CARLSBAD — Leonie Beiten of Carlsbad and Natalie Dederich of Encinitas are two Pacific Ridge School students and staff who spent the past few weeks experiencing academic, service learning and cultural experiences around the world.
During the school’s year-end global travel period, seventh- through 10th-grade students travel on class-wide trips. This year, the seventh grade went to the Santa Monica Mountains, eighth graders headed for Williamsburg, ninth-graders went to China and the sophomores saw the Northern Sierra. Juniors and seniors have the option of choosing from one of the school-designed trips or designing their own year-end trips or internships.
Beiten, a junior, traveled with a group to El Salvador, where she worked with children in the Angeles Descalsos (Barefoot Angels) Urban Youth Program. Students spent their days organizing activities for the children that included English lessons, crafts, and games. The group also had a chance to explore the countryside through visits to rural villages, a zipline tour over the Apeneca Canopy, and a boat ride around scenic Lake Coatepeque.
Dederich, also a junior, traveled with classmates to India, where they explored the country’s diverse heritage, cultures and traditions. The trip began in the capital city of New Delhi, where the group paid homage at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial site and spent a day at the Taj Mahal. In Bangalore, students experienced homestays with local families and took a Bollywood dance workshop. Other trip highlights included visiting a Tibetan monastery, interacting with elephants at Dubare Forest Reserve, and touring a coffee and spice plantation.
Additional Pacific Ridge student trips included an ecological exploration of Costa Rica’s cloud forests, a culture and diplomacy-focused trip to Israel and the West Bank, a service-based trip teaching English and installing water filtration systems in rural Cambodia and a journey through India’s culture and traditions.