Alumni Spotlight: Jackie Tutiven

Why did you choose this program?

I choose this program because I know how much I admire traveling and I wanted to find a program that would help me do just that. I wanted to find a program that matched my view when it comes to learning new aspects 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 that no one could ever take away from me.

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

I initially found EF on my own through research and careful consideration in terms of what programs sounded legit. Once I go in touch with an EF representative everything fell into place so easily. I said 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 far too many things I would recommend and advice to people who are traveling or want to travel! But some things I would advise someone else to do is to do as much prior research about the country you're going to before you go. I ended up making 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.

Also to take COMPLETE advantage of doing everything and trying everything while you're out there, you never know when you'll get the chance to try that food again or see that view. Lastly, one major major major thing I recommend is to journal. I have journaled on every trip and I has made all the difference when I look back to reminisce about 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 our trip, you're 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 leaning, the good kind of learning! You're able to have the freedom of deciding what you want to see and what interest you the most. The program I choose allowed me to dictate what I would do with my free time and that was one of the best parts of 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 homestay 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. Once I got there and met my homestay family, it was the best experience I could ask for. She was so nice, welcoming and made me feel like I was back at home.

What do you love most about traveling?

Traveling has made me grow up and not just open my mind, but open my eyes. I love that when you travel, and not just on a cruise or a five day trip to the Bahamas, I mean when you go somewhere and really take time to learn about the culture and the lifestyle of another country 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 the little bubble that I had back home and forced me to see what goes on outside that bubble. Traveling has given me life skills, characteristics, and new ways of thinking that no other person can take away from me.