Alumni Spotlight: Jackie Tutiven

Why did you choose this program?

I wanted to find a program that would help me increase my love for traveling. I also wanted to find one that matched my view when it comes to learning about other cultures and different places around the world. I took a chance when signing up with EF since I had never had any prior experiences with them, and it ended up giving me a once in a lifetime trip!

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

I found EF on my own through research and careful consideration in terms of what programs sounded legit. As soon as I got in touch with an EF representative, everything just fell into place so easily. I told them the trip I was interested in, my budget, and the dates, then the rest was taken care of. The booking of my flight was even taken care of, and that took loads of stress off my shoulders! The whole process of getting my trip information set up was very smooth and stress-free.

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

There are too many things I would recommend and advise to people who are traveling or want to travel!

First, I would advise them to do as much research about the country they’re going to before they leave. I made sure I learned about the culture and the country before I went so I could have a heads up of how things worked. This helped big time when it came to getting a little piece of what life would be like before I arrived. This also enabled me to take complete advantage of doing everything and trying everything while I was out there; you never know when you'll get the chance to try that food or see that view again.

Another major thing I recommend is to keep a journal. I have kept a journal on every trip, and it has made all the difference when I look back to reminisce on where I've been. It is such a good reminder of how passionate I am about traveling, especially a couple years down the line when you might not remember certain things that happened on your trip. You will be able to flip that journal open and feel like you're still there.

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

A lot of learning – the good kind of learning! You're able to have the freedom of deciding what you want to see and what interests you the most. The program I chose allowed me to dictate what I would do with my free time, and that was one of the best parts about the whole trip. I was able to talk to people from all over the world, go to school, learn a new language, and do crazy fun activities!

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 while prepping for this trip was meeting my home stay family. I was scared that they wouldn't like me, or I wouldn't like them. The language barrier was also a huge factor in all of this. However, once I got there and met my home stay family, it easily became the best experience ever! They were so nice and welcoming, and they made me feel so much at home.

What do you love most about traveling?

Traveling has made me grow up; it opened not only my mind, but also my eyes. I love that when you travel or go somewhere and you really take time to learn about this new culture and lifestyle, it gives you a whole new perceptive on life. It gives you the most rewarding experiences that you'll go through.

What I love most is how much you get back from it. It’s the one thing you spend money on that you'll get so much back in return. It has given me the power to break my little bubble that I had back home, and it forced me to see what goes on outside that bubble.

Traveling has given me life skills, characteristics, and news ways of thinking that no other person can take away from me.