Alumni Spotlight: Makenzie Hoag


Makenzie is a high school junior with a passion for travel. She loves immersing herself every any new culture possible, and wishes to travel all around the globe.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose Travel for Teens as my summer program for a few reasons. One of these reasons is for TFT’s motto of being a traveler and not a tourist. In turn, this allowed me to live in a foreign place almost as a local, and not just visiting the touristy places. TFT also has an immense selection of trips possible to go on, allowing even a seasoned traveler to go somewhere new.

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

The program provider at TFT outlines almost the entire trip for you! When you’re selecting your trip, the website gives you a sample itinerary, and that solidifies as you get closer to your trip.

TFT can also book your plane tickets, as well as having pre-booked accommodations for the group during the entire duration of the trip. The only thing that I organized on my own was the transportation to the airport, as well as daily lunches on the trip, since that is the only meal not included.

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

What is one piece of advice I would give to someone going on a Travel for Teens program? I would say to always keep an open mind about the location you are visiting, as well as being mindful of how your emotions and attitude affect the entire group. Trying to be as positive as possible will make the whole experience 10x better for both yourself and the group!

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

An average day in TFT is indescribable! No matter where you go: you will never be bored. For the most part, you start off your day in the hotel/hostel with breakfast and then leave for a day full of fun and adventure, whether you go shopping, visit a museum, complete community service hours, or simply wander the streets until the next group activity or dinner.

Most days have a semi-strict itinerary with planned activities, but the counselors always build in some free time as well.

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

What was my biggest fear about going abroad? Personally, I feel as if I wouldn’t be able to make friends within my group and be by myself for the duration of the trip in a foreign country. This was an easy fear to overcome since the people I met in JFK airport were so sweet and nice that any insecurities in finding friends flew out the window.

What is it like traveling with a group of people you’ve never met?

It’s a new adventure every time and I wouldn’t change that experience at all. Going on a trip with TFT allows you to get in contact with the other people going on your specific trip, making it easier to break the ice. It also helps you get out of your comfort zone and meet new people!