May Term 2019


Welcome to the Episcopal Academy’s Great War May Term 2019 blog! Students will publish daily reflections about their experiences throughout the trip. Today we depart from Philadelphia International Airport to Paris. Our first major stop will be the Hotel National Des Invalides to study the World War I exhibit. We look forward to sharing our evolving perspectives and understandings about the Great War and the cultures of Belgium and France! #EAmayterm


The main dome of the Hotel National Des Invalides. Photo courtesy of the blog. 


Christopher Zimmerman writes about Normandy

Today we started off by meeting our tour guide in a small French village, then moving towards Utah Beach. It was interesting to see how the beach was surrounded by marshes and how there was only one road that led inland. While at Utah Beach we were able to travel through the remains of bunkers. This was interesting inside the museum they had a full B-22 Bomber and a landing craft from D-Day. We then went to Omaha Beach in which we saw more remains of bunkers and the shell holes which were still in the ground. We walked on the top of the cliffs and then moved towards where the infantry had their assault. We finished by seeing the American graveyard where Teddy Roosevelt Jr. was buried which was somber as there were thousands of graves.

Scott Patterson writes about Normandy

The beaches of Omaha and Utah beach are filled with the shells of clams and oysters, I have taken one shell from each of the beaches as a memento. The beach of Utah was particularly memorable because we went during the low tide. The water was a good 700 yards from the the end of the beach. This made me realize how much land the American soldiers needed to cover under heavy German fire. I could picture a wave of human bodies running and yelling towards me as I stood on the concrete pill boxers where the Germans defenders must have been. This was expressed even more at pointe du hoc where we traveled later in the day, the 100 foot cliff and pill boxes almost repelled the American rangers. Going through pointe du hoc I was able to climb into the old German bill boxes and experience how defensible the place was even 74 years later.

Trevor Paolone writes about Normandy and Paris

We opened up the day with a longer bus ride to the beaches at Normandy. One of my favorite parts was the museum at Utah Beach that detailed the soldiers one both sides. I appreciated that they displayed the German soldiers as part of the exhibit as it is a part of the history of the Second World War and deserves to be documented. Another part of this day that was special was Pointe Du Hoc. This was a beautiful location on the side of a cliff that was the site of a German defensive. I personally loved exploring the different bunkers and seeing what huge craters the allied navy had made. I feel as though the French forces are often overlooked as they played their role in the World Wars. We visited the French museum Hotel De Invalides in Paris the following day. I loved how the museum took us through the changes in the French military over time and their involvement in wars.

Scottie Crockett writes about Paris

The city of love most definitely did not disappoint me today! After an exciting couple hours of sight seeing, we got to view the entirety of Paris from the top of the Arc de Triomophe. My breathe was absolutely taken away. It was so hard for my head to comprehend how many people have lived here over the centuries, and more importantly, how much culture and history the city had been able to accumulate. From tales of Napoleons missing body parts to secret movie theaters in the Catacombs, the city has many little things about It that made this day so special to me. However, what truly made my last day in Paris and Europe special, was realizing the new friends I have made while I’ve been here. Au Revoir Paris! You have been to good to me!

Olivia Tuma’s reflection about Paris

Paris was the most exciting parts of my J-term experience. The city is fascianting because of its many different sights and attractions. As cheese as it may be, the Eiffel Tower was my favorite sight because of its beauty and its view of the entire city. Aside from all of the famous tourist attractions, I loved experiencing the city like a local and using their public transportation Although we covered a lot of distance and sights, I never felt tired because I was distracted by the people and busy streets. Feeling apart of the culture and walking to all of our sights was the most entertaining part. Being able to experience Paris again with a guide gave the places we visited more meaning and I was able to appreciate them more. Today was my favorite day, especially the because of the delicious meals we enjoyed together.

Olivia Cunningham’s reflection about Paris

My favorite part about our last day was seeing some of the major monuments and attractions in Paris. The Arc de Triomphe was intriguing because I had never heard much about it before the trip. We went all the way to the top to look into the city which semi tested my fear of heights. We later went to the Eiffel Tower where my fears were really tested when we seemed to be miles up in the sky. As we descended the tower the lights on the tower flickered on as the sun was setting. This was one of the most amazing things i have ever seen. The way the Eiffel Tower stood out in every way was astounding to me; completely breathtaking. This last day was my favorite, in part because we got to be tourists and see things outside of World War Museums and things of that sort, but also because it challenged me to try to face one of my greatest fears. I couldn’t imagine facing my fear of heights anywhere other than the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower with such an amazing group of people.