Gerstell travels to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand

On June 24, students, parents, and an alum from Gerstell Academy traveled to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand, on an eleven-day trip to experience the culture, religion, history, and food of the region. They were accompanied by history teacher David Greenspoon, who led the trip, and science department head Elaine Shea, who chaperoned.

In Vietnam, travelers boated through the Mekong Delta and took a rickshaw through Ho Chi Minh City. They also learned more about the legacy of the Vietnam War, including using the tunnels used by the Vietcong and visiting Vietnam’s museum dedicated to the conflict, the War Remnants Museum. In Cambodia, students explored the legendary Angkor Wat Hindu-Buddhist temple compound, a UNESCO Heritage site that is labelled the largest religious complex in the world by Guinness and featured on the Cambodian flag. They also learned about the tragic impact of the Khmer Rouge on the nation in the 1970s. A highlight of their time in Cambodia was speaking with the Aki Ra at the Landmine Museum. Aki Ra was a child soldier who placed landmines in Cambodia, but then dedicated his life to removing landmines, raised children harmed by landmines, and founded the Museum. Finally, in Thailand, students witnessed the splendor of historic sites such as the Grand Palace, the giant Reclining Buddha, and the fourteenth century city of Ayyuthaya. Travelers also learned about farming in the region and got to try planting rice on their own. They also boated through canals of Thailand and saw homes built on the water’s edge as well as large lizards called Asian water monitors. 

Students learned about the arts in all three countries, touring artisan shops and watching dance performances in Cambodia and Thailand. Moreover, in all three countries, travelers got to try diverse cuisines, including pho in Vietnam, fish amok in Cambodia, and papaya salad in Thailand. In Cambodia, their exploration of food included a cooking class where they prepared their dinner. The group travelled with two schools from Anne Arundel County, Maryland. 
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