Nampa students to travel to Cuba on a 10-day cultural immersion trip

Nampa - A group of high school students from Pathways in Education (PIE) Charter School in Nampa will travel to Cuba on a 10-day cultural immersion trip.

"I just want to see the people, the culture...especially the old cars, because that's a great thing," said Diego Prieto, a junior. "But, I just want to immerse myself in a different culture and learn something from it."

Immersing themselves into Cuban culture is exactly what they'll be doing. 

Their trip begins in Havana, and by the end of the 10-day excursion, the students will have explored most of the island. 

"We're going to be visiting a tobacco farm to learn about their economics, to see how tobacco is grown and how cigars are even rolled," said Nikki Yates, math teacher and chaperone for the trip.

The group will even take salsa dancing lessons, visit with a high school in Cuba, and stay with host families. 

A unique exerience for students at PIE, most of whom don't fit in a traditional public school model. 

"Not every kid can function to their best in a large setting, so when they come here, we just want to make sure that they have lots of opportunities to do lots of different things," said Susan Lux, principal. 

An annual international trip, and even a few out-of-state trips during the school year, aim to broaden students' perspectives.

"We do not have sports teams and things like that, like a traditional high school," Yates said. "So we use those funds to allocate it toward experiences and getting students out into the real world.

The public charter school will cover all of the expenses for the students, with the exception of a passort. 

The students will also earn credit for their time abroad.

"I hope that they come back...just...understanding that there's so much more out there than their bubble that they've grown up in," Lux said. "...and willing to take those opportunities and willing to take those experiences that are offered."

The students and their teacher will meet up with a group of 20 other students from other PIE schools across the country, who are also visiting Cuba.

Next school year, a different group of students will take a WWII tour through Germany and Austria.

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