What is one piece of advice you would give to someone going on a Travel for Teens trip?
Be open to new experiences and friendships. Traveling to a foreign country by yourself requires you to immerse yourself into an entirely new culture and lifestyle along with adjusting to the schedule set by your trip advisor.
Making friends with your fellow travelers makes the transition easier and the trip better overall. It’s also pretty great to have new friends that you stay in touch with after your trip - now I have friends all over the world from California to Canada!
Be open to taking in a new culture and food. With Travel for Teens you are guaranteed to live like the locals and interact with locals to learn about their culture and their daily lifestyle.
What did Travel for Teens assist you with and what did you have to organize on your own?
Travel for Teens made everything really easy. They helped with making sure I was signed up, flight and hotel plans were done for me, and I was able to contact them with any questions I had before I left to get reassurance.
The only part of my trip that I had to set up myself was the flight to/from LAX to meet the group, as I live in Illinois. The flight coordinator stayed with me at LAX to make sure I got onto my connecting flight, met me at LAX, and was in touch with me as soon as my flight landed.
Travel for Teens made sure that I had a good experience even before I left for my trip which helped me feel a lot more comfortable.
What was your most memorable experience from the Australia and New Zealand Service trip through Travel for Teens?
I would have to say that my most memorable moment from the trip was spending our day at the Kuranda Rainforest Station.
I got to learn how to throw a boomerang from an Australian native, experience native Australian dances, paint in the Australian style, feed and pet wallabies, try new food, and to top it all off, hold a koala bear!
This was a really memorable part of my trip because I learned so much in a single day, not only about Australian wildlife, but also the Aussie culture. I also finally got to learn what a fluffy Koala bear feels like - super soft and very fluffy - which is something I never would have known without with Kuranda Rainforest Station experience.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
Going into my trip I was super nervous because it was my first time travelling alone, first time travelling out of the country, and first time travelling with Travel for Teens so there were a lot of firsts and initial adjustments at once.
I overcame my fears when I landed in New Zealand and my travel group had their first night together. We were able to get to know one another, start forming friendships, and get to know our leaders that we would spend the remainder of the trip with.
After this experience I am a lot more open to traveling abroad again because I know what the adjustment will take, and I know that I will be able to make friends once I get there, not just with those I'm traveling with, but with locals as well.
Through my experience with Travel for Teens I am a lot more comfortable with travelling to a foreign country. It is an eye-opening experience that you won’t get any other way.