Every country has its cultural wealth, but few have seen it spread across the globe in the way of the U.S.A. It can thus be hard to get to the “core” of the country, and even harder to go beyond the glossy image of what it means to be American, as sold by popular culture. But with the right educational excursions, students can uncover the true heart of the “land of the free”.
Los Angeles is known the world over for its glitz and glamour. The home of Hollywood has been immortalised in film and a host of iconic images. It should come as no surprise, then, to students on school tours that L.A. not only represents the U.S.A. internationally, but also has a starring role in shaping modern and historic American culture. From its heady blend of Latin and other migrant cultures, its role in the stratification and class battles of American history, its preservation of emblematic architecture and art, and, of course, its contribution to media and entertainment, to get beneath the skin of the City Angeles is to dig deep into a central part of the American psyche.
New York is a city with such an aura that many New Yorkers see themselves as a world apart from the rest of the United States of America. But from the days of the first settlers to the waves of early and recent immigration that has built the city from its physical and cultural foundations, the Big Apple represents much that is quintessentially American. With its museums and galleries, food carts and fine dining, subways to brownstone terraces, and its Statue of Liberty and Central Park, there is so much to see and do in New York. Students on school tours can truly immerse in the heart of a cultural energy unlike any other.
The warmth of Florida and its proximity to Central and South America has drawn many retirees and immigrants to its sun kissed towns. But for keen young learners, school tours will reveal Florida to be more than just a bastion of retirement and Latin expatriate culture. The Sunshine State has a vibe all its own, which represents unique strands of American culture not found in the North or the South. From the proud Cuban districts to Orlando’s theme parks, there is something for every student to learn and enjoy in an essential vibrant American fashion.
There is no denying the continuing influence of the U.S.A’s Irish roots, and perhaps there is no place to better taste a slice of this integral part of America than Boston. With its chilly winters and booming university culture, the home of basketball legends the Boston Celtics has been witness to more than its fare share of nation building events. Students on school tours here will get a flavour quite distinct to that of the popular metropolises of New York and L.A., yet will nonetheless feel themselves immersed in a uniquely American scene.