BSM students take trip of a lifetime


Photo courtesy of Rob Epler

The last time Mr. Epler took a group to Italy was in 2017.

Jack Rahill

Jackie Bucaro , Staff Writer

This year, BSM students had the opportunity to travel to Italy over spring break. Latin teacher Mr. Robert Epler headed the trip, which was aimed towards his own Latin students with the goal of immersing them in ancient Roman culture and the Italian language.

Epler is used to planning the Italy trip for BSM students. He has led the trip five times, with the first time being 15 years ago. Over the years, he’s gotten well accustomed to the process of coordinating an international trip for multiple students. Epler works closely with the travel company WorldStrides to make the process of traveling and staying in Italy as easy as possible, but there are still plenty of moving parts. “These international trips require quite a lot of documentation… everything from notarized permission forms to color copies of passports.  I always have at least two meetings with the student travelers & their parents… and there are a lot of emails back and forth,” Epler said.

Although the journey to Italy may be long, when students arrive, they’re in for a wonderful trip. Epler has gotten lucky with his trips in the past: the weather has been beautiful, allowing students to take in the full beauty of Italy. They toured several of the ancient cultural sites found in Italy. “We went to see Pompeii and a bunch of churches, as well as the Colosseum, all that stuff. It was amazing, very beautiful,” senior Sky Burnside said.

By seeing so many ancient sites, students were able to experience new cultures. Ancient Roman culture can be found everywhere in Italy, and Catholic historical sites are present as well. “We were able to see a lot of Roman and Renaissance-era stuff that we don’t really get to see in America,” sophomore Anders Peterson said.

We were able to see a lot of Roman and Renaissance-era stuff that we don’t really get to see in America

— Anders Peterson

In their exploration of Italy, students were not confined to a tour. At times, they were allowed to explore Italy with their friends, not their entire group. There are some rules around allowing students to roam around a foreign country: they always must have at least one buddy and stay within reach, if only via phone communication. “It was kinda scary but at the same time it was really fun,” Burnside said.

A trip to Italy presented a unique challenge to many students due to the language barrier. While Mr. Epler’s Latin students can understand a fair amount of Italian from Latin roots and students who know other romance languages, like Spanish, may be able to get by, traveling to Italy is a big shift from traveling within the US. However, this gap was found to be a minimal issue. “I would call it more fun than challenging. Most of the people we interact with know at least a little English, and if we at least try some Italian it’s not that hard to communicate… I do give the student travelers a few Italian basics,” Epler said.

All in all, the students found a trip to Italy to be a fun experience. “It was very sunny and very vibrant and it was very nice to just be there,” Peterson said.