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Local Representatives

Our Local Representatives bring ACIS to you, and provide local support at meetings to help generate administrative support and excitement with students and parents. As current and/or former teachers, they understand the opportunities and challenges you face as you put together your ACIS tour—stepping in where needed to help you make it a success.

Area Administrators

Art
ART BLOOM, New York: Westchester, Rockland, Bronx, and Manhattan
artbacisny@aol.com

Perpetual packer:

Art first went abroad in 1971 following college and hasn’t stopped since. From that first trip when he hitched rides and stayed in youth hostels, to his many experiences with AIFS (beginning in 1973) leading students on 37 day summer programs, to leading students on 9 day trips with ACIS, to now traveling with his wife, rarely has a school vacation passed for Art without any travel.

The science of travel:

Art often draws from his travels to pass along important information in his biology classes. Whether showing slides of biomes like the tundra in northern Norway, the tropical rain forest in Malaysia, the savanna of Kenya or the Sahara desert, all of his destinations have a strong impression on students.

Call of the penguins:

Art has visited over 50 countries (too many to name and many on more than one occasion!) on every continent around the globe except for Antarctica. 

Not one to play favorites:

Finding it impossible to pick just one favorite destination, Art is drawn to many spots for each of their unique qualities: Switzerland (for the mountains), France (for its diversity), Scotland (for the people), Tanzania (for the amazing wildlife), Israel (for its history), Russia (for the fascination), and Tahiti (for paradise!).

The Journey Continues:

For his next adventure, Art plans to travel nearly 8,000 miles to visit South Africa and Victoria Falls.

Travel Tip: Be as prepared as you can for any eventuality.

My travel experience allows me to speak knowingly with almost any teacher that I talk to about what trip they are planning. It’s easy to speak passionately about educational travel when I’ve been practicing it since 1973! I first became an AA with AIFS in 1977, and began with ACIS in 1987, and have been at it ever since. When you have a superior product to sell and one that you believe in, it is easy to be passionate about it.” - Art Bloom

 
Bernie and Judy
BERNIE AND JUDY LEIF, New York: Queens, in New York City, and Long Island
bernieandjudy@aol.com

The family tree:

Both born in Brooklyn, NY (in the shadow of Ebbets Field), Judy and Bernie grew up there, moved to and lived in Commack, NY (the ‘burbs) for 37 years, and moved back to Queens (in the shadow of the Throgs Neck Bridge) in 2004. They are the proud parents of Elissa and son-in-law David, who live in Maryland, and of Steven and daughter-in-law Pelin, who live in Brooklyn. When not helping their teachers plan tours, they also play the doting role of grandma and grandpa to Jessa and Gabe.

The science part of travel:

Before “retirement,” Bernie was an English teacher and Asst. Principal in the New York City Public Schools, and Judy was an early childhood teacher and library/media specialist in the New York City Public Schools, private nursery schools, and a private Catholic Academy. They both teach courses on “Methods of Education and Literacy” at St. John’s University and Bernie also works with student teachers from Queens College.

Six out of seven isn’t bad!

Judy and Bernie’s passion for travel has taken them to 46 states in the US, to other countries in North America, to South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. There is little doubt that they will someday get to Antarctica and complete their list of continents. 

All around the compass:

When asked about their favorite destinations, Judy and Bernie’s picks run the gamut from northern Norway to southern Australia, to the equator hovering Galapagos, and, of course, London.

Travel Tip: Keep your sense of humor and be ready to adapt to the culture of wherever you are—savor its uniqueness.

"As educators, we enjoy seeing the discoveries and connections that our teachers and students are able to make through their ACIS experiences. ACIS always views travel as a learning experience that provides a base for continued exploration and enrichment. For over thirty years, we have been delighted to work with teachers who are planning their trips and to hear the returning teachers and students talk about the impact that their ACIS trips have had on their lives." - Judy and Bernie Leif

 
David and Kay
DAVID AND KAY SMITH, Pennsylvania
dksmith10@verizon.net

Planting the seed:

When David and Kay were in elementary school, their textbook was Alice and Jerry Reader’s, If I Were Going. Those stories of traveling the world imparted at such a young age formed the foundation of their desire to travel later on. Kay eventually went on 22 various student trips with AIFS/ACIS with Dave’s students to most of Western Europe and Russia. Their lives have turned out to be an unbelievable journey for two people from a small town in Pennsylvania who thought traveling to Hershey Park was a big trip as high school students!

AIFS/ACIS family roots:

In addition to their role as Area Administrators and doing public relations in London for ACIS, Dave served, and Kay assisted, as the AIFS Campus Principal at St. Andrews University for three summers and Cambridge University for one summer of study programs. Dave also escorted U.S. educators to evaluate AIFS programs in London, Salamanca and Rome, and was the ACIS tour manager for the Peoples of the Pacific program to Australia and New Zealand. The ACIS tradition continues for the Smiths as their daughter, Nicole, is now leading her own high school students to Europe with ACIS! Dave and Kay are now grandma and grandpa to Nicole’s and husband David’s new daughter, Hannah Fisher. Their son David and his wife Aly live in Ohio.

European affinity:

Dave and Kay’s favorite places include London and the UK, Salzburg, Prague, Venice and the Greek Islands. 

Next adventures:

Always looking for new destinations to explore, David and Kay plan to travel to Scandinavia, Cinque Terre, Krakow, the Salzkammergut and to the South of France!

Travel Tip: Be tolerant as you travel, in a sometimes intolerant world, and keep on traveling - “It’s a small world after all.”

Our 1st trip in 1969, with 16 students, was a 6 week AIFS Salzburg Campus study program which also visited London, Paris, Brussels, Cologne, Heidelberg, Munich, East and West Berlin and Vienna. We were hooked on travel. The AIFS representative at that time was going to London for a year and asked us to fill in for him. He never returned to AIFS. We’ve been with AIFS/ACIS ever since.” - David and Kay Smith


Gwenn
GWENN LAVOIE, RI, MA, VT, NH and ME
gwelav@cox.net

Cultural Growth:

As a veteran teacher of foreign languages (Gwenn’s been teaching since 1969, spending two years at the college level and ten years teaching high school before going back to college level teaching, which she’s been doing since), Gwenn knows the benefits of immersing oneself in other cultures. She finds that this cultural immersion allows her and her students to learn a lot about themselves, deepens their appreciation for their own culture and fosters an understanding of how peoples of all nations fit neatly together like pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle. Gwenn works with many foreign language teachers as they organize ACIS groups, and she always finds that their enthusiasm for travel is equal to their passion for language learning.

Travel 101:

Gwenn knows a thing or two about planning travels abroad. Not only does she currently teach romance languages (Spanish and French) at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI, she also served, until recently, as their Study Abroad Director.

Building up her jet-lag immunity:

Gwenn has traveled overseas about 120 times and visited 35 different countries all over the globe – too many to try and list!   

Diverse destinations:

Finding it impossible to pick just one favorite destination, Gwenn is enthralled by spots ranging from France (especially Normandy and Dordogne), to Guatemala, to Hong Kong and Singapore, to Australia, Denmark, Scotland, and Ecuador.

From the beginning:

Gwenn began traveling on AIFS programs in 1971 when she was teaching high school honors French. It was such fun that she organized another group the next year. At the conclusion of that trip, AIFS contacted Gwenn and asked her to represent them in S.E. Mass. That was many years ago and Gwenn has loved every minute of working for such fine companies!

Travel Tip: Careful pre-trip planning minimizes stress and greatly adds to the enjoyment of the time spent overseas!

My favorite responsibility as Area Administrator is going out to schools and doing meetings with teachers, students and parents. The excitement is always contagious! I tell them that international travel will change their lives in many positive ways, and I truly mean it. It certainly has put the sparkle in my life!” - Gwenn Lavoie


Liz
DIRECTOR AREA ADMINISTRATOR NETWORK
lrees@acis.com
1-800-888-ACIS x1144
Lifelong friends:

During college Liz went to live and work in Galway, Ireland. She fell in love with Ireland and its people. She worked in Roches stores, which was Ireland’s first department store. Liz loved working alongside women who traveled by bus from the countryside every day and hearing stories of their childhood in Ireland. The experience changed her and made her forever a traveler. She's still close with all her friends from Ireland and sees them as often as possible.

Funny in France:


On Liz's first visit to Paris, she got lost in Les Halles while looking for the Louvre. She decided to stop at a street vendor to get a nutella crepe before continuing on her search. After wandering some more, she decided to go into a nice watch store and ask for help. The sales clerks were giggling at her so she assumed it was for her lack of French and the fact that the Louvre is enormous and was only a few blocks away, but that wasn’t what they were giggling about. As Liz left the store, she caught her reflection in a mirror and saw that she had a streak of nutella across her cheek! She'll never forget that moment of realization and delight that they had good reason to chuckle.

Francophile at heart:

Paris epitomizes her idea of travel. Liz is enchanted by the grand boulevards, the architecture, the café culture, the art, the history, the shopping and of course, the food. Paris truly takes her breath away and as many times as she visits, she just wants to go back. 

Liz's travel tips:

1. Smile. The art of smiling, being open and kind has no borders. 

2. Get it! She rarely regrets the little things she buys overseas. "I always regret what I don’t buy and have a catalog in my mind of items I wish I purchased. So get it, you may never come back." -Liz Rees

Two interesting facts about Liz:

She's a fairly decent juggler. 

Liz's new year’s resolution this year is to dance more. She dances while she does dishes, while she mops the floor, while waiting for the train and definitely while driving her car! It’s the first new year’s resolution she's kept beyond February!

Academic Travel Advisors

Beth
BETH MARSHALL, ACADEMIC TRAVEL ADVISOR
bethmarshall4@gmail.com
How long have you been traveling with ACIS?

My first trip with ACIS was in 1987 when I went as a student with ACIS; it was my first time on a plane!! After a few days, I was hooked! I just recently led my 11th trip with ACIS and it was the best one yet!!

Tell us about your first travel abroad experience.

My first trip was when I was a junior in high school; I saved my babysitting money for four years to go, and it was amazing!!! We did the “Castles and Kings” tour of England, France, and Scotland.

Did you study a foreign language, art or culture in college? Did you study abroad?

During college, I spent a year in Paris studying “Le Cours de Civilisation Française” at the Sorbonne. Upon returning to the U.S. , I realized that it would be easy to add French education to my art education degree, and a few months later, I was teaching high school French!

Share with us a memorable travel story.

I have two:

When I got engaged, my fiancé (now my husband) told me that he would love to go along and see Scotland. Since money was tight, I suggested that we go on a student trip for our honeymoon. Now my husband tells people that he honeymooned with 30 Catholic school girls.;)

In 2005, my students, colleagues and I did “Renaissance Italy”. The day that we were headed to Rome, news was reporting that the pope was very ill and might die within days. We quickly got to the Vatican the afternoon before the pope passed away. We were able to be in the Vatican and go to Saint Peter’s the day after Pope John Paul’s death. The crowds of religious people was incredible and an event that I will never forget!

What's your favorite destination and why?

As cliché as it is, Paris will always be my favorite place because it was where I spent a year and it really feels like a second home now. I can sit for hours in L’Orangerie looking at Monet’s paintings or reflect on life in Sainte Chapelle.

Do you have any travel tips you'd like to share?

Zip lock bags are my friend – I use them for all my shampoos and liquids in my suitcase. During a trip they can be used for ice packs for tired ankles or a way to store that yummy baguette sandwich.

Also, I find that knowing “please” and “thank you” in any language followed by a smile helps in any country. It is amazing what kindness can do when traveling…and how it helps to break the “bad tourist” stereotype.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.

An interesting fact about myself is that I was president of my drama club in high school. Being able to keep an audience of teens amused helps not only in my classroom but also on my ACIS trips!:)
Brenda
BRENDA DASKAM, ACADEMIC TRAVEL ADVISOR
bdaskam@gmail.com
Happy home life:

A life-long Texan, Brenda lives in the historic town of Granbury, not far from the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. She and her husband enjoy the small town atmosphere of their community as well as the proximity to big city culture and convenience. They travel often, and enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren.

School life:


Brenda taught French and Spanish in public and private secondary schools for 20 years. Now retired, she enjoys keeping in touch with colleagues and keeping up with developments in the field of language learning. She also teaches Spanish in adult community classes through her church. 

The wanderlust:

Brenda’s first travel memories were made as a child on road trips with her family in Texas and later to western states. She enjoyed the road, the scenic landscapes, and the cities. She always visited parks and museums as well as historical attractions. These are the places she still loves to visit today, but in cities around the world.

Although she had been to many parts of the US and had traveled a bit in Mexico, Brenda had never traveled overseas until she went to France to finish graduate work in 1998. She was an older student, but wanted to take full advantage of every opportunity so she made arrangements to stay with a family while attending classes at the University of Caen. At the end of the course, her husband met her in Normandy and they spent three weeks traveling around France. It was during that home stay and tour of the Hexagon that she fell in love with France. Upon returning home, she called ACIS and started planning a student trip for the following summer, and she’s been taking groups to Europe with ACIS ever since. 

Working with ACIS:

When Brenda began to think about traveling with students, she asked fellow French teachers in the graduate program for recommendations. Several suggested ACIS, so she started there. Brenda had such a good experience on that first trip and every trip afterwards that she has never thought of changing to another company. Sometimes things go wrong, of course. As a group leader she has experienced a security threat in London and a missed flight in Paris, but ACIS always took care of everything, exceeding every expectation. Whether the trip was perfect, or perfectly handled, she can never say enough about the value of traveling with ACIS. In 2006 she became an educational advisor for ACIS and has enjoyed speaking to groups of prospective travelers as well as helping teachers organize trips with students and adults. It is always a pleasure to help teachers get started with such a great company. 

"Pack light! With little baggage, I’m always ready to take advantage of a spur-of-the-moment opportunity. Pre-trip planning is a great time saver, but never pass up serendipity!" -Brenda Daskam

Brett
BRETT STELL, ACADEMIC TRAVEL ADVISOR
brettstell@gmail.com

A team player inside and outside the classroom:

As a teacher in Greensboro, North Carolina, for 31 years, Brett taught 14 different social studies courses during his tenure. His favorite classes included European and World History. He was also active in sports as he coached football, basketball and baseball (and brought home two baseball state championships!).

20+ years of group travel expertise:

Brett began traveling with groups as an assistant on a 1990 tour to London, Paris and Rome. He was forever changed. His favorite destinations include Venice for its history and uniqueness, Lucerne for its scenery and London for its unbelievable cultural experience. In the future, he’d like to travel to Greece and China.

"Travel gives you a perspective on life that nothing else can provide. It brings to life all of those things that you have been exposed to during your years of education. It adds emotional reactions, sounds, and smells to the pictures you have seen in textbooks and places you have heard teachers talk about. A student who travels is never the same again. Travel truly changes lives!" -Brett Stell


Cheryl and Ron
CHERYL AND RON SOHNER, ACADEMIC TRAVEL ADVISORS
css6042@earthlink.net
Decades of travel:

The Sohners have been traveling with ACIS for 27 years. In 1977, Cheryl first traveled overseas with a friend from college who was also a first year language teacher. Together they took 5-6 female students abroad.

Mastering languages:


Cheryl has a Master's Degree in French from Middlebury College, a Bachelor's in Spanish, and by consequence, requisite art, history and culture classes to accompany each language.

Too bold to tell:

According to the Sohners, their most memorable travel story is not fit for the web site. Only told in close company to consenting adults! :)

Cheryl’s favorite destination:

The South of France because it’s the center of the perfume industry, which makes everything beautiful and smell so good!

Top chef:

Cheryl is a gourmet cook who likes to spend time reading cookbooks. She has an extensive collection that keeps growing. She’s also privileged to be a member of the Nestle Baking Advisory Council for which she and her fellow members provide feedback on current products and are guinea pigs for future endeavors.

Travel tip:
“Make sure every traveler has a list of the hotels/itinerary copied and in their pouch hanging around their necks! This list has been indispensable a few times!” – Cheryl Sohner



Christopher
Christopher Layson, ACADEMIC TRAVEL ADVISOR
ChrisLayson.ACIS@gmail.com

The beginning:

My first trip with ACIS was when I was 16 years old on a school trip to France. My parents pushed me to go and I am glad they did. I loved every minute of the adventure, the freedom, the food and lasting friendships. I even married a girl who was on that trip and now we have three boys! It was the most important experience of my formative years. After returning, I continued my studies in French and upon entering college I studied World History with a specialization in French History and culture.


There’s nothing like the real thing:

I would have to say that Egypt is my favorite destination. Most people would agree that the pyramids, Nile River, and The Sphinx are amongst the most recognizable features on Earth, yet it is a magical place whose scale and beauty cannot be accurately portrayed in pictures or film. I was in awe with every step. The people are amongst the most friendly I have ever encountered and I hope their land finds peace and stability soon.


The student becomes the teacher:

I work very hard to teach my travelers how to navigate the various subway systems before going abroad. Why? Because I am terribly colorblind and need their help once we get there!

Travel tip:

Purchase a large backpack that can carry the majority, if not all, of your gear. One missed connection or delay can separate you from your checked luggage for a good portion of your trip. It is better to be safe than sorry.

“One thing I have learned traveling with students is to watch their faces when they are approaching the major attractions. The amazement and joy when they see a wonder like Stonehenge or the Eiffel Tower is what keeps me traveling. There is truly nothing like it!”
- Christopher Layson
Joan
Joan Pace, ACADEMIC TRAVEL ADVISOR
Birth of a Passion for Teaching:

Joan's first travel abroad experience was when she studied in Nantes, France for a year. It was an amazing year, full of surprises and learning experiences. Her passion for teaching French and French culture was born in Nantes. Joan's first experience as a chaperone was in 1975 when she took a group of French students to Quebec, Canada. Her first trip with ACIS was in 1980 when she traveled to France as an assistant chaperone.

International Stars:


Several years ago, Joan chaperoned a France and Italy trip with a group of her high school French students, many of whom were also members of the high school choir. While they were visiting the Baptistry in Pisa, Italy, these musically talented students took advantage of the Baptistry's perfect acoustics and began to sing classical pieces they had learned in school. Their beautiful a capella voices attracted other tourists who applauded and asked for encores.

Sharing of Knowledge:

Joan studied French at Drake University and for a year in Nantes, France. With so much passion and knowledge of different languages, for 34 years, Joan taught French and Spanish in a daily summer immersion program called Foreign Language for the Young through Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Travel tip:

Traveling with students: "I believe that student preparation should include monthly meetings with student research and oral presentations." - Joan Pace

Traveling in general: "Before leaving the US, I recommend purchasing some currency for the foreign country you will visit so that you do not have to make a trip to an ATM as soon as you arrive." - Joan Pace


Joy
Joy Tully, ACADEMIC TRAVEL ADVISOR
jtul2@aol.com
First time abroad:

Joy's first time abroad was when she won a sales contest at work and received two free tickets to London. She and her husband decided to buy an additional ticket for their son and spent 10 busy, fun-filled days discovering the city.

She has traveled with ACIS for the past twelve years.

Memorable experience:


The first time Joy took two buses of students to Europe; all 82 participants arrived with NO LUGGAGE. Joy realized how quickly you can load your buses in the morning when you have no luggage!

Not one to play favorites:

Finding it impossible to pick a favorite destination, every year Joy tries to choose a different itinerary for her students so that the group can experience something new and see things for the first time.

Fun fact:

Joy has a special place in her heart for rescue dogs. One day she hopes to have a kennel. She loves to help friends and relatives find the perfect dog for their home.

Travel tips:
"When traveling with students - collect the passports and keep them in the safe at the hotel. Have them make a laminated copy to keep with them - just in case... This way you are not searching for a passport in the bottom of 10 days of laundry when you need to make an early morning flight." - Joy Tully


Joy
Joy Maness, ACADEMIC TRAVEL ADVISOR
jmaness@saa-sds.org or jmaness2@aol.com
First experience abroad:

Joy was a junior in college and went on a study abroad trip with the University of Oklahoma in France. For Joy it was truly love at first sight after all those years of preparation and anticipation.

Passionate about the French language:


Joy took French in high school and college. She studied abroad in her junior year of college with her base being in Grenoble, France. Then, after she graduated from college with her BA in French, she received a Fulbright scholarship and was an Assistant d' anglais in a French lycee in Nantes. During graduate school while working on her masters in French, she also studied Italian, Spanish, Greek and German.

Memorable travel story:

Lately, Joy has noticed that one of the themes of her travel stories has to do with how small the world has become. No matter where she goes or what she does, she seems to run into people whom she knows traveling the same roads and enjoying their moments of discovery as much as she does. Whether she is on the Mer de Glace at Chamonix, on the route from Bir Hakeim metro stop to the Eiffel Tower or in Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, she runs into people with the same wanderlust and thirst for knowledge of parts unknown.

Fun fact:

Joy is the principal of an all girl's Catholic school where she has taught for almost 40 years!

"Be open and adventurous or you will miss the moment. Immerse yourself in the culture." - Joy Maness

Judy
Judy Reiff, ACADEMIC TRAVEL ADVISOR
generaljar@gmail.com

India and beyond:
 
Judy has been traveling with ACIS since 1984. During her first trip abroad, she was a high school exchange student in India and lived with a middle class family in Bombay. She describes the experience as a challenging, eye-opening and life-changing opportunity for a girl from the suburbs of NYC who had never been on an airplane before. Judy returned home with insights that would later define the direction her career would take.

Languages and the London eye:
 

Judy studied Spanish and Hebrew in college, having already studied them along with French in middle and high school. In her college years, she didn’t study abroad, but she did spend a month in London.

Favorite travel destination:

Judy says her favorite destination is Italy—hands down. She simply never gets tired of going there. She loves the food, the people, the vistas, the history, the art, the shopping, the energy and of course, the gelato!

Travel tips:
“Ziplock bags and bubble gum. I used to tell prospective exchange students and then my student travelers to bring a box of bubble gum with them. It was a great conversation starter, since many people around the world had not seen individually wrapped Bazooka gum, especially the comics inside them. Now, I remind them to tuck small/medium/and large Ziplock bags in their suitcases, since they can be used for so many different things and take up no space!” – Judy Reiff

Julie
Julie Henderson, ACADEMIC TRAVEL ADVISOR
mailto:milliefan@aol.com

How long have you been traveling with ACIS?

I have been taking 6th, 7th, 8th grades and high school students to Italy and France since 2012.

Tell us about your first travel abroad experience.

I spent a summer as an exchange student in high school in 1986 in Brittany, France. I began my adventure with a wonderful family of 5, and then we went to their summer home and things got strange. I ended up spending the summer in a townhouse filled with teenagers, as my host parents took their own vacation. It was a great experience truly learning French from other teenagers and soaking in true French culture, which included seeing Miles Davis live in concert.

Did you study a foreign language, art or culture in college? Did you study abroad?

I have a BA from Indiana with a double major in Italian and Art History and a minor in French.

Share with us a memorable travel story.

In 1993, right after the coup in Russia, I spent a few weeks visiting my sister, who lived in Moscow. On our second trip to visit Lenin's Mausoleum, I asked my sister if she would ask a Russian soldier if he would take a picture with me. Much to my sister's horror, after he agreed, I threw my arm around me and she took the picture. Apparently, it is not culturally appropriate to hug Russia soldiers. I still have the picture and the soldier has a big grin on his face. The lesson I learned was that joy and pure happiness can break down social barriers.

What’s your favorite destination and why?

My first reaction is immediately: ITALY!! If I must narrow it down, I will say, Florence, Italy. Even in the midst of many tourists and their many cameras, there is always a special moment for me, when the pure beauty of the city, and Italy itself, touch my soul.

Do you have any travel tips you’d like to share?

My most important travel tip is to bring a journal, and write down memories, when you are able…even if it is on the plane ride back home. (Also, PACK SUNSCREEN and USE IT!!)

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.

I teach Italian to kindergarden through 8th grade students at a Chicago public school. I also lobe teaching my students art and art history…and I secretly dream of being a photographer. I always have my camera with me!
Kristin
Kristin McDuffie, ACADEMIC TRAVEL ADVISOR
Kristin@mcduffieclan.us
First experiences abroad:

In 1992, as a middle school Spanish teacher in Houston, Kristin led a group of 24 students, another Spanish teacher and a handful of parents to Spain. This was her very first international trip and she was green as it gets, but she was provided useful information to help everyone be comfortable and prepared for the trip. Kristin and the kids had a ball and even now, 20 years later, she is still in contact with many of those students, even being invited to their weddings and baby christenings all these years later. That is a bond that will be life-long.

Working with ACIS:


Kristin has been a proponent of ACIS ever since her inaugural trip that took place in the 90s.

Forever Spanish:

Being from Texas, Kristin was introduced to Spanish at a young age. She was able to take Spanish courses all through grade school and high school.

Memorable moment in Madrid:

While in Madrid in March of 2002, the US/Iraq war started. The students were never in any danger and the group watched the coverage on BBC and even witnessed firsthand the protests against the war in the street. ACIS was so supportive about our choice to stay in Europe and not fly home and my students will always remember witnessing a part of history.

Seville above all:

Seville, Spain is Kristin's favorite city on earth. According to her the people, architecture, history and the food are simply, the best.

Fun fact:

Kristin is a diehard sports fan to her local Dallas teams and her alma mater Texas A&M. Her mood is often altered by the scoreboard, too.

Travel tip:
"Always journal write!! Write down the things that all five of your senses are experiencing! Pictures cover the EYES, but what you HEARD, FELT, SMELLED and ATE is just as memorable, too!" - Kristin McDuffie

Linda
LINDA CARPENTER, ACADEMIC TRAVEL ADVISOR
LLCarpentr@aol.com

The educated traveler

An associate professor of English, Speech & the Humanities for Coastline College for the past 33 years, Linda recently retired from Edison High School where she taught Honors English, American Literature, & Art of Film and served as the Academic Coach for 36 years. She also created three study abroad classes and has served as the group leader for 44 student tours. She began traveling with students in 1986 and has introduced more than 1500 adolescent and adult travelers to the wonders of the world. She has led sojourns to 35 countries and to every continent except Antarctica.

Beyond the classroom

She has found that the instructive value these educational odysseys offer goes far beyond any form of classroom academia, for these travelers have had their lives enriched forever. They return from their journeys with a heightened sense of cultural awareness and a profound appreciation of what they have always taken for granted. They not only become better Americans but rather emerge as free-thinking citizens of the globe.

From London, with love

Having visited a plethora of geographical, architectural and historical marvels, Linda finds it difficult to select a favorite. While the physical beauty of Machu Picchu, The Swiss Alps, Milford Sound and Victoria Falls are nearly without equal, she is partial to London, a megalopolis she has visited 24 times and one that offers something for everyone. With London as the backdrop, mysterious monuments, impregnable castles, theatrical masterpieces, mind boggling museums and 1,000 years of British history all await your discovery.

Travel tip

Express a willingness to try new and different things, make an attempt to understand other languages and appreciate other cultures, and remember that a well planned educational expedition significantly enriches the actual adventure.

"Because of my extensive and diverse travel experiences (I traveled with every other student company out there before I discovered ACIS and was actually stranded in Africa with 15 students by one of them), I thoroughly enjoy introducing new teachers and students to the myriad benefits of ACIS. I know first hand that ACIS is indeed #1 in security, safety and educational value. Boasting outstanding tour managers, superior accommodations and restaurants, flexible and memorable itineraries, and the industries’ best support staff, ACIS turns students into life-long learners. I look forward to helping you create your own adventure of a lifetime while you and your students discover the very best in educational travel." -Linda Carpenter


Mark
Mark Pfeiffer, ACADEMIC TRAVEL ADVISOR
mpfeiffer@lindberghschools.ws
How long have you been traveling with ACIS?

I started planning my first trip with ACIS five years ago.

Tell us about your first travel abroad experience.

I canoed into Canada when I was 18. My first international experience was with a Canadian Mountie showing us a good place to camp on a map. I guess it was a pretty inauspicious way to begin my international travel.

Did you study a foreign language, art or culture in college? Did you study abroad?

I took Spanish in high school and Spanish and some Latin in college. I majored in history and minored in archaeology and anthropology in college. When I was in high school I made a bucket list with one of my goals being to visit the Great Pyramids. When I went to college, I was talking to a friend of mine about my list and we passed a poster of Egypt with a caption "Do You Want to See the Pyramids? Middle Eastern Study Abroad." My friend told me it was fate for me to go. My first flight on an airplane took me to Amman, Jordan to start my study abroad in Jordan, Israel, and Egypt. I have been hooked on travel ever since.

Share with us a memorable travel story.

The first time I took students to the Vatican, we had a retired Italian Navy tour guide. He was gruff and impatient and kept calling us all lollygaggers. He showed us an insignificant little statue of a boy holding a duck in the middle of the grandness of the Vatican Museum. He asked us what the significance of it was and none of us could tell him. He said:

"Humans beings seek to express themselves throughout life. You give a little child a crayon and they will color with it. Our souls hunger for art and culture from the time we are born. Our bodies can survive on bread and water, but what type of life would that be? We feed our bodies and spend our lives watching our diet, but we starve our souls of what they really need. Feed your soul. Appreciate the little, seemingly insignificant statues. Draw with crayons. Your life will be better because of it."

The rest of the tour was simply amazing and ended with our tour guide reciting Marc Antony's speech from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar at the Roman Forum. I would take a retired Navy tour guide over anyone.

What’s your favorite destination and why?

Florence is my favorite city to take students. The city is steeped in history and culture. From the Ponte Vecchio to the Duomo, from Michelangelo's David to Botticelli's Birth of Venus, you can't beat Florence. Students feel immersed in the grandeur and traditions of Europe but are not overwhelmed because Florence is such an easy city.

Do you have any travel tips you’d like to share?

I always buy a loaf of bread in the morning when I first arrive in a city and put it in the top of my backpack. I want to walk through the streets and experience the culture. All that walking makes me hungry around 10:00 which is too early for lunch. Passing out fresh bread makes it so you aren't starving and you become really popular with the rest of your group...

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.

I am a pretty good cook and make a mean deep dish pizza. It could possibly be the greatest pizza in the history of the world.
Mark and Tobi
Mark and Tobi McBride, ACADEMIC TRAVEL ADVISORS
Time with ACIS:

Mark has traveled with ACIS for more than 10 years as a group leader. Tobi has been an assistant leader for 8 years.

Traveling together:


Mark and Tobi's first trip together was an MLK to London. Their first tour together was a Via Aurelia tour in 2004.

The eternal city:

Rome, Italy is their favorite destination. It is such a romantic city and packed full of history. You have medieval, ancient and plenty of war history. Not to mention the wonderful food and wine.

Love and ACIS:

In 2011 in the ghetto area of Rome, Mark proposed to Tobi at Fontana della Tartarughe (the fountain of the turtles) while on an ACIS group trip.

Nicolette
NICOLETTE MILLER, ACADEMIC TRAVEL ADVISOR
npmiller9@gmail.com
Paris, je t’aime:

Nicolette fell in love with France and Europe while studying abroad in Montpellier, France in college. As a French teacher, she has taken students abroad, traveling with ACIS since 1991.

Stepping outside the classroom:


Showing her students all the wonders of France and other countries of Europe and experiencing their joy and wonder as the world opens up to them, is an exhilarating experience! Hearing them use their language skills in an authentic setting is truly rewarding. As one student once said on a trip after asking directions in French to a Parisian and understanding the answer, "This language thing really works!"
 
Oh the places you’ll go:

She believes in the ACIS motto that "Travel Changes Lives" as many of her former students who traveled with her are currently studying and working abroad in various locations all over the globe, including a student currently studying in Montpellier, France. She is grateful to ACIS for this legacy of learning.

I have always felt that ACIS feels like a family and if anything goes wrong on a trip, ACIS is there behind you. The coordinators in the main office are very friendly and I have been met by the president, Peter Jones several times during my trips. The ACIS chosen hotels are excellent and the food is wonderful!” -Nicolette Miller

Pam
Pam Skaar Meier, ACADEMIC TRAVEL ADVISOR
pamelaepteacher@chaska.net
History with ACIS:

Pam has been taking trips with ACIS for 26 years. As a new teacher in Eden Prairie, she was looking for a way to “take her show on the road” and give students a global view of the world. At that time, it was the one company that appealed to me and had the cities I was looking for in student travel.

The beauty of travel:


As a sophomore in high school, Pam went to Germany on a student-language exchange for fifteen days. It changed her life! Pam then went on to be an exchange student to the Philippines her junior year, and has tried to travel abroad just about every year since then. She is a true believer in the ACIS mantra that “Travel Changes Lives,” it certainly led her to the path of becoming a world history teacher!

Stroke of luck:

One of Pam’s favorite travel stories was at an ACIS Global Conference in London. She was traveling with a dear friend of hers. The two had just walked the length of the Thames when they decided to go up to Trafalgar Square to see St Martin in the Fields. They thought they might get lucky and get tickets to a concert the week they were there. In a true stroke of luck they were playing Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” and Pachelbel’s “Canon in D;” two of their favorites and in candle light! Tickets were 8 pounds! It was truly a night to remember for them.

Travel tip:
“I always tell my students to pack lots of zip lock bags. Not only for travel liquids, but also to tuck away a roll or sandwich or fruit from breakfast can save you a lot of money and time. I also encourage the students to “unplug” and really immerse themselves in the culture. You only have such a short time; friends will always be there when you return!” - Pam Skaar Meier

Pamela
Pamela Reynolds, Academic Travel Advisor
profesorareynolds@hotmail.com
 
Pamela's History with ACIS:
Pamela led her first group of high school students to Spain in 2007 and continue to lead groups each year to Europe and Costa Rica.

The First Bite From The Travel Bug:
In 1985, Pamela went on her first week-long trip abroad to Spain. She describes herself as young and wide-eyed, and is able to remember so much from that week, the sights and cities, the new food, hearing the language she was learning in school and immersing herself in a new culture. She was a sponge absorbing everything she saw and learned, explaining; "It truly was a life changing experience for me - the travel bug definitely bit me!"

Most Memorable Travel Story:
In the summer of 2001, before becoming a teacher, Pamela had a true once-in-a-lifetime experience in Italy where she was fortunate enough to participate in a sfilata before a palio. She spent the day parading through a small Italian city in the Marche region in a Renaissance costume - such an authentic day, reliving history and living like an Italian.

Favorite Travel Destination:
There are so many destinations to choose! Spain ranks high on my list because it was my first experience abroad and I love so much about the country and feel at home with the language, but my favorite destination above all, is Italy. It is the country I have visited the most and I have a true familial connection whenever I am there.

Travel Like a Pro:
Pamela offers some insightful tips to keep in mind on your next travels:
Pack light! You do not need as much as you think you do. Take great photos, then put down the technology and truly appreciate where you are and what you are experiencing. Soak it in, write in a journal, more importantly, get out of your comfort zone, and be flexible! Travel does not always go according to your plan . . . and sometimes that is a good thing!

High Heels to Muck Boots:
High heels and muck boots describe my life! I studied fashion in college and am an animal lover - I have dogs, cats, horses and hens. When the heels come off, the boots are on to tend to my "herd". Completely different sides of me and I love both! This extends to my attitude about travel - I love the cultural aspects, the cosmopolitan cities with museums and palaces, but I also love places such as South Africa and Costa Rica, with natural beauty and of course, all the animals!
Paul
Paul Doonan, ACADEMIC TRAVEL ADVISOR
profdoonan@gmail.com
Paul and us

Paul first traveled with ACIS in 2002, when he went to Spain as a chaperone for students, and has since taken several more groups to Spain. He has been everywhere from San Sebastian to Seville and is headed to Samara Beach in Costa Rica for a language study and homestay.

Where it all began

Paul’s first ever travel abroad experience was to Cuernavaca, Mexico, where he stayed with a host family and attended the Centro Bilingue de Cuernavaca. On weekends, he got to participate in excursions to places like Tepotzlan, Teotihuacan, Taxco and Acapulco. The most rewarding part of the trip was meeting some great folks who helped him learn the language. It was that trip that made him realize how much he enjoy traveling and seeing the world.

Foray to France

As a secondary Spanish ed major, he also studied in Valladolid, Spain, for a semester. On weekends, he took side trips to places like Salamanca, Toledo, Avila, Segovia, Santiago de Compostela, Lisbon, Cadiz for "Carnaval" and, of course, Madrid and Barcelona. Later, when he began to study French, he split a summer between teaching English in Luneville and studying French at the Université in Nancy. Paul’s favorite destination is Paris. He really enjoyed everything there, from the food to the metro.

Irish Hospitality

While on break from his coursework in Valladolid, Paul took his backpack and travelled to Paris, Cork, Galway, Dublin and Barcelona. Arriving in Ireland after a long boat ride, he and his travel companions had to find a place to stay. Foolishly, they hadn't reserved a room in advance. It was a rainy night in March and they faced a night in the Cork train station. A stranger who was running through the rain back to his home asked if they were ok and escorted them to a bed and breakfast that a friend of his owned and operated. The doors were closed for the night, but he managed to get them in. Paul sends a big “thank you!” to Ireland.

Travel Tip

“My simple advice to new travelers is to buy lots of postcards everywhere you go. You won't get better pictures and you have information on where you were on the back.” -Paul Doonan

Randy
RANDY WHITE, ACADEMIC TRAVEL ADVISOR
Three decades of travel:

As a teacher and then as an administrator, Randy has accompanied students to Europe on 18 different occasions since 1983. Throughout his years of travel abroad, Randy has experience traveling with both small and large groups.

Each and every one of Randy’s trips represented an incredible growth experience for all of the young people who participated (and for himself, as well!).

A new horizon:


Since his retirement in 2010, Randy has missed the opportunity to impact student and teacher lives by facilitating travel for them. By joining the ACIS Team, he is now able to re-involve himself in a venture that is educational, stimulating and exciting for all of those who participate. 

Randy looks forward to working with the ACIS Team and feels that a whole new horizon has opened up. He’s ready to move toward it to see what this next new chapter has in store.

Russell & Lucy
RUSSELL & LUCY BARTHOLOMEE, ACADEMIC TRAVEL ADVISORS
lapisluxury@hotmail.com | noiseradio@live.com

 How long have you been traveling with ACIS?

Since 2001, we have led 9 student tours with ACIS, taken 3 family trips, and attended 5 teacher conferences. We wouldn’t travel with anyone else!

Tell us about your first travel abroad experience.

Lucy
My first European travel experience happened when I was 10 years old. My father, a university professor, was leading a student group with AIFS, the partner company of ACIS. We spent six weeks touring all over Europe. It was all amazing, but the two weeks in Italy changed me forever. Now I am dedicated to opening the world to my students!

Russell
In high school I spent a month in France with an exchange program. The experience opened my eyes to the French culture, and I also fell in love with traveling. I learned how fun it can be to run around Europe with my friends, listening to music, eating new foods and trying out my language skills. Telling a joke in a new language is terrific fun!

Did you study a foreign language, art or culture in college? Did you study abroad?

Lucy: I studied Spanish in school, and Italian ever since; Art and Art History are my fields. I majored in studio art and marketing, then later got an MA in Humanities/Art History. Now I am working on a PhD in Art Education and Art History.

Russell: Russell studied Latin and French in high school, French in college, and Italian now. Russell is a historian, with a BA and MA in History, specializing in U.S. and European Twentieth Century history. He also is a pop culture guru, teaching both History and Film in the International Baccalaureate program.

What’s your favorite destination and why?
Right now, it’s Italy and the Mediterranean region. We love the depth of human history, the amazing art and the delicious cuisine. We are eager to explore more areas that are new to us, such as Istanbul, Crete and Sicily.

Do you have any travel tips you’d like to share?
Be observant! As you travel, slow down and soak in the beauty around you. Watch children kick a soccer ball, have a coffee at a busy sidewalk café, and take time to look into the faces of the local people around you. Learn as much as you can about the historical and artistic sites you are seeing, and think about how much we have in common with people across the world. We are all part of a global family, and the beauty of this really sinks in when you travel.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
We are also musicians! Lucy played bassoon for many years in a philharmonic orchestra in Texas, in addition to studying flute, piano and voice. Russell composes, plays guitar and sings in many styles, including a long standing gig in an Elvis Costello tribute band. Every time we travel, we look for live music of all kinds. It adds to our cultural experience, and it’s really fun!
Saralee
SARALEE PECCOLO-TAYLOR, ACADEMIC TRAVEL ADVISOR
CDT49@comcast.net

Home life:

Saralee lives in Tennessee with her husband and two adorable dogs, Bodhi and Tesse. Her husband is a drummer who loves travel and talking jazz.

School life:

Saralee was an educator for more than 45 years in French, Spanish and Italian. She studied in France, Switzerland, Quebec, and Martinique.

The benefits of travel:

Saralee likes to think that we are more alike than different. That’s probably why she has continuously traveled with students for most of her career.

Her greatest passion is sharing cultural parallels. She traveled with ACIS to Southeast Asia and Peru on exotic trips with friends and fellow educators. Many of her siblings and family members have joined her trips to experience the world and to share in her adventures overseas. She gets joy from exposing generations of families to the rewards of travel.


Scott
SCOTT SAKS, ACADEMIC TRAVEL ADVISOR
mailto:scottsaks16@gmail.com
Scott has been traveling with ACIS since 2012. He has traveled to Argentina, Spain, and Peru with his students. In addition, he is excited to be leading upcoming groups again to Spain in June of 2015, and to Paris/Madrid for New Year's Eve in 2016.

Bitten by the travel bug in college

Scott’s first travel abroad experience came during his second year at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. While in college, he studied at the Universidad Nacional in Heredia, Costa Rica for a month in 1999 taking three courses and living with a host family.

Scott majored in Spanish and Latin American studies at IUP. Besides his experience in Costa Rica during the summer of 1999, he also had a chance to study at the Universidad de Valladolid for a spring semester. During the semester he took advantage of traveling all around Spain as well as taking a side trips to Amsterdam, Zurich, Prague, Munich, Florence and the Amalfi Coast.

A lasting impact

During the summer of 2014 while climbing Wayna Picchu, one of Scott’s students looked around and marveled at the view of Machu Picchu. He turned to Scott and said “this is the best day of my life.” In Madrid, at the Prado, another student excitedly mentioned to Scott that they remembered seeing a certain painting and then discussing it in class – and now they’re seeing it in person. He loves the fact that he can bring the classroom activities to life for his students through travel.

Matching made easy!

One of the items that he and his assistant group leaders started doing in their second year of travel is having one of the students illustrate a design for a common shirt that the entire group wears at the airport. First it’s a great memory and gets the kids involved and excited. Second (and most importantly), it is much easier to count and walk together as a group when everyone has the same shirt on!

Pura Vida!

He and his family get a chance to visit Costa Rica every year since his wife is Costa Rican. They spend two weeks visiting with family and friends and then spend a few days at the beach.
Stephane
STEPHANE ALLAGON, ACADEMIC TRAVEL ADVISOR
stephane.allagnon@woodward.edu
How long have you been traveling with ACIS? Since 2006
Tell us about your first travel abroad experience. Living in Europe, I have always traveled all around Europe as a child. I had been to more than 5 countries by the age of 7 and I kept on traveling between, Spain, England, Germany, Switzerland, Andorra, Monaco, Lichtenstein and Ireland. My parents were avid travelers and I follow in their foot steps.

Did you study a foreign language, art or culture in college? Did you study abroad?

In school, I studied, English, Spanish, Italian and Latin. I studies abroad in England and the USA. I also worked in the USA and taught in Ireland

Share with us a memorable travel story.

Being able to take my parents to places where they do not speak the language and be their tour guide like in Mexico at the Pyramids or in Austria

What's your favorite destination and why?
France because I am still attached to my country and it is a wonderful country with great culture and food

Do you have any travel tips you'd like to share?
Get your children a passport as soon as possible and travel as much as possible. Also, try to meet the locals, be involved in their life.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
I love traveling and meeting new people all the time and I think it runs in the family . My parents are great travelers and my son who is 11 loves traveling as much as I do. I love creating international connections between people. I look at it as an
Sue
Sue Minor, ACADEMIC TRAVEL ADVISOR
seminor@comcast.net

How it all began
Sue’s first trip overseas was in 1969 when she was a student traveling with AIFS. She was just 14 years old and went abroad to study French at the University of Vichy for the summer. During the week she took classes, and on the weekends she traveled to exotic places like the French Riviera, Chamonix, and Geneva. It was an amazing summer, which led to her lifelong love affair with travel.

Title

During her trip to Italy this past summer, she and her travel group located a restaurant in Rome that she had loved on her first visit to Italy nine years prior. While there, she met a couple of American women who were on their own “Eat, Pray, Love” adventure. The women invited her and her friends to visit them in Florence, where, on an outing, she ran into an old friend and former tour manager she had traveled with on several ACIS trips. Small world! He invited her and her friends to join him for his group's choral concert at an old church near the Ponte Vecchio. While listening to his choir’s concert, she was reminded of the summer she had spent touring Europe as a young choir member and how wonderful that experience had been for her. That evening in Florence was truly magical for her and she will remember it for the rest of her life.

Title
Paris: the most romantic city in the world! It was in Paris that she and her husband celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with dinner atop the Eiffel Tower. Five years later, they returned to Paris to celebrate their 30th anniversary. Simply put: They love Paris!

Title
1) If you like using washcloths, cut up an old towel to make disposable washcloths – many European hotels don’t use them
2) Don’t buy new clothes for travel. Instead, bring clothes you would’ve discarded anyway – that way you can leave them behind to make room for souvenirs!
3) The Sue Minor Rule of Shopping: If you see something that speaks to you and you can afford it, BUY IT! You may never get the chance to buy it again.

Susan
SUSAN HARSA, ACADEMIC TRAVEL ADVISOR
 How long have you been traveling with ACIS?

I started leading trips with ACIS about 35 years ago. I have maintained that very important relationship because ACIS has been willing to accommodate my wishes, no matter how small. I have believed in experiential learning for many years. In my estimation, a trip becomes a deep rooted memory when you can Kayak, bike ride, cook and picnic through the magnificent cities of Europe. In addition to creating joyous opportunities, ACIS has been superb during times of duress which can always happen and rarely be predicted. To be specific, my ACIS reps have helped me accommodate missed flights, a broken ankle and even volcano ashes! In my humble opinion, ACIS is the César (as the French would say) of the travel industry!

Tell us about your first travel abroad experience.

The first time I traveled out of the country was in the 1970’s with a group of young people whom I did not know. This was a whirlwind trip which traveled through 6 countries and many cities over a 3 week period. I made some great new friends and certainly learned to compromise and have a sense of humor. Although I was in awe, I also realized that I would return some day to savor all of the magnificent places I had so speedily encountered. Upon my return, I was chagrined to realize that I did not know how to use the métro, the phone or the bank…the basics. I had followed my tour leader, but I had not really “learned”. As a teacher, I have been firmly committed to teaching my students about what they will see and how to survive so that they can return on their own some day and feel comfortable. The mission statement of ACIS and the raison d’être of a classroom teacher are a perfect blend of what makes an unforgettable trip.

Did you study a foreign language, art or culture in college? Did you study abroad?

While in college I majored in French and minored in English. Not coincidentally, my favorite teacher in high school was my English teacher and in college, my French teacher! Voila! What a perfect example of the amazing impact of a teacher. I became a high school French teacher and eventually received my Masters in French conversation, culture and instructional methodology from the School of New Learning at De Paul University in Chicago. Over the years, I was blessed to live with French families and study in Angers, France. As I continued to travel, the most amazing thing occurred. I started to develop a deep appreciation for art and history which had heretofore never interested me. As the years progressed in my classroom, I realized that I needed to incorporate my love of art and history into my French classes. While communication and culture had always been my driving passion, travel helped me to teach on a much deeper level.

Share with us a memorable travel story.

I have so many memories of travelling. Learning about and seeing the Cu Chi tunnels and traps in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam was eye-opening and moving, because I had many friends who were in the Vietnam War. The Temples of Angkor Wat at sunrise were unforgettable. Watching and listening to our high school band director, a chaperone on a trip to France, play at the American Cemetery in Normandy brought tears to my eyes. I remember the lump in my throat when I saw the tears of an art student as she compared Marie Antoinette’s Austrian hamlet with her own drawing from a picture in art class. Priceless! Seeing a student learn to ride a bike for the first time in her life…at Versailles! During my 2014 trip to Normandy, I learned that one of my student’s great grand-father was buried there. The French military took us to the grave site, we prayed the Our Father in French, the chorus members on the trip sang the American National Anthem and then the service people spoke of their love for Americans and all that we had done for them during WWII. They then handed my student an American, as well as a French flag to take home for the family. How lucky I am to have provided such an education beyond the classroom.

What’s your favorite destination and why?

I adore the south of France. Eze, this beautiful little town perched high above the Mediterrean, has a magical quality about it. My husband and I were fortunate enough to spend two nights there after we married. (save your Euros…but well worth it!) I also love the old town of Nice during the World Cup and while there, eating the most amazing Bouillabaisse (fish stew/soup) France has a different personality depending on the direction you roam. Cinque Terra in Italy and Biarritz at the base of the Pyrenees in France are also unforgettable. I guess you would say I am a nature person because the views in these 3 places are breathtaking. I could wander forever through the streets of Paris and I love the quaint little unknown places for dining.

Do you have any travel tips you’d like to share?

When I travelled as a young person, I was basically reactive. I reacted to situations as they arose. As I gained experience leading groups, I learned that it is far better to be proactive. For this reason, I always require students to wear a money belt under their clothes. In addition they are required to attend preparation classes for an entire semester prior to departure. These classes are informative, fun and team building. Finally, I always try to learn key expressions like: please, thank you, hello, good bye, where is, how much etc These tips have truly enriched my personal as well as group travel experiences.

I also suggest a money belt and offer classes to adult groups I lead. Both the students and adults seem to love these classes because they feel better prepared. The added bonus is that the travelers seem to bond, which helps build excitement as the trip approaches.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.

In 2010 I was so blessed to receive the Golden Apple Award. This was a thrill for the entire Saint Francis High School community where I taught for 35 years.
Teresa
Teresa Boody, ACADEMIC TRAVEL ADVISOR
wtmmmb@yahoo.com
Breaking down classroom walls:

In March, 2011, Teresa took three students and one adult on her first trip abroad. Teresa is a Latin teacher and chose "Roman Italy" for her first trip. "The first memory that comes to mind," she recalls, "was on my very first trip to St. Peter's when one of my students read and translated the Latin inscribed around the dome. It was so moving to hear my student use the skills he had learned in my classroom to understand the scripture in this very holy place."

All roads lead to travel:


Teresa studied Latin for two years at the University of Montevallo, a small liberal arts college near Birmingham, Alabama and graduated with a degree in History.  After some time looking for a career in education, she began a 24-year career in special education until she had the opportunity to go back to school in 1999 and set up a Latin program at her  local high school. She taught history and Latin, and finally just Latin (four levels including AP) until her retirement in May of 2012. She had never studied or traveled abroad until she began traveling with her students. She says ACIS has always made it so easy to set up and manage the logistics of her trips and she's so appreciative of the support they have given her before, during, and after her trips.  

Love for Italy:

Italy!  Everywhere in Italy! Teresa never gets tired of watching students experience what they have learned in the classroom. She also loves Ireland, the land of her ancestors, and she looks forward to spending more time there in her retirement. 

Travel tip:
“Make sure you are very careful to help everyone (students AND adults) understand this is an educational trip. It is physically rigorous and requires a lot of concentration and stamina during the day and rest at night. Shopping and resting in the hotel are infrequent opportunities!” -Teresa Boody

Tricia
Tricia Hacker, ACADEMIC TRAVEL ADVISOR
thacker@oakschristian.org

Travel Changes Lives

Tricia’s first travel abroad experience was when she was 18 and spent a semester in Florence, Italy studying Art History. She has been teaching and touring as an Art Historian ever since. Talk about life changing!

An Art-Lover’s Dream

Her favorite destination is Paris. As she is in an art teacher, Paris’ 100+ museums makes it a particular favorite in her book…along with the sands of Egypt! In fact, one of her most memorable travel experiences was when she was touring with a group of her students in Egypt with ACIS. Their bus turned a corner to reveal the Step Pyramid of Djoser, built by Imhotep. She actually cried. She holds a special place in her heart for Imhotep because he is the first artist in history that the world has record of, being the architect of a pyramid that’s over 4,000 years old!

Interesting Facts About Tricia

-Tricia has been traveling with ACIS for 4 years.
-She can pick up things and write with her toes!

Travel Tip

“Don't stress if you can't fall asleep on the long international flights! Your body will kick up the adrenaline when you arrive at your destination and it will all be fine.”

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