UCB Parents Advice about School
Expensive School Trips Oversees
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I hope someone here can give me some helpful feedback:
My 12 year-old 7th grader attends a public middle school in Oakland. Her
world studies/literature teacher (whom she greatly respects and enjoys) has
offered to accompany a selected (they had to write an essay stating why they
should be chosen to participate) group of students on a 12 day trip to Greece
this June. The trip arrangements are offered through "Educational Tours,
Inc." The teacher has offered to meet with the group regularly to help them
learn some vocabulary and additional history. This sounds good so far,
doesn't it? Here comes the hard part: The trip costs about $2400, and the
teacher has encouraged the kids to raise the $$ themselves. We can't afford
such an expense; we can barely afford a couple of basic summer day-camp
weeks! I don't have much confidence that these children can raise that kind
of money before the end of May! My daughter wants badly to go, but she has
shown very little interest in creating ways to earn those precious $$. Is it
too offensive to have her write to all our friends asking for their support?
I'm sure some people would be happy to help her, but I want the effort to
come from my daughter, and not ME. I would love for her to have this
experience, but I have a variety of concerns. Should we be worried about the
Mideast conflicts, inasmuch as trouble has spread to Greece in the past (Mr.
Klinghofer comes to mind)? Does an overseas trip seem appropriate for a 12
year old who has never been away from home for an extended period of time? I
hate to "rain" on her dreams, but I am in a quandary. Her friends parent's
seem able to afford the entire thing; most of them have only one child, I
have three. I do try to keep things equitable among my daughters, but things
like this make that seem crazy! Does anyone here know of any organizations
that might be helpful to her? I would like to hear from other parents on
I'm writing anonymously, since she would "die" if I identified myself or her!
My daughter is also scheduled to take the trip to Greece with the Oakland
I will be able to help her go, although she will have to babysit as well as earn
money by doing extra chores, etc. to contribute. Our one family trip
abroad was incredibly educational, and my daughter is very independendent,
so I think that aspect will be okay.
But when I saw the letter with the costs encouraging kids to write everyone
they know, I had my doubts. I imagine that many of the students' whose
families cannot afford it didn't even apply, and the high cost and
fund-raising approach encouraged by the teacher concerned me. I think it
would be better for the school or parents to organize a more appropriate
fund-raising effort. Unfortunately, I don't have time right now to push for
such an effort. If someone else started it, I would contribute time to it.
I am also concerned about the safety, and will be getting more info before
final commitment to the trip.
Please keep my posting anonymous also...we parents are a very embarassing
About the teacher and the group. Even if the teacher is wonderful, he may
not be experienced in the social-emotional needs of 12 yr olds (if he thinks
they can earn $2400 he doesn't know too much about the economics of
pre-teens. ) My son is an experienced camp counselor and has attended and
counseled at one of the best camps in California. He has also attended other
camps and has counseled at one of the academic camps offered to bright
middle schoolers who want to spend time learning academics on vacation. He
felt that the structure and supervision in the academic camp was not enough
for the kids (to put it mildly). Supervising middle schoolers 7/24 is a
very big deal, not just for safety but for the dynamics of the group.
While $2400 does not seem like an unreasonable amount for the trip to Greece
you are describing, if you can't afford it (now), you can't afford it (now).
She's only 12, and there will be many more opportunities that come around as
the years go on; perhaps they will come at a better time, when she herself is
more solvent (does she save?), and also maybe a more mature kid would benefit
even more from the expenditure and experience, She'll be disappointed, but
you'll be understanding. I can tell. It seems like soliciting from everyone
you know would open the door to lots of conflict among your kids of the "she
did it to go to Greece, why can't I do it to go to basketball camp?" sort.
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