Spring French, German trips cancelled in response to political instability

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Diane Huang

Students on the German (top) and French (bottom) exchange trips during spring of 2015. St. Paul Academy and Summit School’s spring tourist trips to France and Germany have been cancelled due to instability in both countries relating to the Syrian Refugee Crisis and France recently declaring a state of emergency after the numerous attacks by ISIS. “The trips are meant to be fun… I don’t want terrorism to stop us from having this really good experience, however France declared a national state of emergency after the attacks… it just seems like asking for trouble,” Upper School French teacher Sophie Kerman said.

Twenty-eight French and German students at St. Paul Academy and Summit School will have to make new arrangements for this year’s spring break. Due to instability in both countries relating to the Syrian Refugee Crisis and France recently declaring a state of emergency after the numerous attacks by ISIS, teachers have opted to cancel the 2016 backpacking trips to France and Germany. “It is with a heavy heart that I’m writing to let you know that, after long conversations and consultations with school administration, Frau Crowder and I have decided to cancel the 2016 spring break trips,” Upper School French Teacher Sophie Kerman wrote in an email to French and German student’s parents. Instead of waiting until March to make a decision, Kerman and Crowder wanted to give students a chance to make new plans for Spring Break.

Unlike SPA’s biannual spring exchange trips to France and Germany, US German teacher, Jutta Crowder, called it a more “spontaneous” trip.

“There are thousands of people at the train station and we would be right there. We don’t know what it would look like next March,” she said. Crowder also said that this would be a very mobile trip.

The trip is meant to be fun… I don’t want terrorism to stop us from having this really good experience, however France declared a national state of emergency after the attacks… it just seems like asking for trouble”

— Upper School French Teacher Sophie Kerman

Students would ride trains all over Germany, visit popular tourist spots, and stay with families. The trip to France would be similar.

In an interview with Kerman, she expressed that, “The trip is meant to be fun… I don’t want terrorism to stop us from having this really good experience, however France declared a national state of emergency after the attacks… it just seems like asking for trouble,” Kerman said.

Both Kerman and Crowder agreed that their were two parts to the cancellation. The first was the refugee crisis in Germany. The second were the attacks in France. This is where they drew the line.

“Then the Paris attacks happened. With that new situation… we have a second layer. The combination of the two issues made us ask ourselves if the trip would be the same as we wanted it to be… We felt that we would have to much more cautious and controlled about what we did. This was not the trip that we wanted.”

This is not the first trip cancellation. In fact, it is not the first cancellation in the past 15 years. In 2003, the spring trips were cancelled due to the US invasion in Iraq leading into the beginnings of the Iraq War.

Kerman and Crowder are confident that this year’s cancellation will not affect the more formal exchange trips for 2017.