The View from Inside of Europe: Spring 2016

Over the past four weeks, we have operated thousands of passengers in and around European cities. I was lucky enough to travel to London, Paris, Florence, and Rome. I wondered what it would be like moving around Europe so shortly after the Brussels attacks. Would there be tension in the air? A more visible presence of police on the ground? Would our students feel comfortable and secure moving through airports and crowded spaces as they navigate these incredible places?

I traveled everywhere. I took public transportation with a metro here and a train there. I moved freely through the airports and saw no paranoia. I visited the tourist areas, went to the Louvre, queued up with our groups, dove in and out of museums, stood on the line at Notre Dame, and heard the bells that marked the Easter Sunday mass ring out across the city. I thought, “All is well, life goes on.” 


I stood in St. Peter’s Square and bumped into group after group. I asked the students the same questions, “How are you doing?  How are you feeling?  Do you feel secure?” “Yes, yes, and yes! This is an awesome place. We are so happy that we came. We want to come back and we can’t wait to get home to tell everyone about it,” they all said. I walked through the Roman Forum from the Colosseum and strolled up the Campidoglio. It was a beautiful day; a day with tourists everywhere, curious and satiated by the sites that surrounded them.

I took the train to Florence, the Frecciarossa. As always, the journey was an hour and 25 minutes long and after a 15-minute walk from the station, I was standing by the Duomo. The crowds were everywhere, people were sightseeing, taking pictures, eating gelato, strolling between the piazzas, and enjoying the spring sunshine. When I returned to Rome, I headed back to the Piazza Navona where lots of our groups congregate in the evening. I took some shots of the groups, some silly selfies of course, and chatted with our group leaders, tour managers, and the students about travel and Italy.

Peter Jones at Dinner

It felt good to be out there so soon after the attacks. It felt good to see life moving along. I grabbed a pizza at Baffetto, the best pizza place in Rome, and the next day I took a plane to London to see my mum.

Sitting back in Boston now, I look back upon those few weeks and realized how important it is to get out there, how important our teachers are and how significant their contributions are to a global education to which we all aspire. After all, you can’t teach global if you don’t think global and you don’t act global. Every single one of those students that touched down overseas started a much bigger journey than they ever could have imagined.

Did you spend time in Europe this spring? Let us know what your experience was like in the comments section below!

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  • Lorraine Colby

    April 21, 04 2016 10:17:19

    Hi Peter,
    I think your experiences this spring are a testament to ACIS and the wonderful work you do. I had the joy of taking my granddaughters to London and Paris last month and it was a wonderful experience for them and me. I don’t know what the future will hold for them in terms of world travel, but I feel blessed that I was able to do this first trip with them. You should be very proud of what you do and have done for so many for so many years.
    Warmest regards,

  • Jane Kort

    April 21, 04 2016 10:26:02

    Bonsoir Peter,
    My group enjoyed a fabulous trip to France, one of the best I have had (and they have all been good!). We went to more places and saw more things than ever. The weather was beautiful and the travel arrangements superb!!
    It was life changing for everyone.

    Thank you,

  • Eveline Johnson

    April 26, 04 2016 06:09:30

    Thank you for sharing your observations and insights. Our group experienced the same ….fabulous visits to Italy, and we felt very secure.
    These trips are always amazing, and this year’s was A+ from start to finish, but in the world we live in, I think it is more important than ever to travel.
    Thank you and ACIS for all you do !!!

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