Why did you choose this program?
I knew I wanted to travel with people who were familiar and accustomed to the area. I am super passionate about French culture and I knew my parents wouldn't be able to provide me the knowledge I wanted.
We chose Travel For Teens because the counselors were French speakers and very familiar with the area. I was able to attend a French School through the language learning program. I wanted an educational and fun experience, and that is exactly what Travel For Teens provides.
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
From the second I landed in Paris, everything was taken care of. We had a plan of fun activities each day, and along with that, we had flexibility. If we wanted to eat at a certain restaurant we would ask, and eat there. If we wanted to go shopping in a certain area, the group would go there.
We were able to customize the experience to meet all of our needs. It was nice because when you left, you didn't have the feeling that you didn't get to do something you wanted to, because you could always just ask and the group would accommodate.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Get to know your group, even if at first you are shy. Everyone who is in your group is in the same situation. The sooner you open up to your group, the longer time you will have to create friendships. Make sure you get to know everyone in your group too, because all of you are there for the same reason and already have something in common.
Make sure to pack a small secure purse of bag. I got one at REI that was thin and could fit under my clothes. That way you always have your stuff and it doesn't get stolen.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
Each day, in my program we ate breakfast at our hotel. On the weekends, we would have a nice brunch at an authentic French cafe. Then we would usually attend our French school. After that, we would eat at a local cafe.
The rest of the day ranges from doing the Louvre, Versailles, and a boat tour on the Seine all in one day, or just going to a French carnival and reading at gardens. The days were usually packed with lots to do, but on occasion, we would do something more relaxing (especially on the 22-day trip, we had more time for that). We would always have a nice big dinner, and go out for crepes or something nice afterward.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
My biggest fear was definitely meeting people, and whether or not I would like my group members, and be able to connect with anyone. However, I quickly learned that I had the power to make the most out of the experience, so I did my best to get to know everyone in my group. It was nice, because at the end I was close friends with everyone, regardless if I thought I would be at the beginning.
What is your favorite memory?
My favorite memory from my trip was on the Fourth of July, we felt a little sad being away from home on such a special American holiday. So to make us feel better, we went to Chipotle and McDonalds, and we had a great time discovering the differences between the popular chains there and at home. I was shocked to find out that the French Chipotle didn't have quesadillas!
Also, every time we rode the metro (which was all the time) we would subway surf by going into the bendy part of the metro and have contests, it was a very fun experience.