For the third straight year, academic advisor Tracy Wagner spent her Thanksgiving holiday by leading a group of Marquette Catholic University High School students through the many sights of Barcelona, Spain.
This year, the cohort was made up of nine first-year students: Lukas Balling, Paige Burroughs, Sydney Burroughs, Sydney Carr, Emily Farkas, Molly Mason, Emily Silvas, Augustus Smith, and Elizabeth Wadle.
The weeklong immersion was a chance for perspectives to be broadened and for comfort zones to be abandoned.
"For many students, this trip is their first time outside the United States. Our partnership with Hamelin Laie has made for some incredible experiences," Wagner said.
Hamelin Laie International School, Marquette's sister school near Barcelona, educates children from infancy through the secondary level.
The Marquette students hit the ground running, touring Placa de Gracia, La Pedrera - Casa Mila, La Rambla, St. Joseph Market - La Boqueria, Catedral de Barcelona, and Plaza Real - Barcelona in the first day alone. Temperatures in the upper 60s made for ideal walking conditions.
Over the remainder of the week, the Blazers visited Sagrada Familia, Arc de Triomf, Plaza Jaume, Colon Monument, Picasso Museum, Born Market Cultural Center, and Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar in addition to shadowing peers at Hamelin Laie. They frequently traveled by train or bus and soaked up the local cuisine - typically at a later hour than which they're accustomed to.
After a full seven days, the group returned to American soil with a crash course on European culture, an appreciation for how other societies eat, talk, and learn, and a shiny new passport stamp.
The jet lag was worth it.