Spring break trips too expensive

Alana Profit

Spain’s got delicious tapas and exotic flamenco dancing, India has the Taj Mahal and the Lotus Temple, and let’s not forget the fabulous gelato and rich Catholic roots of Italy. Sounds like a fun opportunity for Spring Break, right?

Wrong. The reality is that these trips, costing anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000, are much too expensive a luxury for the average Benilde-St. Margaret’s student to afford, seeing as a sizable number of students who attend school here receive some sort of financial aid or are members of the middle class without much expendable income.

The lack of external funding for these trips creates a stereotypical student body where the top tier is the rich kids who get what they want when they want it and don’t care about anyone else. They want to go to Spain, Italy, or India over Spring Break, they’ve got it. If someone really wants to go and would benefit from the experience greatly, but can’t pay for it? Not the problem of the people who are already going.

A simple and logical solution would be to offer students financial aid for these trips as well, seeing as BSM offers assistance for every other activity fee including the Pay It Forward tour over MEA break. So why, then, isn’t there any for the spring break trips?

Of course, fundraising is always an option, but that often proves ineffective in gathering large sums of money in a relatively short time frame. The Spanish trip offers fundraising in the form of selling $35 engraved baking pans, which seem nice to the unaware buyer, but coming from an experienced baker, they’re a crappy product. Sure, they’re nice to look at and adults who want to help a kid go overseas will buy them, but I will keep my money, thank you.

Fundraising in the form of asking around is also problematic. Realistically speaking, people tend to know people who have the same income as they do. Approaching an average income family for money that could be otherwise put towards bills and cost of living is just absurd and inconsiderate.

Teachers can lecture about multiculturalism and history until they’re blue in the face, but students don’t have the same understanding of what’s going if they can’t see, live, or touch it. People learn and retain more if they can relate a lesson to a place or memory.

The students who go also have the opportunity to receive an extra half credit on their transcripts. Competitive colleges look for that unique edge during the admissions process, so a credit that shows a student’s willingness to put forth the extra work says a lot about his or her work ethic and personality.

A person with less money can be just as willing to complete the task, but no college will ever get to see that because the student didn’t even get to go. With students already having a disadvantage if they are lower income, this just adds insult to injury.

The more people who have the opportunity to go on these trips, the better, so what’s the hold up in making these trips more accessible to everyone? Schools have a goal to help all their students reach their highest potential, but there shouldn’t be an additional price tag to go along with it. If something is being offered to all students, but only some can participate due to economic restraints, that’s not helping all students reach their highest potential, and it’s helping to create a stereotypical undercurrent in the BSM community.