Alumni Spotlight: Michael Cantrell

Michael is a first-year University student, avid lover of traveling, and analytical thinking. He enjoys being immersed in other cultures.

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What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

Travel for Teens (TFT) handled all the hotel bookings, restaurant reservations, and group flight bookings. Really the only thing that a camper has to handle on their own is their lunches, and the TFT counselors always make sure to help them when it comes to choosing their lunch for the day.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

One piece of advice I would have to give is to always expect flight delays. I fly a lot as I go to school about three-thousand miles away from my parents, and on holidays I fly in to see them. The worst delay I have gotten is three hours. I have not experienced delays while traveling with TFT which is just a fluke, just make sure you are ready to stay at an airport longer than expected.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

TFT makes sure that the camper's day is full, even more so on travel days where you are changing time zones. Most of the time they have activities planned for the entire day. Although a camper should never be afraid to talk to their CIT, senior counselor, or trip director. They are there to make the trip an experience to remember and will work the schedule around it.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

When I traveled a couple years ago with TFT, a lot had been happening in Europe and especially in France. When we arrived to Paris on our trip, some of us were a little worried about being safe, but my trip director at the time, Ally, who was a native of Paris, assured us that we were safe and to enjoy our time in the City of Light. And she was completely right!

What was your biggest take-away from your time abroad?

I have to say that TFT and those who are partnered and work directly with them are there for the campers.

When I traveled with them I was, not to make this interview morbid, I was depressed and close to the edge. My experience with TFT truly was a huge part in turning my life around. I still keep in contact with my Trip director whom made my experience absolutely amazing and she made it clear from day one that she was there for support.

You as a traveler will make bonds with people you never thought you would. It will change your perspective on the world as it shatters your own little bubble that you have grown up in.