The Cinque Terre Community Service trip was one of the best experiences of my life. As cheesy as it sounds, it's true! I cannot express how much this trip, the people and places I connected with have impacted my life for the better. Having been to Italy before my trip with TFT, I expected the same type of experience, fortunately I turned out to be mistaken. Regardless of having a great time going to Italy with my mom, I had the best time of my life travelling with my TFT family. Although, the Cinque Terre trip is only thirteen days long it feels like you have known the people in your group for years.
So if you are concerned about making friends or having a good time, don’t be! We were all admittedly nervous at first, but at the end you do not want to go home. We all tried to convince our parents to let us stay an extra month, unfortunately we had no luck. It was everyone’s first time in my group travelling with TFT, except for the counselors, Emma and Federico. Travelling to a foreign country, unable to say anything besides “ciao” or my gelato order, I felt so incredibly lucky to have these two as my mentors/guides. Not only do they know all the cool underground places hidden in each city, they make you feel at home even though you are miles away from it.
All the people from my group still talk almost everyday, reminiscing about our times eating gelato from small stands in Cinque Terre (pistachio being my personal favorite), exploring the streets of Rome at night, relaxing on a beautiful boat ride from all the different coast of Italy, and visiting a monastery at the very top of a stone hill greeted with bowls of the best pesto pasta you will ever taste. Which reminds me, I highly recommend packing hiking shoes because the walk to the top is long but the view is worth it! There are so many more memories I will carry with me but I don't think I could ever put into words how incredible this trip is. I guess there is only way you will know just how fun and fulfilling it was … you have to go check it out yourself. You will be glad you did, trust me!
I highly recommend this trip to everyone! Not only are you doing something to give back to others, but you are doing yourself a favor by immersing yourself into a different culture and exploring the world. Travelling with new people really takes you outside your comfort zone and allows you to grow and experience the culture and places around you in an entirely different way. I am so grateful I had the chance to participate in this memorable opportunity! This was my first trip with TFT but definitely not my last!