Alumni Spotlight: Joshua Meighan

A normal high school student who likes trying new things, and has been on a few of these trips.

Why did you choose this program?

I had been on ActionQuest and GoBeyond trips before and really enjoyed the different activities, so I just wanted to try another trip which happened to be in Australia. I knew that this trip was more based around an activity, which included diving on the Great Barrier Reef (that main reason I came), but it just sounded interesting.

I also wanted to see around the country as it is so far away from where I live in the US, Australia is a more developed country, but at that distance, I wanted to know what was different.

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

Everything started with a flight from LA, where there was a group flight with many other students. I couldn't actually be on this flight, but at that point, the trip takes over. I was with the group and staff members from the airport I landed in, to the airport where I left to go home.

The trip is all planned out (it explains the schedule on the website), so all meals, lodging, and activities are booked and paid for. Honesty, the only things I needed to provide myself were personal snacks.

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

The rooms are shared with others going on the trip (same gender and similar ages), but most likely, everyone is friendly and relatable (at least mine were). Staff supervision is constant (for safety reasons).

Generally, you will not have your phones or other technology (to properly engage with others), and depending on how home-life is, this could be a shock. Still, under the circumstances of the trip, it is understandable.

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

It is hard to say, we did so many activities which were vastly different, but everything was busy all the time.

Generally, we would eat breakfast together, probably pack a lunch, then head out on whatever the activity was. This routine only changed while in the Whitsundays (when the crew took care of us) and on the dive boat (once again, the crew did the cooking).

Other than those two times, the students were the cooks/cleaning for all meals, and we all participated in the day's 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?

One of my biggest fears was that the group of other students would be annoying, but no, they were super friendly. Some of us didn't understand each other at first, but we got along in the end. After that, the big problem was having to leave them when the trip ended. I have been on these trips before, so I was used to everything on GoBeyond's end, but you can't predict how nice the other students will be.

What were the best activities?

Personally, I came for diving, so I am a bit biased in saying that diving the Great Barrier Reef was my favorite part. Each day was met with 3 to 4 dives in amazing sites full of bright coral and fantastic fish. We saw many many sea turtles, and also these strange bumped parrotfish, which grow up to 4.9 ft long (they were huge!). I enjoyed everything, though, from touring the Sydney Opera House to sailing the Whitsunday islands to Kuranda, etc.