Get Started

April 16, 2024

Sojourn in Italy

It’s easy to spot Academy of the Holy Angels students who are traveling through Italy. They are the young women standing on the steps of Santa Croce having a debate over who was the most important Florentine.


“Educational travel is so important in shaping our students’ developing minds,” said trip organizer and AHA world language teacher Laura Kraytem. “By deepening their understanding of history, art, and culture, they can better appreciate those who came before them. This will aid them in better preparing for and contributing to what is next. At AHA, we prepare our students to become leaders for a global society, and what better way to teach them than through educational travel?” 


Over the course of eight days, Kraytem and AHA Spanish teacher Carmín Torres-Fontanez visited Rome, Florence, Assisi, Lucca, Pisa, San Gimignano, and Siena. The students enjoyed a Tuscan farm lunch and a cooking class. Highlights also include a day in the Uffizi Galleries and the Bargello Museum.

A visit to Pisa.


Travelers included Attiana Badolati of Norwood; Sofia Cardoso of Westwood; Julia Covino of Sparkill, New York; Maggie Danahy of Oradell; Sarah David of Cresskill; Tristan Fowler of Upper Nyack, New York; Katelyn Freeburn of Mahwah; Mary Gassib of Franklin Lakes; Celia Giannantonio and Nora Giannantonio of Emerson; Kate Hynes of Park Ridge; Emily H. Kim of Englewood Cliffs; Anissa Lena of Moonachie; Gianna Pasquale of Blauvelt, New York; Breanna Pawlikowski of New Milford; Devyn Pupo of Tappan, New York; and Mia Tinoco of Ridgefield.


“I still can’t decide on a single experience I didn’t absolutely love,” Anissa Lena said of her immersion experience. “For me, the Italy trip was nothing short of sensational. I was especially delighted to be able to engage in conversation with locals using the curriculum I have studied during all four years of my high school career. Apart from language and personal experience growing up in an Italian household, AP Italian Language and Culture has provided me with the necessary tools to understand the cultural nuances in the country.”


This senior added that in-person visits to experience functional and decorative art, including the Colosseum, helped her make connections to her studies of AP Art History.


“I am tremendously grateful to Signora Kraytem and all those who were involved in the making of this trip,” Lena added. “I’ve grown so much closer to my friends and my heritage during my time in Italy.”

The group enjoying a cooking class in Florence.


San Gimignano was a highlight for Emily H. Kim.


“I loved all of the shops, and the view was impeccable,” Kim shared. “This town broadened my perspective on Italian culture as it was unlike the bigger and more popular cities I had learned or heard about before actually visiting Italy.”


She explained that San Gimignano is a small, medieval town that is perched on a hill. Kim, who was fascinated with the architecture and how it reflects local history, noted that the height of the towers constructed within the city are representations of power.


Katelyn Freeburn was delighted by the local culture, which, she observed, “makes Italy, Italy.”


“There was always something to look at or hear,” Freeburn said. She added that each day was an opportunity to learn something new about art, food, or other cultural elements.


“I think this trip expanded my understanding of Italian culture in a way that I can connect with it more now,” she added. “I see and understand it more and how passionate they are and how much they love to party and turn every small or big milestone into a celebration. They know that even the smallest achievements should mean something in their lives.” .