A suspicious envelope with my name and address sat on the table. It was from a program called People to People International which I was unfamiliar with. Gathering my strength, I opened it and read the letter. It was an invitation to study in France, Italy and Malta with 39 other students! After a long time of deciding whether to go we went to the Information Meeting. The screening was very informative and there were other students who were thinking about going on the trip. I already had my mind set. Nothing was going to change my coarse.
Students & Teachers
During our meetings we were informed with neccessary information like packing, finances, cultural facts, etc., and then we had activities where we got to know the other delegates and delegation leaders. It was a lot of fun. But since there was a public disturbance in France, some people backed out so we had to join another group from Minnesota to make up 40. Some people couldn't make up the money for the trip which is just mind over matter I think. If you think past the money ordeal you can do it!
It wasn't easy packing for the trip.There were certain dimensions you had to have for your carry-on and your luggage. We found out that my bigger luggage bag had the right dimensions, so I could pack more than I had started with. It was a burden but I'd rather carry around all I needed than a very limited amount of luggage. And it had to weigh a certain amount too. It couldn't exceed 44lbs. We had to leave room for souvenirs even though I gave away some of my stuff on the last day to make a little room. When I got home we had to remove so much luggage tags! When you need your back pack for a daily run, pack light. It pays off when the other delegates are complaining about their excessiveness while you're bragging about your sun screen, sun glasses and journal in your back pack. A back pack with a lot of pockets is a good idea. You'll have to fit some souvenirs in your back pack and those would mostly be small ones that would fit in secret pockets.
You have to be ready to walk a lot too. And always wear walking shoes. Or at least in your back pack. You have to be able to walk a few miles, straight. You'll have slow walking moments and traffic stops but prepare yourself. I used to walk three miles everyday so I was used to it. I sort of felt bad for the girls who wore sandals. I never wore my sandals, only when we went swimming. as I read on a random zoo billboard, "Life is a jungle if you are not prepared." So be prepared!
We raised money by doing fundraisers, couple of garage sales and some donations from family and friends. I would like to give a big thanks and a hug to my two uncles and my granparents. If it wasn't for them I would not have been able to go. Thanks guys!
I hope to continue to travel with People to People in the future. It was a wonderful, life changing experinence that I will always remember.