2021 Montessori School of Evergreen France Program

Dear Families, Friends, and Travelers – Welcome to the 2021 Montessori School of Evergreen France Program!  We have created two webpages dedicated to this once in a lifetime experience so that travelers are as informed as possible throughout the process. This first page, the Pre-Enrollment page, is meant to share exciting details, highlights, and pertinent info, that participants will want to know before enrolling. Once enrolled, the Post-Enrollment page is intended to prepare travelers for participation on the adventure ahead. Please be sure to review the information on the appropriate page thoroughly and get excited for France!!
Travel Dates: March 9, 2021 - March 17, 2021
Group Organizer(s):
WTT Contact:
Program Tuition: $3,090 USD
Airfare not included in program tuition
Confirmed Airfare: $1,057
Deadline(s): Enrollment deadline forthcoming

What to Expect

Please read through all of the information below. More details will be added as your departure draws closer.

Itinerary

We do everything possible to run safe, engaging, and immersive programs for our travelers, but given the unpredictable nature of international travel we must remain flexible in our planning. Changes to a schedule are uncommon but if inclement weather pushes us off course or an unexpected opportunity arises which travelers are excited about, we reserve the right to adjust programming in the best interest of the group. 

DayLocationDescriptionLodging
March 12Denver - Paris, FranceToday we catch our airplane from Denver, CO to Paris, France! Airplane
March 13ParisToday we arrive in one of the most enchanting cities on earth! You'll meet your leader at the airport before heading to our local hotel to settle in, grab some food and have a short orientation meeting. We'll spend the remainder of the day the Montmartre District including the incredible Sacre Coeur. Dinner near out hotel. Fiap Jean Monnet
March 14ParisIn the morning we'll visit the Louvre and you will have your chance to see the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory and many other amazing works of art. After the Louvre we will walk to the gardens of the Palais Royal and eat our picnic lunches. From there, we will walk up to the Opera and admire the beautiful Palais Garnier. We'll pop up to Galeries Lafayette to admire the stained glass ceiling in the classic department store. Next, we'll walk on to see the Madeleine, the famous neoclassical Roman Catholic church. We'll stop for well-earned Laduree macarons, classic French treats, for our afternoon snack. We'll head back to our lodgings and have some time to rest before we head out again for dinner in the neighborhood. Fiap Jean Monnet
March 15ParisToday we will take the RER just outside of Paris to see the palace of Versailles , one of the most opulent palaces in the world, with gardens equally as beautiful. We'll enjoy a nice picnic in the gardens and you'll also get the chance to visit the historic Hall of Mirrors - the treaty of Versailles was signed here, ending World War I. We'll take the RER back into Paris and head back towards our accommodations to eat dinner.Fiap Jean Monnet
March 16Normandy ( Bayeux)We'll have an early breakfast in Paris and then we'll hop on a train to Bayeux, drop our bags at our hotel, and head to the Bayeux Tapestry museum and then have a leisurely lunch. From there we'll be off on our guided bike tour for the afternoon to see the American Cemetery and Omaha Beach. Once back we'll have time to take a rest at the hotel before we have dinner. Tonight we'll sleep in the center of historic Bayeux. Hotel in Bayeux
March 17Normandy-Brittany (Bayeux, St. Malo)We'll have a later rise this morning to recup from yesterday's adventures and a leisurely breakfast at our hotel, then we'll take off on a bus to visit a cheese farm to learn about the artisanal cheese-making process and do a tasting. We'll have a picnic lunch at the farm then we'll get back on the bus and head over to see a panoramic view of Mont St Michel (in anticipation of our visit tomorrow!), and then on to St Malo where we'll walk around the old town, have dinner and get a good night's sleep. Hotel in St. Malo
March 18Brittany (St. Malo)We'll be up again for an early morning, have breakfast, then bus off to Mont St Michel to see the famous Abbey! We'll return to St Malo in the late afternoon, have dinner in the quaint old town again and head back to our lodgings for a good night's rest.Hotel in St. Malo
March 19ParisToday we'll be up again bright and early for a quick breakfast on the go and our train to Paris. On arrival we'll drop our bags and then off to the Arenes de Lutece, the Pantheon and a picnic lunch in the Jardin des plantes. In the afternoon we'll walk around the neighborhood and have a stop at the Grand Mosque for tea. We'll have just enough time to get back to the hotel for a bit to rest before we head out for the evening to enjoy the hubbub of the Rue Mouffetard where we will have a typical brasserie dinner for our last meal together and finally a night boat ride along the Seine to sum it all up! Hotel in Paris
March 20Paris - USAToday we will head to the airport for the flight home. Bon Voyage!Home

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Accommodations

In order to provide a safe and memorable experience, we follow strict guidelines when choosing program accommodations. Walking Tree partners with locally-operated, three-star equivalent hotels and guest houses which are centrally located, clean and safe. 

Below are the accommodations we anticipate using on your trip, subject to availability. 
FIAP Jean Monnet

More than just a hotel, this international youth accommodation also functions as a conference center, a cultural venue, and a space to meet up with friends from all over the world. A truly unique experience for students in Paris. Free Wi-Fi access throughout the building keeps everyone feeling connected. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.

Hotel Reine Mathilde

Hotel Reine Mathilde is located at the heart of city centre. Breakfast and Wifi are provided. Students will be split between gender in either double, triple or quadruple rooms.

Hotel Garance

The hotel Garance is located a few steps from the Pantheon the Gobelin’s Museum and the popular Saint-Germain district. Breakfast and Wifi are provided. Students will be split between gender in either double, triple or quadruple rooms.

Saint-Malo, Bretagne, France

We’ll be staying in style in a newly renovated, turn-of-the-century house close to the sea in the Courtoisville neighborhood. The house is fully equipped and within walking distance to the center of St. Malo. Students will be split between gender in either double, triple or quadruple rooms.

Group Flight

Once your flight has been secured the itinerary will appear here. Walking Tree will secure a seat on the group flight for each participant unless otherwise instructed.

Travelers are responsible for checked baggage fees. Please visit the airline’s baggage webpage to learn if you should expect to pay anything.

We will provide a group manifest – complete with reservation codes and ticket numbers – to the Group Organizer/s before departure, but travelers will need to check in at the airport in order to receive their boarding pass and have documents verified. We recommend arriving no later than three hours prior to the scheduled departure, but contact your Group Organizer for specific details on exactly where and when to meet on the day of departure.

FLIGHT INTERRUPTION DELAY OR CANCELLATION 
Air travel is unpredictable, especially in a pandemic.  Regardless of proper planning, there may still be instances when a flight is delayed or cancelled due to staffing shortages, weather, mechanical problems, etc.  Please note that in such an event, Walking Tree Travel (WTT) is not financially responsible for unanticipated costs incurred by travelers en route.  Our programs officially begin and end in the destination country, and because our staff doesn’t fly with the group, Group Organizers (the traveling faculty member/s) become the front-line advocate for the group in the event of a delay. In most cases of cancellations or delays, the airline will be the one who re-books travel or possibly arranges a hotel and food the night.  Our primary role will be to  keep families updated and provide support to the Group Organizer to reach a  quick and effective resolution.

Host Community and Project Details

Packing List

What follows is a sample packing list but you know yourself better than we do so please adjust accordingly. We recommend you bring a larger piece of luggage like a roller, duffel bag, or backpack, as well as a smaller backpack that you can bring on daily outings, weekend excursions and shorter activities.

“Less is more” is a packing tip we encourage for all our travelers. The list below should cover everything you would need, but know yourself and what you are comfortable traveling with.  We suggest bringing only as much as you would be able to carry on your own.

Finally, we recommend consulting a weather forecast for your destination. 

Most importantly, be sure to remember your PASSPORT!

CLOTHES (quantities depend on your trip length) :

  • Underwear
  • Socks (a mixture of good active socks and casual socks)
  • T-shirts (some quick dry)
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Sweaters or sweatshirts
  • Underwear
  • Shorts
  • Rain jacket
  • Travel/athletic shorts that are breathable and light
  • Comfortable, everyday pants
  • Nice shirt/top to be worn to more formal dinners (girls might want a skirt or something a little nicer for such occasions)
  • Durable athletic/walking shoes
  • Sandals (optional)
  • Hat

TOILETRIES: BRING THE BASIC TOILETRIES YOU NEED PLUS:

  • Sunscreen (you will use a lot)
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Band Aids and Neosporin
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Medication in properly marked original container

MISCELLANEOUS:

  • Sunglasses
  • Journal and pen
  • Book
  • Camera (digital, disposable, waterproof)
  • Power Converter
  • Alarm Clock and watch
  • Debit card/US Dollars (we recommend about $50-$150, depending on amount of desired souvenirs, extra items etc.)
  • Durable water bottle
  • 1 quick-dry towel
  • Flashlight/headlamp
  • Batteries
  • Deck of cards or other portable games
  • Host family gift
  • STUDENT ID
  • French/English Dictionary

Support Team

At a minimum, one experienced Program Leader will travel on every trip. In addition to this full time leadership presence, Walking Tree has additional support staff in all destinations and 24/7 support from our headquarters in Denver, Colorado. Below you’ll find a list of the team members involved in the planning, organizing, and leadership of your program.

Sarah Hofmann
Sarah Hofmann
France Country Director


Carnegie Mellon University – B.A. Francophone Studies and Anthropology
Columbia University – M.A. Cultural Studies

Born in Tokyo, Sarah was raised in an Ecuadorian-American family in Singapore, Paris and the D.C. suburbs. Basically, she had no choice: she was going to be an implicated world citizen whether she liked it or not. After finishing a self-defined undergraduate major in Francophone literature, Anthropology and Painting – with a semester-long stint in Bamako, Mali squeezed in – she continued to study, travel and work in the francophone world. Since completing her undergraduate studies she has lived in the French antilles, worked in Haiti, completed a Masters in Paris, braved the mean streets of NYC, and taught French in Dakar, Senegal. She has now landed in Bordeaux in the south of France where she has learned that biking along the Garonne River can, in fact, give a person a whole other take on life.

Noah Frieder
Noah Frieder
Canada Country Director


B.A. Romance Languages (Spanish, French) and Latin American Studies, University of Oregon

Although Noah hails from the Rocky Mountains, he eats, drinks and breath culture from the Spanish and French speaking worlds. Pouncing at the chance to volunteer in Costa Rica, Peru and Ecuador, Noah engulfed himself into language learning and community service summer programs while in high school. In 2013, during his third college exchange abroad, he studied literature and classical guitar at the Universidad de las Americas in Puebla, Mexico while teaching high school Mexican immigration courses. He also decided to teach and consult a group of high school students in Nicaragua. Noah has led Walking Tree trips since 2015. Since 2017, he has made his home in the fantastically diverse, artistic and dynamic city of Montreal.  During his time there, Noah has extensively explored outside of Montreal into the nooks and crannies of urban and rural Quebec. He currently works in the global music industry and in the past has worked as a bilingual medical interpreter.  Noah is fluent in Spanish and French and speaks basic Hebrew. He brings at least one musical instrument wherever he goes.

Luke Mueller
Luke Mueller
Co-Founder of Walking Tree Travel and Business Lead - Denver, CO


Emory University – B.A. Sociology and minor in Latin American History

During college, Luke spent a semester living and traveling in rural Mexico. His experience sparked a fascination with Latin America and a commitment to community service that continues to this day. Upon graduating from college, he joined WorldTeach and lived with a local family in a small village in Costa Rica while teaching elementary English. After this experience, he moved to San José, the capital and largest city of Costa Rica, and wrote for The Tico Times newspaper. Luke has since traveled to over 60 countries on five different continents.  Now settled in Denver with his family, he continues to crave massive helpings of rice and beans.

Group Roster

Below is a list of the travelers enrolled on the program.

  • 1 Carol Tanski
  • 2 Christine Lafferty
  • 3 Ellie Smith
  • 4 James Lafferty
  • 5 Morgan Lindsey
  • 6 Noah Stricker
6 Travelers

Blog and Communication

During travel we will work hard to keep families updated as frequently as possible with blogs and photos, giving you peace of mind that your traveler is safe and thriving on their program.  Students regularly contribute to these posts, giving parents a great way to vicariously track the progress of the trip. You will receive an email notification when the first blog is posted, after which we recommend you check in regularly via the black “Program Blog” button at the top of this page.

Beyond this proactive approach to communication during the trip, most destinations are wired enough to allow participants semi-regular access to WiFi so you can also expect to communicate with your traveler directly. Ask your Walking Tree representative about the degree of connectivity on your program.

 

GLC Curriculum

Walking Tree has developed a curriculum of activities meant to help travelers get the most out of their trip before departure, during travel and after they return home. These simple and engaging activities are meant to spark discussion, frame experiences, and prepare participants to travel ethically and effectively both on this trip and on future adventures.

For more information about student learning objectives and the format of the curriculum, click on the ‘learn more’ button below.

Learn More About the GLC

To view and complete the Pre-Program Activities, visit our online portal at the button below.

Pre-Program Activity Portal

Standards of Behavior

In order to run a safe and successful program, it is important that we create an environment of trust, security and respect. All individuals participating in our programs are required to take responsibility for their actions and adhere to a high standard of behavioral conduct.

ABSOLUTE DISMISSAL

  1. Possessing, consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs.
  2. Associating with participants while they are in possession of or are consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs.
  3. Behaving in a way that consistently damages the group dynamic or jeopardizes personal or group safety. This includes consistently displaying a negative attitude, intimidating or excluding other participants, sneaking out, disobeying group leaders, and any other behavior that is not conducive to an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.

GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL OR IN-COUNTRY CONSEQUENCE

  1. Failure to abide by COVID-19 restrictions.
  2. Stealing, or deliberately damaging or defacing any personal property, buildings or materials.
  3. Possessing weapons.
  4. Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle.
  5. Getting a piercing or tattoo.
  6. Being out after curfew.
  7. Breaking group rules.

These standards of behavior are essential for the successful completion of your program. Please take the time to review these as a family and make sure everyone understands and agrees to them.

Health and Safety

We strongly recommend visiting the CDC France website to get the most updated information on health and vaccination considerations in your destination country. In addition, we encourage you to consult with your personal family physician so you can be as informed as possible when making important decisions about vaccinations and other necessary health-related preparations before travel.

Our in-country staff prepare meticulously for all programs. Walking Tree will register our programs and travelers with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in case of emergency. In country staff also verify the safety records of our partner organizations, vendors, and transportation providers, thoroughly vet homestay families via in depth interviews and home visits, and keep up on important current events in the region.

Program Leaders are seasoned travelers who are CPR and First Aid certified, undergo thorough training in crisis management, and participate in a multi-day leadership training retreat. We do our best to prepare for any eventuality and have detailed emergency protocols for our leaders, in-country staff and U.S.-based staff.

We receive medical disclosures from all participants to ensure we are able to meet every students’ needs during the program. Please inform us immediately of any additional health issues that you did not list during your initial registration process. Program Leaders will also hold an online information session before your departure, as well as an arrival orientation in-country, in order to give participants important instructions on food safety, hygiene and preventing injury and illness. Leaders and in-country staff always respond immediately to any mental, physical or emotional health issues and follow comprehensive emergency protocols.

Insurance

While we work hard to ensure the safest experience possible for our travelers on program, experience teaches that travel is never without risk. For this reason, we recommend that all travelers consider a travel insurance policy with  two additional provisions: Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) and Bed Rest. Detailed explanations of both provisions can be found on the link below.

To provide families with a quality option, Walking Tree has partnered with Travel Insured International, one of the most respected providers in the industry.  Begin by getting a quote here.

IMPORTANT NOTE: in order to secure coverage with CFAR included, you must purchase the plan within 21 days of your deposit/first payment. You must also insure 100% of your trip cost, so program tuition + flight.

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