Abbey Road Programs
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France Study Abroad St. Laurent
Abbey Road Programs 2011 Alumni Reunion Thank you Abbey Road alums for making this year’s summer programs reunion at Bryant Park in New York an unforgettable event. We had our largest turnout to-date (pushing the limits of the party room's capacity) with students from every summer program attending! We would also like to thank the many additional friends and family members in attendance, you guys really added to our holiday cheer!
It was great to see everyone laughing out on the ice skating rink and catching up with their summer friends and staff in our private party room. We couldn’t have asked for a better night of skating and fun! The weather was amazing, clear, sunny and brisk, the hot cocoa and desserts tasted delicious and of course, there were ample amounts of candy-canes on-hand. Of course, in true Abbey Road style, we ordered way too much pizza, but who doesn’t like pizza?

Check-out photos from the event here or on the Abbey Road Facebook fanpage. If you are not a fan of Abbey Road on Facebook yet, be sure to be our bud! Happy Holidays Abbey Road Alums!
Abbey Road Programs 2011 Alumni Abbey Road surprised all 2011 summer program participants with a special package this November that included a T-shirt designed especially for their summer program along with their Alumni Reunion invitation. If you would like to request an additional t-shirt, we are happy to send you one! Your 1st shirt was a gift of Abbey Road, but we ask for a payment of $20 to cover re-printing and shipping costs for any additional shirts.
T-Shirts are screen printed on American Apparel brand 100% Combed Cotton. Please send an e-mail with "Alumni T-Shirt" as the subject line to: and include the following information:

• Full Name and phone number
• Summer 2011 Abbey Road Program
• Current Mailing Address
• Preferred T-Shirt Size: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
• Preferred T-Shirt Cut Style: Female or Male

Make T-Shirt payments via check to:
Abbey Road Programs
8266 Fountain Avenue, Unit B
West Hollywood, CA 90046
*Please expect a 2-3 weeks for delivery time
abbey road almuni 2012 SUMMER PHOTO CONTEST!
The Abbey Road 2012 Alumni Photo Contest starts November 8th and runs through November 15th so be sure to join in! You have one week to upload your favorite photos to the contest via Facebook to be considered for the chance to win awesome prizes. For more information on how to compete, join the event on Facebook.
To learn more about Abbey Road Alumni experiences, please visit our essay and interview pages.
Clifton L., Illinois: Florence Program
Abbey Road Programs Clifton L. "Prior to my Abbey Road trip to Florence, when I talked about the places abroad that I have travelled to I would say, “I visited Tokyo” or “I visited Prague.” However, when I talk about my voyage to Florence I say, "I lived in Florence." This trip to Florence was not only my longest international adventure but also the only one where I felt the most like an independent resident rather than an awkward tourist. Even though it’s only been two years since I went to Durban South Africa, if I went back today, I would feel as much like an uninformed visitor as I did back then..."

Yet, I believe that 15 years could go by before I return to Florence and I would still be able to expertly navigate my way around the city. Of course, there were the early moments of the trip when my fellow Abbey Road travelers and I felt like we were in a foreign maze, thinking to ourselves that we would never be able to navigate through the winding streets and piazzas. But these thoughts lasted for just that, a moment. Within a couple of hours of exploration, my friends and I were pounding the cobblestone like natives. Going to class, going for cappuccinos, going to museums and art galleries, finding the chicest restaurants that served the best gnocchi, or the nicest stores for our shopping desires, we explored and discovered until Florence became our playground and classroom to learn from, and enjoy.

During my time in Florence I studied Italian Art History. While my pre-departure expectations were already very high for the type of educational experience I would have, I could not have begun to fathom how high the class would soar above my wildest imaginings. I took an Advanced Placement Art History course in High school last year. I remember the day we visited the Galleria Academia and witnessed the magnificence of Michelangelo’s David, I kept remembering back to that Advanced Placement class and my 11 other classmates whom I pitied. While their David experience culminated with a tiny, playing card-sized picture of him in our textbook, and a brief caption which claimed that he is glorious, I was beholding his marbled flesh and witnessing his perfection, in person. This same scenario occurred at each artistic masterpiece that our class visited. Each time I stood before an oil painting or bronze sculpture, I was overcome with a feeling of relief that I was lucky enough to be able to absorb the vivid colors and chiseled details from only inches away. No textbook photograph or three-sentence long caption could ever take the place of that initial moment, when you first glimpse a gorgeous fresco or spectacular statue, and your breath is taken away.

Of course every pre-college student thinks that they have what it takes to live away from home with one or two other strangers, where they must navigate through groceries, cleaning, finances, rigorous studying, all while trying to maintain some semblance of a social life…well, maybe not everyone. I was one of those students who thought I had dorm life down to a “T.” But after returning from Italy and living like an adult, in an apartment, with two, initial strangers where we had to navigate through grocery shopping, apartment cleaning, budgeting our money, completing our class assignments, all while making time for gelato outings and shopping excursions, I realize that I would have been at a serious disadvantage without this program. Now that I have survived a month on my own, in a foreign country, I feel more confident than ever that I have gained the knowledge and skills to overcome any obstacle I may face when I start college in the fall.

Rachael L., New York: Green Ticket Scholarship Recipient, Western Civilization
Abbey Road Programs Rachael L. "I knew I wanted to go abroad because I knew that next summer I would have to get a summer job. I thought that this Program specifically (Western Civ.) sounded really appealing. The fact that we got to travel to different cities and learn about a lot of cultures and not just one specifically and I felt that these specific cultures related to what I was learning during my semester. I was working on the farm with tools and using my own hands to produce my own food to make my meals and that’s exactly what people in these ancient societies had to do..."

You spent a summer at Oxford taking classes prior to this trip, what made you want to participate on a travel program through Abbey Road rather than a campus based program?
I knew I wanted to go abroad because I knew that next summer I would have to get a summer job. I thought that this Program specifically (Western Civ.) sounded really appealing. The fact that we got to travel to different cities and learn about a lot of cultures and not just one specifically and I felt that these specific cultures related to what I was learning during my semester. I was working on the farm with tools and using my own hands to produce my own food to make my meals and that’s exactly what people in these ancient societies had to do. They didn’t have advanced tools and I thought it would be interesting to learn how they survived without technology the way I had kind of done for four months.

What drew you to Abbey Road?
I had a friend that went on the summer program in Florence the previous summer. She had come back and told me how amazing the program was and that she met so many great new people and that the leaders were really cool and so when I was deciding on what to do during the summer the name Abbey Road was already in my mind. I had done some Internet research and a couple names popped up. I was mostly researching travel programs that focused on the classics like Latin or Greek. Abbey Road was really the only name I remembered. The size of the program was really attractive too. It was the smallest program I had ever been on. My Oxford program had like 200 people on it!

You were awarded a Green Ticket partial scholarship, what kind of green activities are you involved in?
For four months in the fall of my junior year I went to school on a farm in a small town in Vermont. For half of the day we went to school, but we would spend the other half of the day working on the farm and learning about sustainability and living off the land. We learned about the environment and the woods around us and did a lot of environmental research in the classroom and the surrounding areas. It was a huge learning experience and when I came back to school I was able to use the knowledge that I learned to promote being environmental friendly and help out with the Environmental Action Committee at my school. I had always been a member of the committee at school, but more of an off-hand member. I had always gone to the meetings, but didn’t do that much other than that. After I came back I was more devoted to it and started showing up more regularly and became a lot more interested and involved.

What did it mean to you to win this scholarship?
I really had no idea of whether I would get it or not and the fact that I did was just really amazing. It inspired me to keep doing what I am doing for the environment because the fact that someone thought that what I was doing was so great. [Also, to] be acknowledge for things that I have done and worked so hard on is a great feeling. I’m thinking of studying engineering in college and environmental engineering sounds really appealing because I could be looking out for the environment while making advancements at the same time.

You mentioned wanting to really learn about other cultures through this program, can you describe your instructors and how the learning process was handled?
Well we had two incredibly smart teachers who would rotate back and forth teaching us the art history aspect and the historical aspect of where we were [each day]. Occasionally we would pull out [program] readers and read an excerpt from it and relate what we were reading to where we were standing. Through the lectures and readings we tried to get a better understanding as to the significance of what we were seeing in front of us.

Did you think it was beneficial to have this "academic" component to the trip?
Yes. I feel if I had just been standing in the middle of a museum by myself I really would have had no idea what I was looking at. I would have known what I was seeing was important, but it wouldn’t have any meaning to me. I took away so much more because we were learning about what we were seeing at the same time. I could really understand why these things were being put in a museum, say, in the first place or why people revered the art as much as they did. If I were alone I wouldn’t have understood what I was seeing at all.

Did you have a favorite day on the trip?
I really liked the day trips. One of my favorite days was the visit to Pompeii. I had read stories about Pompeii in Latin class and the fact that a volcano had destroyed Pompeii had never really made sense until I was there. I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen and standing in the middle of the city and being able to see the volcano above us was awesome.

What was your favorite city on the program?
I really liked Athens only because I felt like I had never been anywhere like it and it felt the most different to me compared to New York. Paris I felt was pretty similar to New York and Florence was really fun. It was a lot smaller than the other cities so it felt more intimate. There was a lot time to hang out as a group, which I really liked. I felt like it came at a good time too. It was the third week and everyone was comfortable with each other and after that week, we were all really close.

How would you describe the average student on this program? I would say someone who is enthusiastic and who is really excited about learning and experiencing new cultures whether that is different types of people, different types of food or clothing. Also, a student on this program is really interested in learning, but having fun at the same time.

A traveling program like this involves a lot of coordination and flexibility. Did you think the program was well organized by the staff?
I thought this was the most organized programs I had ever been on. I thought there were always activities to do. I really liked having the syllabus in the beginning at the beginning of the program. Everything was planned out and I always knew what to expect. There were always optional activities that were surprising and new. I was never bored. The staff dynamic seemed great. Chris and John [the instructors] worked really well together they had a really good balance of taking turns teaching. They were always interesting and in terms of Emily [Program Director] and Kathy [Residential Advisor] they were also really great. I never felt like I couldn’t talk to one of them or that they weren’t approachable. They were all really nice.

The program involves daily learning, activities and events as well as sampling local cuisine. Were you given free time as well? Do you think there was a good balance between planned activities and student free time?
I thought the amount of free time was a perfect amount. I never felt like I was running out of things to do. I really appreciated the free time we were given. Just hanging out or wandering around the city with my friends was great, but it was also nice to have that organized time and we didn’t have to worry about creating our own agenda.

Being a senior in high school, do you think the program help prepare you for college in anyway?
I definitely think the small group discussions are a lot like what I can expect in a seminar type class in college and the whole experience of being put into a group of people that I don’t know that come from all different backgrounds is also a lot like college. The teachers on this program were so knowledgeable they seemed more like specialists. They knew what they were talking about and they felt like college professors or what I hope my college professors will be like.

Do you think it’s important for students your age to study abroad?
Yes absolutely. Especially coming back to school and the US I am a more cultured person. I know that’s kind of cliché, but I have seen how different cultures work and how they survive and I feel like it makes learning and school so much more interesting. Right now I am taking art history and learning about the statues of ancient Greece and the fact that I have been there makes it so much more interesting and the fact that I’ve seen some of the art in my textbook is really exciting. I feel like it’s given me a leg up on my classmates. I even point things out when I see them in class!

Would you recommend Abbey Road to a friend?
Absolutely. I’ve already been telling people about it!

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