TJCA students embark on journey to France


AVONDALE – A group of enthusiastic Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy (TJCA) students recently embarked on an unforgettable international adventure to France during spring break. The trip aimed to immerse students in French culture, history, and language and offered a unique educational experience beyond the classroom.

The students, parents, and teachers spent ten days exploring the country's most iconic sites. From the bustling streets of Paris to the picturesque villages of Provence, the group was exposed to France's rich cultural tapestry.

Cultural Immersion and Historical Exploration

The tour’s itinerary was carefully curated to balance educational activities and leisure. In Paris, students visited world-renowned landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and Notre Dame Cathedral. They also took a guided tour of the Palace of Versailles, where they marveled at the opulent architecture and lush gardens. 

Cultural Activities and Local Cuisine

The students actively engaged in various cultural activities that went far beyond the historical and linguistic aspects normally associated with international travel. 

One of the trip's highlights was a visit to the charming region of Provence. The students explored quaint villages, visited lavender fields, and toured local markets. Free time during the trip allowed students to explore, shop, and bond with friends. Traveling with classmates and friends, rather than just with family, offered a unique and unforgettable experience.

A Memorable Educational Experience

The trip to France was a journey across the Atlantic and into the heart of French culture and history. It provided TJCA students with a broader perspective on the world and an appreciation for the rich diversity of human experience. Seeing new things, learning about a different culture, and experiencing everyday life in France was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

When the students returned home they carried with them souvenirs, photographs, and a wealth of memories and experiences that had profoundly shaped their outlook on the world. The trip underscored the transformative power of global education and the profound impact of experiential learning, leaving the students with a broader perspective and a deeper appreciation for the rich diversity of human experience.


The Students’ Experience


My favorite part of the trip was going on a nighttime walk in Lyon and visiting a beach in Nice. I also loved going to the Palace of Versailles and touring the Louvre. I'd recommend this type of trip because seeing a different country and being able to experience a different culture is amazing. Also, the memories and the sights will last forever (especially if you go with or make friends).” - Lis Sousa Gordiano.


“I enjoyed being in Paris and seeing the Eiffel Tower; however, my favorite part was seeing the PSG Soccer stadium on the day they played against Barcelona. I also loved going on the river cruise on the Seine River that runs through the center of Paris. I would recommend this trip because going out of the country, seeing how people around the world live, and experiencing all the things that come with traveling are cool. It opens your mind up to different cultures and makes you realize how unique and different other countries are from each other. It's also great to go with a group so you don't get pickpocketed or lost.” - Tochi Akuneme. 


“It's an awesome experience traveling across the world not just by yourself with your family or parents, but with your classmates and friends. Getting to hang out and see things you've never seen before is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Their culture, how people over there are very different from people over here, their language, how they dress, the respect that you have to give towards them, what they do on an everyday basis, just learning about their life was amazing.” - Isabella Hernandez


“I recommend this trip because of how much you get to do that you otherwise wouldn't be able to do. Riding on a tour bus around a country makes traveling much easier. You can see more and do more on this trip than on a normal trip. It also is very cost-effective. I enjoyed learning about history, especially the history of Normandy in World War II. Other fun topics I learned about were the paintings in the Louvre, the history of old buildings in Paris, and the history and accomplishments of Napoleon.” - Loyd Wilmoth 


The Teachers’ Experience


One of the TJCA faculty members on the trip was Jesse Deaton, who experienced France for the first time over spring break. 


“ I don't speak any French, nor was I intrigued by the idea of escargot, so I was quite nervous to dive into the country. However, we were warmly welcomed by our guide and swept around France in such a way that we got to experience everything from the Northern to the Southern coast! I loved exploring the cities, drinking good coffee, eating amazing pastries, and seeing the astounding and diverse architecture. I got to do everything on my wishlist for the trip, but I was so busy that I forgot to buy a baguette!”


“Going on this trip with my current and future students had to be one of the best features of the trip. Experiencing a "first" with my students is so fulfilling. Normally, it's their first revelation of a character, the first time they understand a grammatical concept or their first college acceptance. In another country, though, it may be the first time they hear another language, eat a new food, or see a building older than ours. I love helping students find these opportunities! On the France trip, I helped a student get her first cup of coffee, saw many students try escargot for the first time, and strolled through a city from the 1100s while eating delicious pastries.”  


“I recommend these trips to individual students or families at TJ for two reasons: the value and the community. We offer trips that give access to the most experiences for the least amount of money. Multiple cities, many museums, castles and chateaus, dinners in the cities, and air-conditioned buses are all experiences that students and families should look forward to on our trips. The group that you travel with can make or break a trip. Even if you have never had a conversation with anyone on the trip, traveling with peers is an amazing experience! It allows you to bond over a shared passion, create new conversations, and experience a new side of the world together. The opportunity to bond over a cultural exchange also extends to families and friends. We couldn't take these trips without parent support or parent attendance!” 


Upcoming Trips


The international trips at TJCA are on a four-year rotation. High school students can travel to England in 2025, Italy in 2026, and Spain in 2027. In 2028, the cycle restarts with a trip to France. 


Signups for next year’s England and Scotland trip are underway, and 15 spots are still available. If you enroll by May 31, you will receive $200 off. Contact [email protected] for more information. 

International Trips Program


These international trips and studies aim to expose as many of our high school students as possible to the broader world and to bring their studies “to life.”


When you start saving for these trips in Grammar School, it equates to less than $50 a month. If you begin saving in middle school, the cost is less than $120 a month, but the memories formed and the experiences you have learned during the trip are priceless. 


TJCA also offers individual advising for students interested in summer and gap year international experiences. Past students have been awarded US State Department scholarships to study in Germany, South Korea, and Morocco. 


For more information about our programs, contact the Dean of Student Affairs, Kimberly Lloyd, at [email protected].