A world outside DHS


Victoria Rosales

During June 23-30, Downey High School student, Valeria Ruiz, went on the French and Spanish class trip with her Spanish teacher to learn about the two different cultures. “I got my shirt at the museum where we saw the Mona Lisa painting” Ruiz stated.

Celine Spence, Public Relations

In order to explore different cultures and apply what they were taught throughout the school year, students from the French and Spanish classes, along with some of their teachers (Mrs. Baca, Ms., Buenrostro, Mrs. Ramirez, and Mrs. Cubas), took a week-long trip to France and Spain, in June 2014, to apply their knowledge and experience a lifestyle outside of Downey High School.


“I chose to do this trip in order for students to expand their horizons,” French and Spanish teacher, Mrs. Baca said, “I thought this would bring a new perspective for the students.”


The first destination for the trip was Germany, where the group had a layover for a later flight to Spain. Once arriving in Spain, the group met their Italian tour guide, Gianna, and their journey began.


The group experienced new things that they weren’t used to back home, like converting dollars into euros, taking the metro and walking to their destinations, something that is very common in Europe.


“Our tour guide made us walk a lot and really fast,” Valeria Ruiz, 12 stated. “Europeans are used to that.”


As soon as the group arrived, they set out for sightseeing in the city of Madrid, Spain.

While in Madrid, students taking Spanish were able to use their knowledge of the language to communicate with native citizens of Spain and make their way around the city.


During their three days in Madrid, the group learned about history, culture, and the native food and lifestyle of Spain. They visited places like Estadio Santiago Bernabeau, Plaza del Toros, Museo Del Prado, and more.


Senior Valeria Ruiz said her favorite memory from Madrid was from their last day there when the group went kayaking in Parque De El Retiro.


“While we were kayaking, we ran into another group of tourists kayaking,” Ruiz said. “They said they could tell that we were from California. I guess it was obvious.”


After parting from Madrid, the next stop was Paris.


Since only four students taking French went on the trip, France was a bit more of an adjustment language wise. Students taking French were finally able to use what they know of a language and culture less common in their hometown.


The group visited a perfumerie, the Notre Dame, The Palace of Versailles, the Louvre Museum, the Eiffel Tower, among other places. They even went to a crêperie for dinner one night to eat authentic Parisian crêpes.


After staying in Paris, “La Ville-Lumière” (“The City of Light”), the group once again set out for Germany for another layover before heading back home.


Experiencing different countries and applying what they have learned in class first-hand taught students that their time in class was well spent, while teachers got to see the work they put into teaching their students pay off.


“As I always tell my students, we can only do so much in the classroom; we study the language, the culture, and the history,” Mrs. Baca said, “but I think it’s eye-opening once you’re actually there and you get to touch, see, and actually feel history first-hand.”


The group agreed the experience was unlike anything they’ve ever done before.


“The trip was a really life-changing experience for me; even though I’d gone before [to Europe], I’d never gone alone,” senior Katheryne Castillo said. “It made me feel more independent; more like an adult. Seeing the world like we did made Downey seem so small to me.”


Not only was the trip memorable for students, but for their teachers as well.


“The thing that I really enjoyed the most was spending time with students while we were visiting the different sites,” Mrs. Buenrostro said. “It was a great opportunity to get to know the students because we had multiple opportunities to talk about school, their goals in life and seeing life from eyes of a teenager.”


Teachers and students were able to bond and become closer to one another while on the trip.


“I loved visiting all the beautiful places in Madrid and Paris,” Mrs. Ramirez said. “I loved the museums, the architecture, the history, the food, etc. It was a great experience to travel with students, and see how they loved and enjoyed the trip as well.”


On the trip, the students and teachers were able to view life from a different part of the world and learn that there is a whole different lifestyle outside of Downey. There is another trip being planned for 2016 to Paris, France, and Barcelona, Spain.