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2022 St Mary’s Academy France Program

While offered through SMA, enrolling on this program represents an agreement between the traveler's family and Walking Tree Travel. Any questions regarding enrollment, payments, refunds, or other administrative matters should come to the WTT Representative listed below.
Dear Families, Friends, and Travelers – Welcome to the 2022 St Mary's Academy France Program!  To learn the basics about this once in a lifetime opportunity, you'll begin by using the Pre-Enrollment page, the purpose of which is to share exciting highlights and important info that participants will want to know before signing up. If you enroll, you'll begin using the Post-Enrollment webpage, which offers a much greater level of detail.  Please be sure to review the information thoroughly and get excited for France!! 
Travel Dates: June 11, 2022 - June 24, 2022
Group Organizer(s):
WTT Contact:
Program Tuition: $3,990 USD
Airfare not included in program tuition
Confirmed Airfare: $1,276

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
June 11USA - ParisFly to FranceAirplane
June 12ParisOnce off the plane we'll drop our bags in our rooms, collect ourselves and set off on a walking tour of Montmartre and see the oldest remaining windmill in Paris, discover the hidden 19th century villas of the bourgeoisie as well as the quaint backstreets that inspired countless turn of the century artists and writers. We'll swing by the Moulin Rouge, appreciate the art nouveau flourishes of the Abbesses metro stop and admire the wall of je t'aime! Of course in the midst of all this we'll make time for an afternoon snack at a neighborhood bakery. Our last stop will be the hike up to Sacre Coeur where we'll walk through the church and have just enough time to catch the view of the city at sunset. We'll finish up the evening with a typical dinner in a bistrot nearby.Hotel in Paris
June 13ParisAfter breakfast at the hotel we'll start the day by admiring the medieval vestiges around the Chatelet and Marais neighborhoods. Later we'll stop for some street food in the Jewish quarter and take in the Place des Vosges. We'll then have some time to spend wandering around the lively shopping streets known as the St. Paul village. We'll then make our way over to the Place de la Bastille before finishing the day at the Pompidou Center, admiring the architectural contrasts and exploring the interior for a look at one of France's best modern art collections. We'll have dinner at the newly renovated and rather impressive Halles shopping center.Hotel in Paris
June 14ParisAfter breakfast we'll head to Notre Dame before the crowds and learn a bit about the history and see how the reconstruction process is progressing. We'll then cruise around on bikes to see the Ile St. Louis and do a sweep of the Latin quarter. Here we will explore the Quai St. Michel and the history of Parisian academe by passing in front of the original Sorbonne and St. Andre des Arts. We'll have a picnic lunch in the jardin du luxembourg and get ready to see the Pantheon in the afternoon. We'll finish up the day with some free time to walk around or relax before dinner near the hotel.Hotel in Paris
June 15ParisThe adventures continue today with our first stop at the Galeries Lafayette to appreciate its architecture and then over to the Opera to do the same. We'll learn about its construction and significance in Paris. We'll then move on to see Les Invalides and Musee de la Liberation to learn about the impact of WWII before a picnic lunch in the Champ de Mars as we take in our first close up of the Eiffel Tower. We'll have a bit of free time to explore the neighborhood in the afternoon before dinner at a bistrot nearby. At sunset we'll hop on the Bateau mouche to see the Eiffel Tower at night.Hotel in Paris
June 16ParisToday after breakfast we'll embark on a guided tour of the Lourve to learn about the Mona Lisa as well as several other major works before having free time to roam the museum on our own. We'll break for lunch in the Jardin des Tuileries and appreciate the gardens. Afterwards we'll wind our way up the Champs Elysees appreciating the hustle and bustle of this most impressive shopping street leading us to a well earned hike up the Arc de Triomphe for another impressive view of the city. We'll end the day with dinner near our hotel.Hotel in Paris
June 17Paris - RouenAfter an early breakfast at the hotel we'll head out to spend the day visiting the city of Rouen. We'll check out the Musee des Beaux Arts Rouen as a first stop on our impressionists tour, we'll leisurely take a walkabout the city center, have lunch on a plaza to people watch, go to see the gros horloge -or the old clock-and the rest of the St Maclou histoiric neighborhood, and we'll end with a hike up colline st. catherine to see the city in the evening at sunset. We'll spend the night in this charming little city, getting some solid rest to gear up for the Monet tour in the morning!Hotel in Rouen
June 18Rouen-ParisBreakfast super early and we're off to beat the crowds at Giverny. There we'll see Monet's home and gardens and the Musee des impressionisms. We'll have lunch in a typical restaurant in Giverny and then head back to Paris in the late afternoon. We'll arrive in time for dinner and a walk to see some of Paris by night without overdoing it so as to be fresh for Bordeaux in the morn! Hotel in Paris
June 19Paris - BordeauxAfter an early breakfast, we'll take the train to Bordeaux and upon arrival drop our bags off. We'll then head straight to the Sunday market along the Garonne river and take lunch from there to eat in the jardin public. From there we'll go on a walking tour of the old center and hike up the tour pey berland for a view over the city. In the afternoon we'll meet our host families and have dinner with them.Host Families Bordeaux
June 20BordeauxBreakfast with host families and then off to our first day of French class! For lunch we'll head up to the Chartrons neighborhood to see the Cite du vin and les halles. We'll spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the neighborhood at our leisure before heading back to our host families for dinner.Host Families Bordeaux
June 21BordeauxBreakfast with host families and then off to French class! We'll have a quick lunch near the language school and then head out to see the famous Dune du pyla and the nearby seaside town of Arcachon. We'll head back to our host families for dinner.Host Families Bordeaux
June 22BordeauxBreakfast with host families and then off to French class! We'll have a quick lunch after class and then we'll go and see more of Bordeaux's history at the Musee d'aquitaine and the Basilica of St. Michel. You'll have time to roam around the neighborhood of St. Michel after a guided walkabout. We'll be back to our host families in time for dinner this evening.Host Families Bordeaux
June 23Bordeaux-ParisOne more breakfast with our host families before our final French class of the trip! We'll have a good lunch after class by the river (weather permitting) and then from there we'll grab our bags and catch an evening train back up to Paris in time for dinner, a cheese tasting and a last activity all together in the City of light before a good night's rest. Hotel in Paris
June 24Paris -USAThis morning, after a last croissant, we're headed back home to the U.S.! Your own bed, eventually!

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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.

Homestay

This will be the best part of your trip! Staying with a host family immerses you in the language and culture of the destination, and can lead to deep and lasting relationships with your hosts. Initially intimidating but ultimately unforgettable, there’s no better way to begin to truly understand the place you’re visiting.

Group Flight

Type Carrier Name Carrier Code Flight Number Departure Airport & City Departure Date and Time  Arrival Airport & City Arrival Date and Time 
Outbound
Lufthansa Airlines
LH
481
DEN – Denver International Airport, Denver, United States
June 11, 2022 at 04:10 PM
MUC – Munich International Airport, Munich, Germany
June 12, 2022 at 09:55 AM
Outbound
Lufthansa Airlines
LH
2230
MUC – Munich International Airport, Munich, Germany
June 12, 2022 at 12:05 PM
CDG – Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris, France
June 12, 2022 at 01:40 PM
Inbound
Swiss International Air Lines
LX
633
CDG – Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris, France
June 24, 2022 at 09:50 AM
ZRH – Zurich Airport, Zurich, Switzerland
June 24, 2022 at 11:10 AM
Inbound
Swiss International Air Lines
LX
8016
ZRH – Zurich Airport, Zurich, Switzerland
June 24, 2022 at 01:15 PM
DEN – Denver International Airport, Denver, United States
June 24, 2022 at 04:25 PM

Once your flight has been secured the itinerary will appear here.

Remember that Walking Tree is not 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. We recommend arriving no later than three hours prior to the scheduled departure but for specific details on exactly where and when to meet on the day of departure, please contact your Group Organizer/s.

FLIGHT INTERRUPTION DELAY OR CANCELLATION 
Air travel is unpredictable. Regardless of proper planning, there may still be instances when a flight is delayed or cancelled due to weather, mechanical problems, labor strikes, etc.  Please note that in such an event, Walking Tree Travel (WTT) is not financially responsible for unanticipated costs incurred by travelers.  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 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 advocate as best we can for a quick and effective resolution to the situation.

Host Community and Project Details

Packing List

What follows is a sample packing list, which will be updated for each program. 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 hikes, weekend excursions and shorter activities.

Most importantly, be sure to remember your PASSPORT and STUDENT ID.

CLOTHES:
Underwear
Socks
T-shirts, tank tops or work shirts
Long sleeve shirts
Sweatshirt/jacket
Shorts
Jeans/pants
Swimsuit
Rain jacket
Sturdy shoes (appropriate for lots of walking/athletic activity)
Sports sandals ie Chacos/Tevas etc. (optional)
Flip flops (optional)
Hat

TOILETRIES: BRING THE BASIC TOILETRIES YOU NEED PLUS:
Bring the BASIC toiletries you need plus:
Sunscreen
Band aids and Neosporin and other basic first aid supplies
Hand Sanitizer

MISCELLANEOUS:
Sunglasses
Journal and pen
Quick dry towel
Book/s
Alarm Clock and watch
Visa/MasterCard debit card or US dollars (we recommend students bring between $100-$200, depending on amount of desired souvenirs, extra items etc.)
Durable water bottle
Flashlight/headlamp
Batteries

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.

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 Abigail Newton
  • 2 Diana Capaldi
  • 3 Greta Jung
  • 4 Kathleen Wood
4 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. Any of the following are grounds for early dismissal or in-country consequences at our discretion.

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. Getting a piercing or tattoo
  2. Stealing, or deliberately damaging or defacing any personal property, buildings or materials
  3. Threatening with or using weapons
  4. Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle
  5. Being out of designated area or accommodations after curfew
  6. Breaking group rules

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

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 has taught us that travel can come with risk. For this reason, we recommend that all travelers consider protecting their trip and travel investment by purchasing a travel protection plan with a Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) provision.

To make this process as easy as possible, we have partnered with Travel Insured International, one of the most respected providers in the industry.  Begin by taking a few minutes to get a quote here.

IMPORTANT NOTE: in order to secure coverage with CFAR included, you must purchase the plan within 21 days of the date your initial payment or your deposit for your trip is received. You must also insure 100% of the prepaid, non-refundable trip costs that are subject to cancellation penalties or restrictions and cancel 48 hours or more before your scheduled trip departure date. Please note that CFAR is not available to residents of New York.

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