PHS students in Germany

Photo courtesy of Heather Manthey

PHS students traveling the world this summer

Posted July 8, 2019

Many Plymouth High School students are spending part of their summer in a foreign country.

Costa Rica

PHS teachers Rommy Herrera, Laura Koebel, Court Raemaker, and Meredith Herrera led a group of 29 PHS students to Costa Rica from June 18 to 26.

Highlights included the Baldi hot springs, zip lining, a hanging bridge tour, hiking at Rio Celeste, Manuel Antonio National Park and Beach, and the La Paz waterfall gardens. The group saw lots of wildlife, including sloths, capuchin and howler monkeys, snakes, and toucans. 

The group painted desks in bright new colors for an elementary school as a community service activity. PHS students played soccer with the elementary students, and donated soccer jerseys and school supplies.


PHS German teacher Heaven Elliott and Riverview German teacher Jessica Barrington took nine PHS students to Karben, Germany, from June 10 to July 2 as part of an exchange program with Kurt Schumacher Gesamtschule there.

Students flew into Frankfurt and spent 16 days with a host family in Karben, attending classes in German as well as presenting to German students about Plymouth, Wisconsin, stereotypes, and teen life in the United States. The PHS students spent one day working with third-graders who have had one year of English.

On weekends, students traveled with their host families. One student went to France, another to Amsterdam, another to an auto museum.

The group took an overnight trip to the medieval town of Rothenberg ob der Tauber and toured Rapp's juice factory. The last five days were spent in Hamburg, where students saw the Hercules Monument  fountain and castles, toured Miniature Wonderland museum, and took a bike tour. They also visited the BW Papersystem factory, which has a sister factory in Sheboygan, where one PHS student's father works, to learn about global productions and economics.

Global Navigators

Five PHS students received Global Navigator Scholarships, attending summer study-abroad programs designed and directed by the Council on International Educational Exchange.

Kernen Jarr went to Palma de Mallorca, Spain, from June 8 to 29 to learn about marine science and field work. On the water, she was to swim, snorkel, paddle board, and surf! On land, she had the opportunity to play sports on the beach, visit unique architecture, and try Spanish cuisine. “I chose Palma de Mallorca because I had never been on that side of the world before,” she said. “I am in love with the ocean and wanted to be in an area that was surrounded by it. Marine life interests me and I wanted to further my knowledge on the ocean.”

Carly Kelly will be in Santiago, Dominican Republic, from July 7 to 27, where she will be mentoring youth and raising social awareness. “I selected this location because I wanted to get to know there culture and not be too far from home,” she said. “I am most excited to meet new people and to get to experience a new culture.”

Alex Oty has just arrived in Berlin, Germany, where he will be part of a Global Entrepreneur program. “I look forward to meeting new people, and learning about how global business is conducted,” he said.

Claire Mulder visited Spain for the Exploring Madrid Through the Arts program. “I wanted to learn more about the Spanish culture through the locals,” she said. “On my program I learned many skills that are necessary for most artisans in Spain. The culture was filled with beauty and the people were wonderful! I can’t wait to return!”

Lizzie Reilly is in London from July 7 to 27, diving deeper into different types of theatre study. “I chose this program because I plan on pursuing theatre in the future,” she said. “I’m excited just to experience theatre from a different perspective.”

Only schools offering a Global Education Achievement Certificate can apply for the scholarships, which are given to schools demonstrating a commitment to developing global citizens and enthusiasm for world language instruction. Scholarship recipients then are selected by CIEE from the school’s applicants based on both merit and financial need.

This is the fourth year in a row that PHS has received scholarships. Last year, 12 students visited Germany, Ghana, Mexico, Morocco, Portugal, and Spain. In 2017, four PHS students studied in France, Thailand, the Dominican Republic, and Botswana. In 2016, nine students went to Mexico, Spain, Germany, Botswana, the Dominican Republic, and Chile.

National Security Language Initiative for Youth

Connor Bruckner, who studied Russian in the Facilitated Language Studies class offered by PHS Spanish teacher Laura Koebel, received a scholarship from the U.S. Department of State to study in Daugavpils, Latvia for six weeks.

While there, he will study Russian through a school called Learn Russian in the EU and stay with a host family to be fully immersed in Russian language and culture.

“I am looking forward to meeting new people and seeing the world from a different perspective,” he said. “I want people to know this trip is extremely inexpensive, and you should take Facilitated World Language to be able to receive opportunities to travel the world.”

Learn more:

• Visit the Innovative Opportunities section of our District Report Card to learn more about the unparalleled opportunities for international experiences available to our students.