Alumni Spotlight: Carly Dawn Hill

Carly grew up traveling with her family, and has grown into an avid traveller. She has a growing career in wedding photography, and is breaking into the destination wedding scene to see more of the world.

Why did you choose this program?

The main reason my boyfriend and I chose this program was for its location. We only had 3 weeks as I was on spring break, and this had the perfect time frame. We were happy with the itinerary and was happy with where the trip finished off so we could continue on our way. Things that were very appealing to us was the surf lesson, the morning hike, the local cooking class, the snorkeling, and the temple exploring day.

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

For the ten days, we were with the group our accommodation was taken care of, and we were put up in very nice places up until the last one. The trip included activities like a surfing lesson, local cooking class, snorkeling and others which were all organized for us. We had to organize our own food, and find things to do when there was free time. We were unlucky and had a very unhelpful guide, she couldn't point us in the direction of any of the things we asked, and rarely answered our questions. This trip would have been greatly improved had our guide been more knowledgeable and not there for her own holiday.

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

I would tell them that you do not always have to follow the group. As an example, the one night we were going for group dinner on the beach to watch the sunset, except for the place we ended up going to was very touristy and extremely expensive. We ended up leaving the group to find dinner, where we found the most incredible Thai restaurant that was 1/3 of the price too! That is only one example of many occasions where we had fun when a few of us found more local experiences.

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

The hotels provided a small breakfast, and on most days we would have time to eat before starting the activities for the day. It was very organized with good communication on where to be and at what time. Every day is very different though so you get to experience a lot. There is a decent amount of travel time during this program, just because locations are a little spread out, but once you're outside of Kuta the traffic gets better, and it takes less time to commute to the next destination.

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

It was the first time I was bringing my professional camera equipment with me, and I was nervous about theft or damage. I did have insurance on it, but the backpack I purchased for the trip provided the security I needed to feel safe with it. I have never been and never once was worried about my safety, weather concerns, or any other typical fears people have of being abroad.

What were the highlight(s) of the trip?

During the program, the biggest highlight for me was on the party night. The guides organized it so we could go club hopping, but when they decided to go to fancier clubs that you had to pay to get into half of us decided we were done for the night. We ended up getting scooter rides back and they got lost, we were racing each other trying to get home first, cheering on the local who was driving us! It was even a highlight over when we rented scooters on a later day.