2022 St Mary’s Academy Spain and Morocco Program
|Travel Dates:||June 17, 2022 - June 28, 2022|
Airfare not included in program tuition
Review all materials
What to Expect
Please read through all of the information below. More details will be added as your departure draws closer.
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.
|June 17||USA||Today the group will travel from the US to Madrid, Spain.||Airplane|
|June 18||Madrid||We'll arrive in Madrid and settle into the hotel after the long day of travel. After some brief orientation meetings we'll have a quick snack of churros con chocolate and visit El Prado, one of the most impressive art museums in the world. After that, we'll enjoy a typical Spanish lunch in the historic center. The afternoon will be spent visiting the Plaza Mayor, and checking out the views from the Royal Palace and the Templo de Debod, an Egyptian temple dating back to the 2nd century B.C. that was donated to Spain. In the evening, we'll enjoy our first meal of tapas and traditional Spanish food.||TOC hostel|
|June 19||Madrid - Granada||This morning, we'll stroll through the Retiro Park, once the king's personal refuge, and enjoy lunch nearby. Then we'll travel south to Granada, one of the most idyllic cities in all of Spain, which was once the thriving capital of the Moorish empire. After settling into our hotel and before dinner, we'll have a guided tour of the old Albayzin, the traditional Gypsy neighborhood, and the historic Jewish quarter.||Hotel Macía Monasterio de los Basilios|
|June 20||Granada||We'll have a guided tour of Alhambra during the day, one of the most photogenic sites on the planet and a place dripping with fascinating history. Afterwards, we'll have some free time to wander through the old quarter, possibly visit a traditional Moroccan tea house, and attend a flamenco performance in a cave above town this evening.||Hotel Macía Monasterio de los Basilios|
|June 21||Granada - Ronda||This morning we're off to Ronda in the heart of Andalucia and visit the precipitous ravine before enjoying a fun and engaging scavenger hunt tour around town. In the evening, we'll put our Spanish skills to use with a dinner of tapas with Spanish students. ¿Que guay, no?!||Enfrente Arte|
|June 22||Ronda - Sevilla - Tangier||Today we're headed to Morocco! We begin by continuing on to Sevilla (or Malaga) where we'll catch a flight to Tangier in northern Morocco, a city with incredible history and character. Upon arrival we'll settle into our riad and explore our neighborhood before dinner.||Le Royal|
|June 23||Tangier - Assilah - Tangier||After breakfast the group will be privately transported to Assilah, a 45 minutes bus ride. Assilah is a small city located on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, south of Tangier. Its old white medina, surrounded by ramparts and well-preserved doors, was built in the 15th century by Portuguese settlers. The medina is an artistic center renowned for its colorful, modern murals. The students will take a guided tour that will end with a late lunch. Everyone will have the chance to partake in a Moroccan tradition, henna, before returning to Tangier for the evening.||Le Royal|
|June 24||Tangier - Chefchaouen||After breakfast the group will be privately transported to Chefchaouen, a small hamlet located in the Rif Mountains in the northwest of Morocco. It is famous for the remarkable buildings in different shades of faded blue! Leatherwork and weaving workshops line its steep cobbled paths. Upon arrival students will check into their riad and enjoy the afternoon by walking to visit the city’s Ras El-Maa, where local women come to do their household washing. There, the group will sit alongside the mountain stream and sip Moroccan mint tea at a local cafe. Afterwards the group will walk through the Kasbah before dinner.||Chefchaouen Riad|
|June 25||Chefchaouen||After breakfast the students will take a guided tour through Chefchaouen's medina. The city is built on a hill so be prepared for stairs! Despite the effort, walking is the best way to experience the city as there are tons of narrow streets that cars can’t access. The group will learn all about this old fortress and the history it preserves. After lunch everyone will have a moment to sip mint tea on a rooftop terrace cafe before some free time to do some souvenir shopping!||Chefchaouen Riad|
|June 26||Chefchaouen - Casablanca||After breakfast the group will be privately transported to Casablanca, a roughly five hour trip. Casablanca is a port city and a commercial center located in the west of Morocco, facing the Atlantic Ocean. The French colonial heritage of the city is reflected in the architecture of the city center, combining Moorish style and European Art Deco. Upon arriving to Morocco's largest metropolitan city, we will check in to our Riad. Afterwards we will have time to walk through the historical habous before dinner!||Casablanca Riad|
|June 27||Casablanca||After breakfast we will visit the Hassan II Mosque, the largest mosque in Morocco and the 13th largest in the world (its minaret is the world's tallest at 689 ft.). The walls are composed of handcrafted marble and the roof is retractable; it also stands on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic Ocean, allowing worshippers to pray over the sea. Students will take a guided tour inside the mosque and then pair up in groups to photograph and explore it’s stunning exterior architecture. We will spend the afternoon near the seaside before enjoying a celebratory final dinner.||Casablanca Riad|
|June 28||Casablanca - USA||On our way home. ¡Hasta luego!||Your own bed, eventually!|
Need to Raise Money? We Have You Covered.
Our travelers are provided with funding opportunities that are easy to implement and fun to take part in. Our flagship fundraiser involves selling fair trade, organic, carbon-neutral coffee from a women’s collective in Peru. There is no limit to the amount you can earn, so get started now by clicking the link below!
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.
TOC is a spacious and hip hotel just minutes away from the metro and major tourist attractions. This is a modern and hi-tech hotel with a friendly staff and a great breakfast! Free Wi-Fi access throughout the building keeps everyone feeling connected. Travelers will have rooms and bathrooms which are exclusive to our group.
Monasterio Basilio is located in the center of Granada and provides an ideal location from which to explore the city. This cozy hotel can accommodate up to four students per room with ensuite bathrooms and the quirky aesthetic that defines this hotel makes for a memorable stay.
Enfrente Arte is a unique hotel in the heart of Ronda, Spain. Each room has its own character, and is themed differently. All rooms include an ensuite bathroom, air conditioning and central heating. Free Wi-Fi access throughout the building keeps everyone feeling connected. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.
Grand Hotel Villa de France Tangier
This four star hotel was built in the eighteenth century and is located in the historic center of Tangier. The architecture of the Grand Hotel Villa de France, along with its fountains, pool, terraces and gardens, today create a convivial, relaxing atmosphere in one of North Africa’s most magical cities. Students will have internet access in order to stay connected, and will be grouped in double or triple occupancy rooms according to gender.
Melliber Hotel Casablanca
For its ideal location in Casablanca, next to the sea. The Melliber Appart Hotel is a beautiful building that has all the commodities to make your stay unforgettable. Free Wi-Fi found throughout the building will keep everyone connected. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender.
Casa del Norte – Chefchaouen
Casa del Norte is a riad located in the heart of Chefchaouen’s medina and offers a great way to experience Moroccan culture. Students will be split by gender and share double, triple or quadruple rooms based on availability. Wifi is available in common areas and breakfast is included.
|Type||Carrier Name||Carrier Code||Flight Number||Departure Airport & City||Departure Date and Time||Arrival Airport & City||Arrival Date and Time|
DEN – Denver International Airport, Denver, United States
June 16, 2022 at 05:35 PM
FRA – Frankfurt Airport, Frankfurt, Germany
June 17, 2022 at 11:10 AM
FRA – Frankfurt Airport, Frankfurt, Germany
June 17, 2022 at 01:05 PM
MAD – Madrid–Barajas Airport, Madrid, Spain
June 17, 2022 at 03:40 PM
CMN – Mohammed V International Airport, Casablanca, Morocco
June 27, 2022 at 01:40 AM
FRA – Frankfurt Airport, Frankfurt, Germany
June 27, 2022 at 06:05 AM
FRA – Frankfurt Airport, Frankfurt, Germany
June 27, 2022 at 11:05 AM
DEN – Denver International Airport, Denver, United States
June 27, 2022 at 01:05 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. Although we can ensure that our groups arrive to the airport with ample time and follow all airline instructions, 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 unexpected costs incurred by travelers. Our programs officially begin and end in our host countries. That being said, our travelers’ well-being and safety is our number one priority, so please know that should flight delays/cancellations occur we will do everything we can to get travelers home in a timely manner and will do our best to keep family members updated on developments.
Host Community and Project Details
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.
Socks (a mixture of good hiking socks and casual socks)
T-shirts (some quick dry)
Light-weight, long sleeve shirts
Light sweater or sweatshirt
Light rain jacket
Travel/athletic shorts that are breathable and light
Comfortable/hiking/everyday pants (NOT all jeans)
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/hiking shoes
Sandals (optional for beach)
Good sun hat
Important Note for Female Travelers: In the interest of being respectful while still allowing travelers to be comfortable under the heat, (in public at least) shirts should cover shoulders and shorts or skirts/dresses should be conservative- that is, thighs, shoulders and decollete should be covered.
TOILETRIES: BRING THE BASIC TOILETRIES YOU NEED PLUS:
Sunscreen (you will use a lot)
Mosquito repellent (you will use a lot)
Band Aids and Neosporin
Prescription medication in properly marked original container
Biodegradable soap, shampoo, etc. That is to say, vegetable based, biodegradable, and phosphate-free.
Journal and pen
Camera (digital, disposable, waterproof)
Power Converter and Adapter: Morocco runs on voltage of 230 Frequency of 50 Hz. Power sockets types: C / D / E / K
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
Water filtration device
1 quick-dry towel
Deck of cards or other portable games
Host family gift
Travelers often contact us regarding what an appropriate gift might be for their student’s host family. Host families are often curious about where our students come from and their families in the U.S. As such, we recommend a simple gift that describes, represents or depicts your home. Well-received gifts in the past have included calendars or picture/coffee table books from your city or state, a framed picture of your family, paraphernalia from a local sports team, toys, soccer balls, school supplies, or something produced or grown in your hometown, like chocolate, local candy, t-shirts, etc. The most important thing to keep in mind is not to worry about this… Anything, no matter its value, will be well received!
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.
Said Ait Said
Morocco Country Director & Program Leader
ISTA NTIC Syba Ofppt, Marrakech
Said was born in Marrakech, Morocco and was raised in the old Medina as well as an off the grid Berber village in the High Atlas Mountains. He enjoys camping, taking road trips and carpentry projects. In 2012 he graduated in IT Development and started working as a freelance contractor for Technical Specifications Development. A year later he started managing accommodations and excursions for travelers in Morocco, where he met his wife, who is American. They are a combination of Berber, Moroccan and American; speaking English, French, Arabic and Tamazighit. He also has a two year old son, named Solomon. Said and his family are currently living in Marrakech, embracing their multi-cultural lifestyle!
Spain Country Director
Loyola University of Chicago – B.A. Spanish, Minor in Psychology
Born and raised outside of Chicago to two avid travelers and teachers, Kelsey has always had a passion for exploration and education, which also led to an interest in language. In fact, her first jobs and volunteer opportunities were as an assistant teacher, translator and interpreter. The opportunity to attend a youth leadership conference in Cuba and a study abroad semester in Spain during university cemented her desire to start a life abroad. She has been living in Madrid for ten years and is currently teaching English to Nursing and Physical Therapy students at the Universidad Pontificia Comillas. In her spare time, you can find her exploring new places with friends and family, doing yoga everywhere she can, listening to too many podcasts and desperately trying to add more languages to her repertoire.
Morocco Country Director
University of Arizona
Stafford was raised in Shreveport, Louisiana and then graduated High School in Dallas, Texas. After attending the University of Arizona, she set off traveling with her sister through Southeast Asia, Europe and Northern Africa in 2013. After traveling through Morocco, she decided to make it her home a year later and started an online shop, selling artisanal handicrafts from Morocco back to the States. While living in Tangier, she met her husband in 2014 while she was traveling through Marrakech. He learned to speak English for her and she moved to Marrakech for him. They now have small wholesale company together and both work of Walking Tree Travel! She enjoys photography, decorating and taking family vacations to small Moroccan villages on the Atlantic coast.
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.
Below is a list of the travelers enrolled on the program.
- 1 Ana Saucedo
- 2 Ariana Hodlewsky
- 3 Celia Bard
- 4 Elle Franciscus
- 5 Emily Rodriguez
- 6 Hannah Reyes
- 7 Lucille Walker
- 8 Margaret Turner
- 9 Marlowe Blanchard
- 10 Michelle Hayden
- 11 Nell Taplin
- 12 Olivia Goodreau
- 13 Pamela Applegate
- 14 Rory Treuhaft
- 15 Vivian Bates
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.
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.
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.
- Possessing, consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs
- Associating with participants while they are in possession of or are consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs
- 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
- Getting a piercing or tattoo
- Stealing, or deliberately damaging or defacing any personal property, buildings or materials
- Threatening with or using weapons
- Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle
- Being out of designated area or accommodations after curfew
- 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 Morocco 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.
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.