Alumni Spotlight: Annika Thiim


Annika is a high school student with a passion for travel and experiencing new adventures.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose the Global Works program based on the high ratings I had seen on the Internet. Many of these teen travel review sites included the experiences written by alumni my age, which was amazing and reassuring. The website is also very professional-looking and easy to navigate because it included all the important details and had updated information.

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

The program assisted with all the details regarding the itinerary and where we would be staying during the trip. However, for the flights, I had the option to either book my own direct flight to Panama or take the group flight from Houston to Panama, which was led by Global Works. I ended up taking a direct round-trip flight from my home to Panama instead of the group flight, and everything worked out perfectly.

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

Make sure to keep an open mind. You will constantly be pushed out of your comfort zone, which is why it is so important to be open to new experiences. The most rewarding part about this trip for me was coming out of it with a new outlook on the world, and the feeling of awareness that came with this.

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

The average day consists of breakfast, work, lunch, work, leisure time, and then dinner. However, every day was scheduled differently. Our work was never too demanding as we took frequent breaks to eat and play games. Some of the work we did included: the painting of a church, tending to a garden, cleaning a library, and helping in a non-profit restaurant kitchen.

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 going into this experience was being alone in a foreign country, away from my family. This turned out to not be a problem once I was there because I felt so comforted by my group members and trip leaders. It was exhilarating to experience a completely different environment with people from all of the US. At the end of the trip, I was left with a feeling that the world was more interesting than ever and I am looking forward to many more adventures in the future.