Spotlight on an ACP Graduate: Micaia Gerstner’s Summer Tour of Europe

ACP brings together students from around the world, uniting different cultural backgrounds and unique perspectives. Our students and alumni often spend their summers in exciting ways, visiting countries across the globe. For example, Micaia Gerstner, a graduate from ACP’s class of 2019, spent part of her summer vacation on a captivating tour of Europe. She explored several European countries, perusing the cultures and customs on display. To learn more about Micaia’s first summer after graduating high school, I asked her a few questions:

Micaia Gerstner

Q1. How did you spend your 2019 summer vacation?

A1. The big trip of my summer vacation was a trip all around Europe with my mom. We left on June 12 and returned June 28.

Q2. What countries did you visit?

A2. We went to the Czech Republic (Prague), the Netherlands (Amsterdam/Holland), France (Paris), and England (London).

Micaia Gerstner

Q3. What was your favorite part of your trip?

A3. My favorite part was definitely Amsterdam. My ancestors immigrated to the United States from the Netherlands, so I was always interested in visiting the homeland! I found the city absolutely breathtaking, and the architecture was like nothing I had ever seen before. We didn’t meet a single person who didn’t speak English. At one point, my mom and I were eating in a small cafe, and the waiter began speaking to us in Dutch. When he realized that we didn’t speak Dutch, he greeted us and explained the menu with no hesitation and no accent in English. Finally, my favorite artist has always been Van Gogh, so we stopped by the Van Gogh museum.

Q4. What would you recommend to people who are planning to visit Europe in the future?

Micaia Gerstner

A4. Definitely plan in advance. We had been planning this trip since I was a sophomore. We were able to save money and had time to plan what we wanted to do. I’d highly recommend taking public transit and downloading a map of the city you will be visiting. Also, for every country, we stayed in Airbnbs that were closer to local festivities.

Q5: Which tourist destinations did you enjoy seeing the most?

A5. As for touristy things, I’d recommend climbing to the top of the clock tower in Prague to see the whole city. For Amsterdam, I enjoyed simply exploring the city and going to local cafes. When in Paris, make sure you are always watching your belongings because the pickpocketers do not mess around. Someone took my mom’s wallet out of her fanny pack, and she didn’t even notice. Going to the Eiffel Tower is 100% worth it! I was scared that it wouldn’t live up to all the hype and praise it gets, but I was awestruck just looking at the tower itself. The views did not fall short of expectations either. We actually took a tour where we were able to skip all the lines and get to the top fairly quick when compared to the two-hour wait that others had, but make sure you buy these tickets far in advance. I also really enjoyed going to Montmartre, a city close by to Paris. It is a very long, uphill walk from where the metro drops you off, but the views are impeccable. Finally, in London. I really just enjoyed the city. Make sure you go to the theatre to see any production of your choosing and stop by Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guard!

Q6. Now that you have left ACP, what do you miss most?

Micaia Gerstner

A6. I feel like I was pretty social at ACP and made friends with people in the classes below me. So, I’d definitely say I miss seeing them everyday, even though I still try to stay in touch. I miss how close-knit the school is.

Q7: What is your dream future vacation? Would you want to return to Europe?

A7. My dream vacation is going to anywhere in Greece. I’m also very interested in going to Italy and Spain. Europe is so beautiful, and the possibilities are endless.

Amid Europe’s numerous tourist destinations, Micaia had the opportunity to learn more about her family’s Netherlands history. She loved spending time in Europe and even plans to study abroad in Amsterdam in the future. Micaia’s vacation to Europe sounds like the experience of a lifetime!