The 2019 – 2020 academic year was the first school year in GAAQ's school history where students were able to venture outside the Qatari borders to learn about other cultures around the world. For the immediate future, GEMS American Academy has plans to offer trips that focus on service learning, culture, environmental awareness and community involvement as these tenets are embedded into various areas of the curriculum in middle and high school.
GEMS American Academy Qatar, in partnership with Ecoventures, launched our first overseas ski trip to the beautiful Gudauri, Georgia. We stayed in the luxurious Alpina Hotel, a four-star establishment equipped with a game room, a lounge, a fireplace, and an astounding view of the Georgian mountains. We chose to do a ski trip in order to give students a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Many of our students had never seen snow before. The group began each day with a buffet breakfast and reviewed the day’s itinerary. Once on the hill, students separated into their skill level groups and spent the rest of the day either skiing or snowboarding. Our evenings were spent bonding through games, stories and food!
In the future (in a post-COVID world), our goal for overseas trips is to continue developing our students as global citizens. In fact, we soon have big plans to extend our overseas trips to Grade 8 students, as well! Additionally, we hope to offer a service trip for high school; service trips are an important aspect of learning because they take students out of their comfort zones and place them within the culture, lifestyle and communities of those they are trying to aid.
Student Reflections on Ski Trip to the Republic of Georgia
“The Georgia trip provided me with new experiences that I’ve never had like snowboarding. Now, I can add this to the activities that I have accomplished so far.”
“The trip not only gave me the essential skills in snowboarding, but it also gave me the opportunity to connect with my fellow GAAQ students. We bonded over hot cocoa, karaoke by the fireplace and engaging in a fierce game of bowling. These are memories that I will truly cherish.”
Romeo Ezekiel Ocfemio
“The Georgia trip is definitely one of the highlights of my year so far. I was able to snowboard, enjoy Georgia’s scenery and spend a lot of time having fun with my friends. It is definitely an experience I will never forget.”
“With the combination of a completely new experience like skiing mixed with being able to hang out with close friends, it is a trip that will stay with me for some time. So many amazing memories that we will still talk about for months. I wish I could return there every day.”
“Once I skied down the mountain for the first time, I realized that there was this life that I never knew. I opened my arms wide open, released my worries and saw the white beautiful snow coming down. I made friends and memories which both will never be forgotten.”
Mohamed Al Farra
“My trip to Georgia did not only provide lifetime memories with my friends and peers, it also gives me the unforgettable experience of learning how to ski.”
“One of the best memories I have that I will never forget and forever cherish.”
Bianca Alessandra Estores
“It was the most amazing trip of my life and the fact that I had my friends with me made the experience even better. I made the best memories in Georgia and became close with people which I never thought I would get close with. So far, this trip is my top highlight of my time at GAAQ and I would recommend everyone who has the opportunity to go on this trip to take it. You won’t regret it.”