Students travel the world for hands-on learning

Student%27s+on+the+Alaska+trip+smile+after+an+afternoon+fishing+trip+in+which+they+learned+more+about+the+region%27s+ecology+and+wildlife.
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Students travel the world for hands-on learning

Student's on the Alaska trip smile after an afternoon fishing trip in which they learned more about the region's ecology and wildlife.

Student's on the Alaska trip smile after an afternoon fishing trip in which they learned more about the region's ecology and wildlife.

provided by Chris Spenner

Student's on the Alaska trip smile after an afternoon fishing trip in which they learned more about the region's ecology and wildlife.

provided by Chris Spenner

provided by Chris Spenner

Student's on the Alaska trip smile after an afternoon fishing trip in which they learned more about the region's ecology and wildlife.

by Lucy Ge, Asst. News Editor

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Four Harker-sponsored trips took place over the summer: students taking Japanese visited Japan, members of journalism toured London, students taking the summer ecology class traveled to Alaska and the cast and crew of Urinetown went to Edinburgh, Scotland to take part in the Fringe Festival.

The Japan immersion trip took place from June 6 to June 16, chaperoned by upper school Japanese teachers Keiko Irino and Yumiko Aridomi. The students flew to Tokyo, where they visited many historic locations. They then flew to the island of Hokkaido and attended Japanese classes at a local high school, relaxed in the Koganeyu hot spring and learned about the lives of Ainu people.

provided by The Harker Blog
Harker students on the Japan trip smile alongside students and teachers at Ritsumeikan Keisho High where they took Japanese classes.

“Something new I learned was that Japanese people had different social standards than Americans, and I was surprised by how hospitable they were,” Elvis Han (10) said. “I overall loved this trip because I was able to make so many new friends and bond with them on a deeper level.”

Over 5,000 miles away, journalism students toured London and learned about documentary photography from industry professionals from June 7 to June 18. They were taught by photographer Mark Murray, and attended a course on documentary photography at the London College of Communications. 

provided by Ellen Austin
Eleven journalism students traveled with director of journalism Ellen Austin to London for ten days of photography course and practice.

“Usually, during the [school] year, we just report what’s going on at school, but going out to a completely different city in a different country opened up my eyes to what [we] can do in the outside world,” Arely Sun (10) said. “I got more comfortable with shooting in public and experimenting with photos in general.”

Meanwhile, students taking the summer ecology course, taught by upper school biology teacher Dr. Kate Schafer and physics and science research teacher Chris Spenner, traveled to Alaska from June 23 to July 3, after attending classes at the upper school and travelling across California to meet with farmers and union workers, work with graduate students and learn about research in relation to climate science. In Alaska, students learned about wild fisheries, botany and the ecology of various islands, snorkeled, hiked and saw the totem poles of the Tlingit tribe. 

“We were in a cabin in the woods [on the Inian Islands], but it was like a utopia where there was a like-minded group of people who were all learning to interact with nature in a more direct [way],” Natasha Yen (11) said.

The performing arts trip was later during the summer, from July 27 to Aug. 9. After touring London for three days, the cast and crew of Urinetown traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland, where they performed in the Fringe Festival, the largest performing arts festival in the world. The cast marketed and sold out three out of four shows.

“The most memorable moment of the trip was the last chord of our last show,” Alissa Gao (11) said. “We could’ve sworn it shook the venue… you could feel how much we were putting into that final note.”

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  • The Urinetown cast performs together at Edinburgh, Scotland's Fringe Festival, the largest performing arts festival in the world.