Alumni Spotlight: Christie Jean


Christie’s goal was to grow as a person. In order to do this, she went somewhere that would really push her out of her comfort zone.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because it had many outdoor activities. I love the outdoors. Any activity that makes you forget to check your phone is wonderful. You get to interact with people more. You are more conscious of your surroundings. The world isn’t flying by. You truly get to live and enjoy the moment.

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

My program provider actually introduced me to the experiment. I had to fill out an application, do an essay, and answer a couple of short questions. There was an orientation I had to complete online. My organization and I also had to book a domestic flight to Miami. That was where we were all meeting.

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

One piece of advice I would like to give someone is to pack warm clothes! Since it was summer here in the United States, I underestimated how cold it would be down in Argentina. Overall, just be well prepared and make sure to read the checklist.

Also, be open to new experiences. At first, I didn’t want to go white water rafting because it was cold. Now looking back, I’m glad I did because it was really fun and the water was actually warm!

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

An average day really depended on which part of the trip we were on. In the beginning, we would wake up, eat breakfast, then tour the city. During the homestay, you would spend time with your host family. Then later in the day, we all meet up with our host siblings and hang out. When we went camping, we would eat breakfast, have some free time in the morning, then we would go horseback riding all day. When we were done, we would go back to the campsite and eat dinner.

Lastly, when we were in Salta and back to Buenos Aires, it was similar to the beginning. We would eat breakfast then have time to tour the city. We shopped around for souvenirs.

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 was change. I wasn’t familiar to the routine. At first, it was weird to be out everyday and not being able to use my phone as often. It felt as if we were all in a bubble separated from our daily lives.

I overcame this fear by just telling myself to relax and by realizing I don’t always have to know what comes next. It was okay to go with the flow and to try new things.

My view on the issue changed because I realized I was just too uptight. It made me nervous knowing it was my first time for most things. There’s a first time for everything, and sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

What were your expectations of this trip? Was it how you thought it would be in the end?

My expectations for the trip was that we would be completely outdoors in the wilderness the entire time. This trip was not like that at all. We stayed in a lot of hostels, and we actually didn’t get to the outdoor stuff until the end of the trip. In the end, I learned having expectations aren’t very realistic. You just have to go in with a clear mind.