The News of The Blake School Since 1916

The Spectrum

The News of The Blake School Since 1916

The Spectrum

The News of The Blake School Since 1916

The Spectrum

Minneapolis


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Summer Travels Spur Growth, Learning

Students embark on compelling adventures abroad
Ekstrom+%28far+right%29+sits+with+friends+during+a+visit+to+the+historical+Macchu+Picchu+in+Peru%2C+getting+to+see+the+site+in-person+after+learning+about+its+significance+in+Blake+Spanish+classes.
Petra Ekstrom
Ekstrom (far right) sits with friends during a visit to the historical Macchu Picchu in Peru, getting to see the site in-person after learning about its significance in Blake Spanish classes.

Bookended by semesters of anticipated learning at the Upper School, students took full advantage of educational travel opportunities presented throughout the warmer months. Hakuto Higuchi ‘24 traveled to Iceland and Amsterdam — a part of Blake’s global program. The program consisted of a week of classes followed by four weeks of travel and another week of classes. In Iceland, they learned about geothermal energy. In Amsterdam, they focused on the bike system in place: all streets are equipped with bike lanes that provide transport to virtually anywhere in the city. With an emphasis on environmentalism overall, Higuchi’s learning intensive trip capped off with a research paper, written and later presented to classmates, on green roofs. 

Higuchi favored an Icelandic national park wherein the group spent time walking around. “We saw waterfalls and this whole ruin of a farm,” Higuchi says. Amsterdam offered a quicker pace of life: “There were so many things to do,” Higuchi comments, “each day was different.”

Petra Ekstrom ‘24 sought out a similar sense of adventure in conjunction with education and service opportunities. Having previously spent the fall semester in Zaragoza, Spain with School Year Abroad (SYA), Ekstrom knew she wanted to employ her Spanish skills and continue to develop them. “I speak pretty good Spanish at this point, I wanted to do something where I could utilize that,” she says. For four weeks, Ekstrom traveled to Cusco, Peru, staying with a host family and teaching English to preschoolers. Later in the summer, she spent a week in Honduras shadowing surgeries.  

“You get to grow as a person with that sense of independence and ability to be adventurous and navigate different countries and all of the sticky situations that go along with that,” Ekstrom notes. “I got to build the coolest connections in all my experiences studying abroad.” Her learning helped her to gain a more “global perspective.” 

“I love Blake, but I’ve been in the same situation for the past fourteen years with the same people in the same location and so having opportunities to go abroad means I get to meet people not only from all across America but also different countries,” Ekstrom says. On her trip to Peru, she befriended a high school student from Baltimore who had won an essay contest writing to the prompt “If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?” This was his first time on a plane. In Cusco, she was handed baby alpacas on the street and made to take pictures with them as part of a scam. She and her friend accidentally paid $30 as opposed to less than one.

Ekstrom says, “After going to Spain and getting to experience different cultures and being abroad and being alone and growing [my] sense of curiosity, adventure, and independence and getting to gain a more global perspective, [has] transferred to me wanting to seek out more opportunities.”

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About the Contributor
Zoey Ueland, Editor Emerita
Hi, my name is Zoey and I am a senior this year. Last semester, I served as the Variety Editor and I am also a Co-Editor-in-Chief. Last year I was the Student Life editor but I dabbled with other pages. Throughout my four years involved with Spectrum, having written since freshman year, I have enjoyed hearing from a wide array of voices, learning about different perspectives around Blake, and working collaboratively alongside my peers. Outside of the newsroom you can find me reading, hanging out with my friends, exploring Minneapolis and swimming!

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