Steamboat Mountain School students share stories from abroad | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Mountain School students share stories from abroad

Teresa Ristow

— When traveling to Vietnam with her classmates from Steamboat Mountain School during the spring, freshman Ashley Simon was quickly captivated by the country's delicious food.

"It was love at first bite," said Simon, who enjoyed trying foods such as Vietnamese spring rolls and pho.

But when the group headed for Cambodia, Simon wasn't sure her taste buds would be equally impressed.

"Cambodia's food was a little more out there," said Simon, who, along with here classmates, decided to try fried tarantula while on their trip.

"The tarantula was not bad at all," Simon said. "It tasted like beef jerky."

Simon's trip to Vietnam and Cambodia was one of three trips taken by groups of students in the school's Global Immersion Studies program, which aims to bring students to four countries on four continents during their four years of high school.

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Other students this spring traveled to India and Tanzania, with all three groups returning from their trips a little more than three weeks ago.

Students shared their experiences, photos and videos during a presentation at Bud Werner Memorial Library on Thursday.

The traveling tradition is as old as Steamboat Mountain School itself, which was founded by Lowell Whiteman, and originally known as The Lowell Whiteman School, in 1957.

About 75 percent of students are part of the GIS program, while the rest are competitive skiers and snowboarders, who use the time when their classmates are away and ski season is finished to catch up on coursework.

"This gives them a world view that few students their age have access to," said Meg Morse, head of school, during Thursday's event, which was well attended by parents, classmates and school staff.

Morse thanked the trip leaders and Margi Missling-Root, director of experiential education for the school, for helping all of the trips run smoothly.

Students shared how the trips helped them mature and learn and better understand other cultures or appreciate their own lives.

In Tanzania, junior Nicole Zedeck was overwhelmed by the many animals she saw on a traditional African safari.

"It takes experiential learning out of the classroom, to a whole new level," she said.

In India, student Mason Reed had a special experience with a young girl named Pooja, who drew him pictures.

"We tried to integrate ourselves into a community," Reed said.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow