Perrysburg Schools teachers had a work session before starting summer break on June 9.
Three days later teacher Bill Hilt began a six-week period where he visited three countries and only spent four days at home.
The social studies teacher at Perrysburg Junior High School is president of the World Affairs Council of Northwest Ohio. He visited Hungary, Turkey, and Croatia, returning home Saturday. The first trek during his summer break was to Hungary with three students through the council. They spent time learning about day-to-day life as well as historical information.
The World Affairs Council of Northwest Ohio, a non-profit, has a mission to promote awareness and engagement of world affairs in the area. The organization sends students and educations to different countries to learn about cultures, and also hosts visitors from other countries.
Mr. Hilt went to Turkey with four other Ohio teachers in conjunction with the Turkish Cultural Foundation from June 27 to July 11, then he went to Croatia with his Robert to visit a former exchanged student the Hilts hosted from there.
“It was a lot,” Mr. Hilt said as an understatement.
Even though his summer break is about gone without spending much time at home, Mr. Hilt said traveling is vital for his job.
“I can engage students much more about Troy when I show them a picture of me at the wall of Troy,” he said. “When we were there a Troy archaeologist who wrote the book on the city personally took us around for a tour - that experience is hard to beat.”
He‘ll hear “bring your toilet paper” or other such comments because some Americans have misconceptions about economies in other countries. However, Mr. Hilt noted that there was a water park in Hungary that he said was better than a popular such park in this region, and he remarked that the schools are basically the same.
The biggest difference observed was at a school in Hungary where officials were proud to provide lockers to students free of charge. Most school‘s don’t have lockers or charge fees for their use. Also teachers move from classroom to classroom instead of students. One of Turkey‘s best schools featured statues of alumni.
Perrysburg High School student Sarah Soliman, 17, was one of the three students to go to Hungary; she was in Egypt and unavailable for comment. Two Eastwood students went too.
“It is important for students to travel internationally, especially on programs more than vacations,” Mr. Hilt said. “They are specifically hosted with students their age and really live day-to-day like they live and learn about their culture.”
Mr. Hilt is hoping some art students including dancers from Hungary will be able to visit northwest Ohio to check out some schools and universities next spring or summer and also stage a performance.
Contact Matt Thompson at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.