Navy Pier with the John Hancock Building in the background (above) and top to bottom at right an artifact at the National Museum of Mexican Art gift shop, the “Electric Kidney Bean” at Millennium Park, and students participating in a French cooking lesson at Alliance Français de Chicago.
If the idea of Spanish or French field trip to Chicago seems novel to you, we hasten to say that some of the Spanish and French cultural icons of North America reside right in the Windy City.
VISIT CANADA pioneered the concept of short domestic bus trips for students of foreign languages with its affordable, highly respected trips to Montréal and Québec City (by motorcoach) for students of French, and eventually, with its groundbreaking programs to New York City and Chicago for students of French and Spanish.
The theory was (and still is) that unless your students get interested, early, in the history and culture of the places where the languages they are studying are spoken, they will not stay interested in studying vocabulary and syntax in the long run.
For years, the solution to this problem had been to take language students overseas, but for every student who can afford to take a trip to Spain and France, and for every teacher who can take two weeks away from their families to take them there, there are 25 or more who cannot.
Fortunately for students and teachers in the Midwest, some of the French and Spanish cultural icons of North America reside right in Chicago.
Why Learn Spanish? Mildred A. “Ma” Ferguson, the first female governor of Texas from 1925 to 1927 reputedly said, while defending her opposition to teaching Spanish in Texas’ public schools, “If the King's English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it's good enough for the children of Texas!" We respectfully disagree.
For students of SPANISH, our trips to Chicago (where 1.5 million native Spanish-speakers reside) begin with a visit to Instituto Cervantes, a public, not-for-profit institution founded by the Government of Spain in 1991 to promote Spanish language teaching and knowledge of the cultures of Spanish speaking countries throughout the world.
Next, there is the renowned collection at the National Museum of Mexican Art, the largest museum of Mexican art in the United States, and the works of the Spanish Masters at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Your bilingual guide will also take you to the new, 20,000 square foot Ancient Americas Exhibit at the Field Museum of Natural History, where you can walk through an 800-year-old pueblo dwelling, and see a full-sized replica of the original Aztec Sun Stone, the most famous of all Aztec artifacts, and learn about the Aztec and the Inca societies, and how they built powerful empires.
And, students can take a Latin dance lesson or a paella cooking lesson at one of the Midwest's premier Spanish restaurants, or dine at authentic Mexican that it is so authentic, you won’t believe you’re still in the United States, or visit the Spanish Castle of Count Don Raimundo II for dinner and an evening of pageantry and horsemanship in 11th Century Spain.
Why Learn French? "To be acquainted with the French tongue is become a part of polite education and, to a man who has any idea of mixing in a large circle, absolutely necessary." George Washington, (in a letter writen in 1771 to the headmaster of the school where his stepson, Jacky Custis, who had not excelled in this subject, was enrolled). We wholeheartedly agree!
For students of FRENCH, our trips begin with a visit to Alliance Française de Chicago, a Paris-based, French-government-subsidized organization founded in 1883 by scientist Louis Pasteur and writer Jules Verne, among others, to promote the language and culture of French speaking peoples around the world. There you can take a French language and music lesson that is simultaneously fun, engaging and educational for students of all ages and all abilities.
At the Art Institute of Chicago, French students will see iconic paintings that they’ve been learning about since they began studying French by Georges Seurat, Gustave Caillebotte, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet (among others) from the Museum’s renowned collection or European paintings.
And your groups can dine at restaurants as authentically French as any in North America, where French cooking lessons are also an option.
In short, every student will be inspired on some level to continue studying French (and the French) upon returning to school at the end of the trip.
Finally, our GENERAL EDUCATIONAL TRIPS (as well as many of our Foreign Language trips) include some of the Midwest’s (if not the world's) pre-eminent museums (the Museum of Science and Industry and Shedd Aquarium, to name two) and tourist attractions, including Navy Pier and the John Hancock Building Observatory (both pictured above).
In short, planning a FRENCH and/or SPANISH or GENERAL EDUCATIONAL trip to Chicago is really a matter of deciding what NOT to do.
Each VISIT CHICAGO trip is priced individually. Our motorcoach trips originate in school parking lots in hundreds of large and small communities throughout the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic region and the Midwest, served by scores of bus charter operators, and it is just not possible to price all of these trips in advance.
However, prices range generally from about $475 to $550 for a three-day motorcoach trip and from about $700 to $750 for a four-day trip (that is, from about $175 per day depending on the number of students and the specific content of the trip).
For schools traveling to Chicago by motorcoach, prices depend, more than anything else, upon bus charter costs from your school parking lot, and the number of students sharing those costs (and those prices go up and down as the number of paid participants go down and up).
Our prices include the following: transportation by chartered motorcoach, very nice hotel accommodations, breakfasts and dinners daily, comprehensive trip cancellation and medical insurance, all admissions, the services of licensed professional guides throughout each day, and dedicated security guards in the hotels overnight.
There are never any registration or enrollment fees, and no hidden charges.
Your trip your own, and unless you arrange to travel with another nearby school (which we are happy to facilitate), we do not combine groups. Each trip unique and priced accordingly.
For further information you can CONTACT US by email, or better yet, by calling us at 800.456.5552. We love to talk to our clients and we’re certain that you will find a brief telephone conversation well worth the effort.
Get Started on your unforgettable experience today!