SJR Geography students have just returned from the trip of a lifetime after spending 10 days in California and Las Vegas to support their studies.
After arriving in Studio City, California’s leafy suburb (famous for its stretch of tall palm trees) and checking into their hotel complete with heated pool, the first stop for the group was Vasquez Rocks, an 80 million year old formation caused by the movement of plate tectonics, the same force responsible for the earthquakes in the area. No trip to the Golden State would be complete without a visit to the stunning Californian coastline, so students spent the afternoon at the iconic Santa Monica beach, which is known for its long stretch of sand and mountain vistas. Whilst at Santa Monica, students conducted research for their Unit 2 Coastal topic, assessing the impact tourists have on this stretch of the Pacific coast.
Students managed to tick a lot off their bucket lists in the days following, visiting Venice Beach Muscle Beach, touring Hollywood Boulevard and climbing to the top of Griffiths Observatory, which provided a fantastic panoramic view of Los Angeles at sunset.
Disneyland surprisingly proved to be not only fun, but also very educational. As well as enjoying the day on the rides, watching the parade and the firework show, students conducted further research into globalisation and gathered information on where products were made along with the conditions workers may face.
If visiting one state wasn’t enough, the students also crossed the California/Nevada border to experience the bright lights and glamour of Las Vegas. Visiting the Hoover Dam was another unique experience and the tour of the facility gave an insight into the Energy topic studied at A2. After their work was completed, the students still had the chance to explore the city and found some time for shopping or riding the famous hotel rollercoasters, before watching the famous Bellagio fountain show.
After a quick stint in the desert, the group headed back to Los Angeles for the last couple of nights and watched one of America’s most loved sports – Baseball! LA Dodgers provided evening entertainment and despite the home team losing the game, there were a lot of new baseball fans.
The final day involved a visit to the California Science Centre where students researched local hazards and the impact of biodiversity and got to see the ‘Endeavour,’ a NASA Space Shuttle. After 10 days of fully immersing themselves in the culture and sights, the students returned to LAX airport for their UK bound flight. They had gained a lot of memories, experiences and more importantly, case study material to use in their exams!
Dean Colasurdo, Course Leader for Geography, said, “It is important for students to put their learning into context and their trip to the USA provided so many opportunities for them to do this. Experiencing life beyond the textbook is extremely valuable and encourages students to see things from different perspectives and to get a sense of other cultures.”