BCA Goes Global (Again)

Sonia Veldhuis

After four years of quarantine and travel restrictions, BCA’s global exchange program has finally reopened! One benefit of attending Bergen County Academies is the variety of global opportunities offered. BCA’s global exchange program allows juniors and seniors to explore the world with specific, targeted agendas. This year, the destinations were a trip to Greece, two London trips, and a trip to Denmark. 

The Greece trip, BCA’s first humanities-based trip, was not restricted by their academy but was only available to seniors. It taught about Greece as the “Birthplace of Democracy”. The seniors were able to see Poisideon’s Temple, Parliament, as well as interact with Greek students from a sister school. The trip was run by history teacher Mr. Madden and lasted from March 18, 2023 to March 23, 2023. 

Meghana Veldhuis, a senior in the Academy for the Advancement of Science and Technology (AAST) put it best. “Going to Greece was amazing. It exposed me to so many ancient sights and I learned lots about how government and society works across the world.” Meghana’s favorite part was trying out traditional Greek foods like gyros and yogurt with honey. Her least favorite part was being tired from changing time zones.  

The first of the two London trips was open to BCA juniors and seniors in the Theater Academy (AVPA-T), run by theater teacher, Mr. Kaplan. In London, the theater kids experienced a traditional English High Tea, along with seeing the National Portrait Gallery, the Museum of the City of London, and the Tower of London. This trip allowed for the theater kids to become immersed into the British theater. This trip was over a week long, from March 16, 2023 to March 24, 2023. 

“One of the most memorable moments was seeing [the musical] Guys and Dolls,” exclaimed AVPA-T senior, Alexi Gardella. “I have never seen the show before and it was advertised as an ‘immersive’ experience so I really didn’t know what to expect, but as I walked onto the stage, I was immediately hit with 1950s NYC in 2023 London. The highlight was at the end of the show, after bowing, the actors joined the audience for a dance party and all of the theater and many of the actors made a huge dance circle. It was unforgettable.”

Alexi found that there was never a dull moment as the schedule was packed with places to see, with his favorite part being the outdoor London marketplace.

The second of the two London trips will be all about medicine in England. In London, the seniors learn about the National Health Service through the University College London (UCL) and visit the medical museum, the Wellcome Collection. This trip is open to any senior or junior who has shown an interest in medicine, being run by the Head of College and Career Affairs, Mr. Kaser, and taking place from May 18, 2023 to May 25, 2023. Academy for Medical Science and Technology (AMST) senior Aimee Zollinger is excited to go on the London trip as she has never traveled outside of America, so she is excited to embrace this experience. 

“I plan on studying biology in college and I have always heard great things about London…I really want the chance to see as many different aspects of London as possible over this trip, from the food, the shopping, tourist attractions, all of it seems really fascinating and I can’t wait to experience it!” 

Finally, seniors who have demonstrated an interest in sustainability will be allowed to attend an immersion trip to Denmark to learn more about global climate and environmental issues. Students from the Aarhus Cathedral School in Denmark visited BCA early in the year to shadow students in BCA’s sustainability club, and now BCA students get to travel to meet up with the Danish students and learn about sustainability in Denmark. This immersion trip is all about climate change, but students will also be visiting the 17th century port in Copenhagen, as well as amusement park Tivoli Gardens and the Rosenborg Palace. This trip is run by Mr. Tronicke, from May 17, 2023 to May 24, 2023. 

Overall, the global trips are fun, unique experiences and the fact that BCA had not just one but four shows how special the opportunities at BCA really are. These opportunities allow juniors and seniors to expand their knowledge of the world around them and immerse themselves in other cultures for about a week. For rising juniors and seniors wishing to apply to next year’s immersion programs, pay attention to emails from Mr. Kaser or Mr. Tronicke and be sure to keep checking the BCA Global website (https://bcaglobal.bergen.org/) for updates.

The BCA exchange group visiting the Greek Parliament. Photo credit: Meghana Veldhuis
The AVPA-T academy before leaving for their London trip. Photo credit: Alexi Gardella
The AVPA-T students walking around London. Photo credit: Alexi Gardella