Students get a taste of Europe during their summer vacation


July 15, 1998|By Bonita Formwalt | Bonita Formwalt,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

While many of their friends were heading "down the ocean," a group of Glen Burnie High school students started their summer vacation traveling over the ocean with school-sponsored trips to France, Spain and Germany.

Students in foreign language studies got a first-hand opportunity to explore new cultures and try out their Glen Burnie dialect on the trips.

While the German class is just completing a 23-day trip to Berlin and Munich, 20 students from the school's Spanish language program recently returned from a 15-day tour of Spain. Seventeen-year-old senior Tim Kuczinski was part of the whirlwind tour of Madrid and surrounding cities and towns. Kuczinski said the experience was well worth the effort he put into selling dozens of pizza kits to help raise the $1,500 cost of the trip.

The trip to the resort town of Costa del Sol was the highlight of the trip for Kuczinski, who enjoyed a day's respite at the beach on the Mediterranean. But he also experienced the culture of a country he had learned about for four years.

"The people get up and then work until about 2 o'clock in the afternoon, when they close all the shops and take a nap or stop to have coffee. Then they re-open the stores and stay open until about 10 at night. That's when everyone comes out to have a good time or party," recalled Kuczinski.

Stays in the larger cities did not afford the students the opportunity to practice their language skills, said Kuczinski.

"In the bigger cities and towns, they knew more English and they seemed to cater more to us as visitors, but in the small towns like Toledo we had to speak Spanish," he noted.

Mark Hodski, 16, a senior at Glen Burnie, was one of 11 students who participated in the school's first exchange program with host families in France. While previous classes have enjoyed visits to Europe, this was the first opportunity for students to stay with French families and participate in their daily activities.

Staying with the DeSilva family in Paris, Hodski had a chance to interact with the family while enhancing his language skills in preparation for the advanced placement French V classes he has scheduled for the fall semester. While the father and two brothers in the family spoke fluent English, the mother and younger sister spoke only French.

Even with the language difference, Hodski was able to discern a different level of respect in the French household.

"They were very endearing to one another, calling each other Mother and Father," noted Hodski. "It was like 'Mother, would you pass me the water' -- only in French."

Hodski also noted the time spent together as a family.

"Everything they do, they do as a family. Even when they watch television," Hodski observed.

A varsity athlete at Glen Burnie, Hodski also enjoyed spending time with the family as they cheered on what would become France's first World Cup-winning soccer team.

In addition to time spent with the host families, Glen Burnie students enjoyed sightseeing. Many of Paris' most famous attractions -- the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe -- were within walking distance or an easy commute using the city's Metro system.

After their return home, the students gathered to share their photos and memories of their vacation.

"It was a fun and every picture yields a story," said Hodski.

VFW convention

The men and women of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 434 in Marley returned from a statewide VFW convention last month with several awards, including a first-place award for the Ladies Auxiliary's special project on child abuse.

Other awards were presented to the post for its work with cancer aid and research and efforts to publicize the special projects of the organization.

After an officer's training session this weekend in Westminster, the membership will once again get down to the business at hand -- providing service to hospitalized veterans at Fort Howard.

"The generous donations at our [annual] Buddy Poppy drive will enable us to do our charitable and VA hospital work," noted auxiliary board member Marge McNeese. "The veterans thank us and we thank [the community]."

Flea market

Mariner Health of Glen Burnie will sponsor a community flea market from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday on the grounds of the convalescent center, 7355 E. Furnace Branch Road.

Spaces with tables are available for $15 by calling the activity department at 410-766-3460. All proceeds will benefit the residents' activity fund.

Pub Date: 7/15/98

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