffizi Gallery, Academia Gallery, Florence Cathedral
  • Four days in Rome: Vatican City, Colosseum, & Roman Forum, with an overnight to Pompeii



When: June 2012
Trip Leaders: TBD
Sign-up Deadline: October 25, 2011 - Intent to Participate Form
Cost: $3,800

Through the Global Education Benchmark Group (a consortium of independent schools from around the country of which WMA is a member) a wonderful opportunity exists for a small number of students to travel to Israel.

We chose Israel for numerous reasons. As educators, we know that our students need to be intimately aware of Israel’s rich history, culture, and contributions to the world. It is imperative that students have a deeper understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. During this program, students will meet both Israeli and Palestinian students to listen to their differing viewpoints. Having students meet with academics, artists, and leaders is an important component that will help give students a profound understanding of Israeli and Palestinian life.

One of the most exciting aspects of this trip will be the partnership with Ramot Hefer School. The 20 students on this trip will be staying with Ramot Hefer families for two nights, providing an excellent cultural immersion experience.

This program will involve weekly video-conferencing with all participating schools. The video-conferences will include prominent guest lecturers speaking on a wide variety of topics relating to Israel. The United Jewish Federations of Cleveland and Tidewater are actively involved in ensuring top speakers for our students. Since each participating school is only able to send a small number of students, space is limited.

Presently our pre-trip guest speakers tentatively include Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor, former Senator and Governor of Virginia George Allen, US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, Israeli Ambassador to U.S Michael Oren. We also have planned a meet and greet at the Knesset in Jerusalem with Israeli President Shimon Peres.



When: July 20 to August 6
, 2012
Trip Leaders: Brian Easler and one TBD
Sign-up Deadline: November 15. 2011 - Intent to Participate Form
Cost: $6,000

Open only to students in grades 11 and 12 (including rising juniors)

Video of previous trips

Similar to those of previous years, this trip is best described as roughing it easy. Days will be spent getting dirty and exploring the vast offerings of the Amazonian frontier, and nights will be spent with food and accommodations surprisingly luxurious so far from asphalt. One thing is for certain, it will not be easily, if ever, forgotten; it is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

This part of the world is changing so rapidly in structure and climate, resulting from deforestation and anthropological migration, that the chance to see it is invaluable, as it will not exist in a decade or two. The group will travel to and throughout the Mato Grosso and Xingu River region in the southern Amazon basin area of Brazil. Activities include cultural exchanges with indigenous people and settlers (including an overnight in the Kamaiura village), rain forest environmental research with Ivy League researchers, sustainable cattle ranching, and recreational treats such as world-class Amazonian fishing, jungle exploration, wildlife observation, and amazing authentic Brazilian cuisine.

This is an expensive trip because of the exotic nature of the locations and activities. Chartered planes are expensive, but they provide the only way to get to the Indian villages. One thing to remember is that students will need relatively little spending money for this trip, about $300, because they will have limited opportunities to spend it.

Mr. Easler has traveled to this region once with his wife and three times with students, most recently with nine WMA students in the summer of 2009. The travelers will be guided by Mr. Easler's friend, John Cain Carter, who served in the Army with Mr. Easler and who has lived on his ranch in the Xingu River basin with his Brazilian wife Kika and their two daughters for over ten years. John has become actively involved with many indigenous tribes and with government and environmental initiatives that have led him to establish an internationally recognized non-government organization dedicated to preservation of the Amazon. John is not only fluent in the local language, Portuguese, but also in the social and political nuances of the entire region.

Student Travel 






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