On March 25, the Spanish classes were planning to go on their Spain trip, but it was canceled due to Covid-19. In replacement, Spanish teacher Roberta Kuonen decided to take her students on a virtual tour of Spain through a Google presentation.
“I felt badly that students didn't get the chance to go to Spain and I wanted to give them some sort of travel experience. I thought if I provided something for the kids to focus on, it would get them excited about the trip when we do take it, and it might help them deal with the disappointment of not traveling this year,” Kuonen said.
She starts off the presentation with Day 1- travel day. She talks about the time they would have boarded the flight, the long layover and their eight hour flight from Newark, New Jersey to Barcelona. She then provided links and information for students who have never been to an airport before.
“The people that I have talked to said they liked it. I think there were some things in the virtual trip that they didn't expect and they will be looking forward to seeing in real life,” Kuonen said.
The rest of the presentation followed the same kind of format. On day two, students were supposed to meet their tour guide at the airport and they were going to go on a walking tour. Kuonen then explained that in Barcelona, residents speak Catalán, but also Spanish.
Throughout the presentation she introduces the buildings, markets, and cafes students would have visited followed by detailed explanations, pictures and links, and then ends the day with her daily journal entry.
“I really love showing kids things that are so different from what they are used to. I have things on these trips that I personally love, but what I like most on these trips is seeing the things that my students see that they fall in love,” Kuonen said.
Students that were planning to attend were disappointed in the cancelation of their trip, but the trip is to be rescheduled in the 2021 school year and will include this year's seniors. The students received a voucher from the tour company that can be applied next year so students do not have to pay for everything again.
“I love to see the looks on their faces when they are just amazed by the things we do and see. That is the driving force behind me planning these trips and the reason why I am committed to keep traveling after this quarantine is over. I have had students find their passion and pattern their lives after something they first saw when they traveled with us. It is really wonderful to think you played a part in guiding someone toward their future career,” Kuonen said.