Academy Students Travel Abroad

Academy Students Travel Abroad

“We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment,” – Hilaire Belloc, Anglo-French writer and historian.


Traveling for fulfillment is just what a group of 20 students from the Academy of Notre Dame (NDA) did in February as part of their Travel Abroad program. “”Obtaining knowledge from different parts of the world offers a unique educational benefit,” says Pam Bernazani, Interim Principal of the Upper School. “To see other parts of the world with your own eyes and to experience their culture and history first-hand is the kind of lesson that is difficult to replicate in the classroom.”


Each year, students vote on which country they would like to visit during the Travel Abroad trip over school break. This year, the group of students and four faculty members traveled overseas to the United Kingdom, where they visited more than 30 points of interest in five cities in England, Ireland and Scotland and immersed themselves in the culture, history and cuisine of the region.


After a red eye flight from Boston to Heathrow, London, on February 15, the group met up with their tour guide and immediately began their excursions visiting landmarks such as Westminster Abbey. Each day following began a new adventure.


Over the course of the trip, students were brought to areas that inspired the Harry Potter series, walked along the Thames River, toured the homes of William Shakespeare and his wife, Anne Hathaway, and even witnessed first-hand the rich history of Warwick Castle, a site that was first built upon in 914.


“[Warwick Castle is] an amazing site loaded with history,” said Bernazani. “We were able to climb the towers and walk along the walls, enjoying incredible views from the top. Plus, we learned about the strong women leaders of the period which is always a bonus for our students visiting from an all-girls high school.”


During their travels, students were eager to visit Trinity College in Oxford, one of 38 colleges that make up the University of Oxford. The 800-year-old building’s history left a mark on the students.


“Walking throughout most of England and the landmarks was almost as if traveling through time,” says NDA freshman Maeve McComas. “The history and spiritual connection that I felt at Trinity College and viewing the Book of Kells was calming and yet thrilling at the same time.”


Wrapping up the second half of the trip, the group made their way through Hadrian’s Wall, walked through Scottish landmarks in Edinburgh (Calton Hill and Holyrood House), visited the National Museum of Ireland Archaeology History, paid respect at the Garden of Remembrance, and attended Evensong services at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  


Throughout their adventures, students and faculty dined on English, Irish and Scottish staple food items. “Bangers and mash,” meat pie, Yorkshire pudding, and Irish stew were a few of the many meals that were sampled.


The benefits of the Travel Abroad program also extends to the connections made with the people met along the way and touches upon NDA’s Hallmark 5: “We embrace the gift of diversity” and Hallmark 7: “We develop holistic learning communities which educate for life.”


If you are interested in reading more about NDA’s latest trip abroad to the United Kingdom, visit For more information about the all-girls Upper School for grades 9-12 or the co-ed program for Pre-K through grade 8, email or call 978-649-7611, Ext. 337.