Naperville North choir heads to Europe over spring break: is the trip worth the price?


Naperville North High School routinely provides students with various travel opportunities, allowing them to globalize their education. From an architectural tour of downtown Chicago to an international trip to Costa Rica, students have the opportunity to gain unforgettable lifetime experiences. One of such trips is the NNHS choir program’s spring break trip to Europe. This year, choir students and chaperones are making the trip for the first time since 2018, traveling to the cities of Budapest, Hungary, Vienna, Austria and Prague, Czech Republic. This picture-perfect trip comes at a cost, however, begging the question if the travel opportunity is worth the hefty price tag. 

To attend, students had to pay a total of $4,329 in installments over the course of the first semester. Though the 2023 trip is not the most expensive trip the choir has ever taken, it is the most expensive trip to be offered since COVID-19. The total cost includes flights, bus transportation, hotels, breakfast and dinner, museum fees and venue fees. It does not include lunch, student souvenirs or travel insurance. Senior Gia Lostumbo says her initial reaction to the price of the trip differed greatly from when the excursion was announced in Sept. 

“I was kind of shocked about it because 4,000 dollars is a lot of money, but my parents were [saying] ‘Oh, that’s less expensive than I thought it would be,’” Lostumbo said.

It is worth noting that the steep cost doesn’t come without a unique array of activities for students to participate in. The choir has learned 20 songs to be performed in historic venues such as St. Elizabeth Church in Budapest and Melnik Evangelische Kirche in Prague. In addition to the performance experiences, students will have the opportunity to explore historic European cities—visiting museums, music venues and landmarks such as Mozart’s home, a cruise on the River Danube and Krumlov Castle. 

When interviewed, students shared various activities and experiences they were excited to partake in on the trip.

What are you most excited to do on this trip?

Heidi Haumesser / 11: “I’m most excited to spend time with my friends and have fun doing the excursions. I’m also excited to sing in some of the places where music was created to be sung.”

Camila Arratia / 11: “I’m excited to go see the Jewish quarters in Prague because I’m Jewish and it’s really exciting to see… one of the ghettos that was really prominent in that time period.”

Meaghan Inglis / 10: “I’m so excited to sing some really beautiful songs in some really beautiful spaces because I think it’s a really special opportunity.”

Easton Ours / 12: “I’ve never been out of the country so the opportunity to explore different cultures and new food… it’s super cool.”

Because the last European trip was five years ago, many students were unsure of the quality and pace of the trip. Without students around them to vouch for the quality of the Europe trip experience, students were forced to guess how the trip might feel for them. This inability to gauge the trip could have affected some students’ decisions to attend the trip especially with the high price tag attached to it.  

What made you ultimately decide to go despite not knowing what the trip had in store and the high price tag?

Luka Perez / 11: “We live in America and that’s obviously pretty far away from Europe. Not everyone has the chance to go to Europe and to have an opportunity like this with your classmates [to] do something that you like like singing, it’s worth it.” 

Abby Mesarchik / 9: “It’s a great experience and I don’t think experiences like this with your friends comes along very often, so I think it’s really cool.”

Julia Cancela / 9: “At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to [go] because I didn’t know how many people were going to be able to but I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go and… I can get closer to other people that I haven’t been so close to.”

Justin Bach / 12: “I’ve never been to Europe and especially, I’ve never traveled out in a group with my friends to create music so that experience itself made me so willing to go.”

Mae Adams / 11: “I always love to travel…it’s once in a lifetime to go to Europe and especially on a choir trip to sing in such beautiful locations and historically important locations… it’s gonna be worth it because it’s once in a lifetime.”

Despite a high price tag, NNHS choir students are experiencing a spring break filled with connection, music and a once in a lifetime experience they will never forget.