Discover the world with EF Tours


   Most children spend their academic journey listening to teachers and absorbing information then regurgitating it on to assignments and tests. While this form of learning is essential and lays the foundation for future academic and career pursuits, nothing truly educates young people like traveling abroad.

   Travel allows you to see the parts of the world that you learn about in history books first hand. It is also an excellent way for students to open their minds to learning about new cultures and meet new people.

   “It is important for young people to travel because you need to get out and see the world,” said Mr. Scott Fabert Church, French and history teacher. “I can explain about the coliseum, the forum, Mussolini, and where he’s giving speeches and inciting crowds in World War II. What you don’t realize until you’re there is that all of these things took place within a distance of 100 meters from you and it is one of those things that just hits you. I like to see that not just for me but for the students as well.”

   The company Education First, or EF, is an excellent program for young people to use to travel affordably. It offers a variety of countries across the globe, with some of the most popular locations being South Korea, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Japan, the UK, Costa Rica, and China. 

   Our school offers EF tour opportunities, with Mr. Fabert Church being the host.  

   “The first tour we did was the grand tour of France in 2014 and that tour isn’t even available anymore,” said Mr. Fabert Church. “We spent two weeks in France and Monaco and we went around the entire country in two weeks. You don’t get to see everything but what you do see gives you a great glimpse of what to look at.”

   Mr. Church signed up to be involved in EF tours in 2012. He enjoyed his first one so much that he continued to host them for over ten years. He will likely continue to host for a few more years.

   “I signed up because the previous teachers that have led tours had moved on and left the building,” said Mr. Church. “So once the information came through the mail addressed to me, I knew it was my time to try and pursue it. Something came through at the right time and I called and set up an appointment with a tour consultant dedicated to our region.”

   Mr. Church has enjoyed many of the EF tours that he has been on, but his favorite so far was the 2018, Discover South Africa tour. Only a few people were able to go but they had an amazing time. 

    “We actually went on a safari one day in Kruger National Park and we saw all the animals that you can see, except for lions,” said Mr. Church. “I’m still upset with my tour guide about that. Our local tour director that day heard of a sighting of a cheetah, and they’re really rare so they were racing to get everyone to see the cheetah, but by then it was gone and it was like one valley over from where we were. We had a leopard right next to the main road, we saw hyenas, we saw giraffes… we saw penguins.”

   While there, they also got to witness several pieces of history such as NelsonMandela’s prison cell.

   Last summer, he was the tour leader for a two week World War II trip to the UK, France, Belgium, Germany, and Austria. I went on this trip along with several other Guilford students. 

   These tours, however, are not limited to Guilford students. College students and chaperones can attend the trips. Sometimes groups from different states will also meet up and experience the tour together. On the most recent tour, Guilford students met up with students from North Carolina and Florida. We stayed at several different hotels throughout the course of the trip because we were constantly moving from city to city and country to country.

   This trip was my first ever EF Tour and I had the experience of a lifetime. Although the trip there was exhausting with us taking a nine hour flight to arrive in London and carrying heavy luggage, I was blown away once we began riding through the city on a bus. 

   I’ve always been fascinated by London and Europe in general because of their extensive history and incredible fashion but seeing it in person was breathtaking. The Romanesque architecture and telephone boxes were astounding. Even the way that the streets were paved was beautiful. 

   “I loved pretty much everything, the country is so different from the city but they both have beauty,” said Adrian Maurer, a junior that attended the trip with me. “The architecture is so different but… the same.”

   Some of the incredible, educational places we got to visit were the Churchill War Rooms in London, the beaches of Normandy where D-Day took place, Versailles Palace, Dachau Concentration Camp, several cathedrals including Cologne Cathedral, various WWII veteran cemeteries, the forest where Battle of the Bulge took place in Cologne, and the Eagle’s Nest in Salzburg, Austria. 

   Another one of the people that attended the tour with me was Guilford junior, Lesley Arce. It was her first EF tour just like me and Adrian. One of her favorite parts of the trip was staying at the Vayamundo Houffalize in Houffalize, Belgium. 

   “My favorite part was the pool in Belgium,” said Lesley Arce. “ There were less adults hovering over us and we put all of our drama aside and just had fun.”

   This hotel not only had a pool but a petting zoo as well. Many of us went to pet and feed the donkeys. We also got to enjoy a buffet dinner with local food. 

   Although this trip is a blast, there are a lot of important ways to prepare for going abroad to ensure that things run smoothly. For instance, making a checklist on everything you need to pack and avoiding packing too heavy. Mr. Church gives out a list of recommended packing items along with several other useful items for the trip such as coin purses, EF tour backpacks, and more. 

   The items that he doesn’t give out, he recommends purchasing. One of the things I bought that he recommended was space saver bags. They were really efficient at compressing my clothes and making tons of extra room in my suitcase. I also bought a passport holder with a neck pouch and it was excellent at helping me keep track of my essentials.  

   If you would be interested in going on an EF tour consider these useful tips. These tours are also available, but not limited to, any Guilford student even if you haven’t taken a language course. The upcoming tour is the Adriatic Odyssey to Greece and Italy in the summer of 2024.

   Some key highlights of this tour are receiving a guided tour of Vatican City, enjoying a traditional Greek Dinner, visiting a Roman Colosseum, seeing the Roman Forum, visiting the Temple of Apollo, and spending free time shopping and eating local cuisine.

   “People can stop by my classroom or email me anytime!” said Mr. Church.

   You can email Mr. Church at [email protected] and his room number is 103 for anyone that would like to stop by.