Students at Westfield High School are used to having the opportunity to travel abroad, with trips to England, Spain, Denmark and Germany being offered through different classes and clubs.
Global Glimpse is the newest travel program being offered to students. The program offers three trips to locations in either Ecuador, Panama or the Dominican Republic throughout the summer between their junior and senior years to immerse students in different cultures and learn more about the lives, culture and society of people in other parts of the world.
The trips are 16 days in length and are jam-packed as students work and live with the locals and spend time in individual communities learning about the culture and the way of life.
Along with the very important education aspect, students are able to become teachers and teach English to people of all ages. English is very valued in these three parts of the world as it opens up job opportunities and can better the lives of individual families. Students will also take part in a community service project that fits right into the needs of the specific community.
Stacey Perlmutter, a parent of a student nominated for Global Glimpse, thinks this specific aspect is important, “My daughter can become a mentor to someone in a foreign country and change someone’s life.”
Students had to be nominated by teachers in the building in order to apply and even be considered for this trip of a lifetime. Although a lot of students were nominated, only about 20 will get selected and between six and seven students from Westfield High will travel on a specific trip.
Because of this, trips are relatively small with six or seven other students from three neighboring Western Mass schools traveling together. Therefore, trips are usually between 20 and 25 students.
On top of these small groups often with people you do not know, students are without their phones for the entirety of the trip, as it is very important for students to receive the full experience and not take any moment for granted.
This lesson is one of many taught on the trip along with communication skills and empathy. Global Glimpse’s mission is to prepare students to be strong independent people that can and will make a positive impact on their lives and the lives of others throughout their adult years.
Perlmutter thinks Global Glimpse’s mission is “one of empowerment and education, I personally really like it.”
After hearing about the trip from her older sister, Cayla Osowski, a sophomore, is looking forward to possibly being nominated and attending a trip her junior year. “It seems like a unique experience and I want to go experience different cultures and help countries in need.”
Global Glimpse is a great organization that is now offered to WHS students. Not only are students benefiting by being able to learn different cultures, but they are helping people in need and being shaped into people who can and will make huge differences in the world in their adult lives. Anybody given the opportunity to travel on this trip should take it, as it will change their life for the better.