I chose to go to Australia with Travel for Teens because that country had been a dream destination of mine ever since I was very young. After conducting a lot of online research, Travel for Teens offered the best opportunities at the best prices to make my dreams come true.
Jaden is a freshman at Binghamton University and is pursuing a career in business. She would like a job that supports her passion for traveling. In her free time, Jaden loves musical theater, percussion, and musical composition.
Why did you choose this program?
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
The TFT Staff was very helping in providing me preliminary flight options to get from New York to Los Angeles, which was the meeting point to then fly to New Zealand. All other flights were completely taken care of. In addition, the TFT crew was very helpful over email in connecting me with other travelers from New York with whom I could fly to Los Angeles.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
While traveling abroad, especially for the first time on your own, take the opportunity to not only explore a new environment but explore yourself as well. Take risks! Try every new food. Go on every excursion, even if it seems a little scary. Don't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and discover new passions! Keep in mind that you may never have these specific opportunities again, so make them count!
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
There were two types of typical days: excursion days and travel days.
On excursion days, our wake up time would vary depending on what was planned, but it was generally pretty early because there was always so much to do! There would be 1-3 main activities that everyone would participate in, followed by some time to explore the area in small groups (especially in the cities.) In the evenings there would be different options for places to eat as well as some extra activities that people could split off into. The end of the night consisted of late night chats with life-long friends!
Travel days sound pretty boring, but some of my fondest memories are from those days! Travel days consisted of waking up and taking either a plane or a long bus ride to our next destination. Traveling with family can sometimes be stressful if a flight is canceled or delayed because it ruins plans. But traveling on those days is the plan! So everyone would sit around and play games with each other in the airport and we couldn't have cared less what time the plane actually took off. We were together having fun and that was all that mattered!
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 for this trip was the culture shock. Traveling to the other side of the Earth by myself seemed a little overwhelming. However, I could not have been more wrong.
First off, I was not alone. I had a great support system of friends and wonderful counselors that felt like family by the end of the trip. Secondly, with Australia and New Zealand in particular, it was a great choice because the culture shock was very minimum. While I still felt like I was not in the United States, their general customs and environments were similar enough that I was able to easily adapt. I highly recommend this area of the world if it is your first time traveling by yourself for these reasons.
Why is traveling abroad beneficial for high school students?
As a current freshman in college, I can attest to the fact that I now have a lot more independence and responsibilities. Leaving home and working on your own for the first time is a huge step for anyone to take. However, my amazing experience abroad acted as a stepping stone for me. It allowed me to see what it was like living and exploring away from my parents, but in a supervised manner. It is so important for high school students to take that "test run" on their own before really having to learn how to live on their own.