TJCA students and staff experience Germany, Austria, and Switzerland

AVONDALE — While many people traditionally use spring break to travel to the beach or the mountains, several Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy (TJCA) students and staff spent their time away from campus recently in Europe visiting Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. 

The 10-day excursion began with a trip to the charming town of Rothenburg, where students and staff were able to shop in year-round Christmas markets and see one of the most intact medieval city walls in Europe. The Gothic St. Jacob’s Church, which was built approximately 600 years ago, was also part of the tour.

They were also able to travel the Romantic Road and visit Munich. Along the way, stops were made at the Dachau Concentration Camp & Memorial, Nymphenburg Palace Gardens, Alte Pinakothek, Deutsches Museum, BMW Headquarters, the Olympic site of 1972, Frauenkirche, Neues Rathaus, Marienplat and Hofbräuhaus.

Visits were also made to Innsbruck, Lucerne, Heidelberg, Rhineland, and Rudesheim, where the group was able to tour cathedrals, castles, and many other landmarks on the journey. 

Four of the students who attended, Josh Moss, Jude Outten, Owen Pierce, and Emma Lineberger shared some of their experiences from the trip. 

“I enjoyed being able to view a different culture than we have in America,” said Pierce. “Being able to speak a different language to these people also felt very enriching and gave me a sense of wanting to learn German even more so than before.”

For Outten, the day in Switzerland tops her list. 

“We went both to a gorge and hiked up a mountain on the same day,” she said. “Though the entire trip was amazing, being able to experience the natural beauty of Switzerland was something that stuck with me more than anything else. Similarly, I enjoyed experiencing the Alps in Austria substantially.”

Lineberger shared similar experiences.

“I enjoyed the gorge and the hikes through Switzerland,” she said. “It was such an amazing experience to see cities on the top of mountains and experience the natural beauties of the world.”

Moss had a two-pronged answer when it came to his experience.

“I enjoyed the historic significance of Germany,” he said. “I also really enjoyed the food and the locations that weren't as educational.” 

All four students spoke highly of the trip and believe that when given the opportunity of an international trip with TJCA, one should take advantage.

“They are fun,” said Moss. “They broaden your viewpoint and you get to see the many differences in people, customs, and even small things. It helps you see the world a lot better and I gained a more positive outlook after the trip. It also helps you and the people you go with to bond and make new friendships.”

“Going on this trip changed my life,” said Outten. “Being able to experience the world beyond our small town opened my eyes in a way you can grasp only by taking the leap to do it. Of course, you can plan to travel internationally outside of TJCA, but had I not, I do not believe I would have valued the experience the same. Going with TJCA in particular gave me the opportunity to grow closer to my peers and feel a sense of community in a place so far from home.” 

“If you are looking for the perfect amount of fun and knowledge then traveling with TJCA is the best way to go,” said Lineberger. “At TJCA, we are very academically centered. Learning the history of a country is very important but also having fun is as well. I have traveled with TJCA internationally twice and I have had a blast both times. I couldn't have asked for a better group of kids and adults to travel with, not to mention the amazing tour guides. I have never left a trip empty-minded. In fact, it was quite the opposite. The amount of history, stories, and cultures I have learned is extensive.”

“Going on an international trip with TJCA is great because you have people you know there with you experiencing the same things as you for the first time (most likely),” said Pierce. “You also have everything planned out for the most part with free time weaved in, so you won't be overwhelmed with options of things to do and you won't have any time extra to spend because there's enough to do, but there is a plan so you get to experience the country to its fullest.” 

As for memorable experiences, each of the students shared something different. For Pierce, experiencing the nightlife of Germany topped his list. For Moss, it was the interactions on the group hikes. Outten’s was the chance to go on a run with a friend where she was able to take in the Alps and be in awe of the beauty of the country’s landscape. For Lineberger, it was not only the Alps but the castles and architecture as well as the natural beauty of Germany that impressed her most. 

International trips like this one are among many unbelievable opportunities presented to TJCA students. 

It’s not too early to begin preparing for the Spring Break 2024 Trip to France. For more information, visit

In 2025, the spring break trip will be to England. For more information on either trip, reach out to [email protected].