Going on a trip to another country without my family was something I had never done before this trip with Global Works and I am so thankful I did. This trip was one of the most amazing and memorable experiences I have ever had, and I tried so many new things. I snorkeled for the first time, and swam with so many really cool sea creatures including sharks which had previously been a fear of mine. I had thought I would miss my family but my trip leaders, Jason and Katie, were awesome and so much fun. While on the Galapagos Islands, I was a boat, bus, and plane ride away from home, but my trip leaders and the island guides not only made me feel safe, but were a great support system throughout the trip. My time on this trip was spent making a ton of new friends from all over the United States, many of whom I'm still in touch with now. There was never a boring moment on the trip. We had incredible activities planned everyday, most of which I wouldn't be able to do anywhere else in the world, and we wrote about them and posted online each day (with photos) so our families could see all the fun we were having. The first day we went to Papallacta's natural hot springs (another first for me), which was very relaxing, and later on, we hiked up the Sierra Negra volcano - which made for some incredible photos. While the trip was full of expeditions and trips all over the islands, we also did volunteer work on the island of Isabela to help the local community and the tortoises. Our group stayed and worked at Campo Duro where we cleared and weeded a large area in the tortoise paddock. We also did some weeding in the large organic garden where they grow many of the vegetables served for meals to the group. There was a huge field in between all of the tents we stayed in, and when we weren't working, we played cards and spent time around a fire laughing and telling stories. (Tip: remember to pack cards and small, fun games.) While all of this was incredibly fun, my most memorable experience was our last day of snorkeling. After getting wetsuits and snorkeling gear, we took a boat ride to go to our final activity. Once I remembered how to zip up my suit (which I may have gotten a little help to do) we jumped off the boat and began swimming around to spot the many different animals. In the end, our group saw a sea horse, stingrays, sharks, a penguin, fish that seemed to glow, and many, many sea turtles. These animals swam right past me and some even right next to me. They were unaffected by our presence, and I had never seen anything like it. The water temperature was just right at 72F, and the weather was perfect the entire 10 days I spent there. I won't ever forget this experience, especially because I really was able to put to use my years of Spanish classes. We spoke Spanish often - with our trip leaders and guides, people in the communities we worked and stayed with, shopkeepers in Quito and with each other. It was an awesome feeling to know that my school Spanish was actually pretty good - and at times a bit embarrassing, which just added to the stories and laughter! I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to experience Ecuador's culture and highly recommend the Galapagos Island trip with Global Works.