One of my most memorable summers was my trip down under to New Zealand and Australia when I had the opportunity to be a part of the People To People Youth Science Student Ambassador Exchange program. Founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to broaden students' knowledge, understanding, and respect of other countries, my specific trip offered me a well organized, well planned, informative and fun way to see another country with the help of knowledgeable hosts.
Our delegation's twenty day stay itinerary was filled with action-packed thrills from diving on the Great Barrier Reef to nature hikes in the tropics of New Zealand. Our group also travelled to a Maori village where we stayed overnight learning about the native tribal rituals, dances, customs, beliefs, and way of life in the city of Rotorua, a city surrounded with hot springs, essential for the tribes survival.
Another aspect of the trip was a homestay with a New Zealand family. This offered me a chance to ask questions and become well informed and acquainted with a resident family.
The trip also included museum visits, long flights and bus rides. I quickly felt at home with the new friends I met from my own delegation. I am still closely involved with many of friends from the trip. If you get a chance to be involved with the People to People summer programs, I highly recommend doing it.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.