The Traveling School

Program Reviews

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Caroline
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Last semester, as a sophomore, I decided to take a leap of faith to join TTS on its 23 semester. There is no such thing as a 'normal' day with The Traveling School. Due to the constant movement and changing of locations every day is unknown. On a full class day classes began at around 8:00am (typically) and ended at around 2:30/3:00pm. Classes are never in a classroom setting, they are almost always outside, many Spanish classes were spent conversing with locals in markets/city plazas. In the beginning of the semester we participated in running, soccer and conditioning before our day started in order for us to acclimate and prepare for rigorous trekking and hiking excisions.

I would recommend the TTS semester in South America to any outdoorsy girl who has a desire to strengthen her Spanish, has a passion/interest towards environmental issues and wants challenge herself physically. The four months I spent with the program included some of the most memorable days of my life thus far and I would go back in a heartbeat.

What would you improve about this program?
The Traveling School could be improved by possibly enlarging the budget for some of our small group outings. Often times (esp. near the end) groups of two or three girls were permitted to leave the hostel we were staying at to buy lunch with TTS money. In the future it would be nice to have a slightly larger amount of money in order to widen our rage of options, but for the most part that was not an issue.
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Ali
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I went on this semester back in 2011, and it was the most incredible opportunity and adventure I could ever ask for. It helped me to become who I am today, and to continue my growth as I reflect on the time I spent in Central America. The group dynamic helped me to realize how to best work as a team and provided support then and now in all of my endeavors. The teachers gave me a new perspective of education, and motivated me to do well in school and to pursue an education that I did not know was possible. This school made me excited to learn, to get up and go to school, and to value every opportunity that I am given. This semester in particular, inspired me to study archaeology, in particular Mayan archaeology in college. Mayan history was one of many fascinating and deep topics that we studied over the semester. We were given many opportunities that many people never receive, such as scuba diving, and hiking a volcano. We also talked to many people who have influenced who I have become today, and I wouldn't have had or even considered the chance of talking to them if it weren't for TTS. I love this program so much that I came back for the following semester in Africa. There are always challenges when it comes to traveling abroad for a semester, but the teachers and staff worked to handle every situation in a productive and constructive way.

What would you improve about this program?
I know that money wise it is difficult to take smaller groups, but if I had to say one thing, it would be that.
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Megan
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I did this program two years ago and had the trip of a lifetime. Eleven girls and I traveled to three countries in Africa all while taking high school classes for 3 1/2 months. I had some of the best and most memorable experiences of my life. I got to volunteer with multiple organizations, learn a bunch of new hobbies, experience Africa's wildlife try a variety of African foods, and overall experience what Africa is like.

What would you improve about this program?
The biggest problem we encountered was being able to communicate with friends and family back in the states. This is just a problem in Africa though because you are never guaranteed wifi or cellphone service!
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Margo
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Making the decision to go abroad with the Traveling School was the best one I ever made, and has shaped my life every step of the way since. I loved it so much I even went on a second semester! The SW Africa semester is truly incredible, with breathtaking scenery at every turn, wild animals to see on every travel day, and some incredible outdoor adventures. Spend a semester traveling in an overland safari truck, camping with a full view of the beautiful starry sky, and learning greetings in languages from Tonga, to German, to Xhosa (a clicking language!). We got to learn about the impacts of apartheid in South Africa, visit the town where Nelson Mandela grew up, and spend a week in the bustling city of Cape Town. We learned to surf in the well-renowned Jeffery's Bay, rock climb in Waterval Boven, and hike Dune 45 in the Namib desert to watch the sunrise. This doesn't even touch on all of the amazing things were able to do and see during our time in Southern Africa, because every day there was a new adventure and unparalleled opportunities for academic exploration.

What would you improve about this program?
I genuinely cannot think of anything I would change about this program. Amazing places, people, activities and academics. I just wish I could go again!
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Margo
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Traveling School was beyond the best decision I have ever made. You can spend 3 1/2 months in a classroom, or spend a semester surfing off the coast of El Salvador, learning about the guerrillas who fought in the Guatemalan civil war, scuba diving in the Caribbean, studying the ancient Mayans, doing impactful community service projects, immersing yourself in Spanish, making friends that will last a life time, and growing personally/academically.

What would you improve about this program?
Honestly, this program was as close to perfect as they come in my opinion. The only thing I would improve, would be to have more trips that go each year so more young girls were able to have the amazing experience I had!
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Allegra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I've done a lot of semester programs, and TTS is definitely top notch. The experience is unlike anything you will ever have in a normal high school, or on another semester program. I learned a lot about my academic subjects, and myself, during my time in South Western Africa. TTS does a fantastic job of making connections with different people and organizations in the countries that we traveled in, so you are always busy! In addition the food on this semester is great because you have your own chef, Crispen, to cook for you (you have to do some prep work with him though!). This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity, and while it is difficult to leave home, I promise it will be worth it in the end. Going on a semester with the Traveling School was hands down the best decision i've ever made.

What would you improve about this program?
While traveling with all girls can be very empowering, it also is a little tough sometimes. But I think this also has to do with the girls who attend each semester, it's a little bit of 'luck of the draw'.
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Charlotte
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The only negative thing about The Traveling School is that no program I do can ever live up to this.
When you are in high school you are learning - but also shaping your values, your beliefs, and your relationships to those around you and yourself. Traveling with a group of girls and your teachers allows you to focus on the basics...
I hated sitting in a classroom staring at the walls while teachers pointed to text book facts. The Traveling School allowed me to learn about history while walking through a museum: writing about a particular exhibit, researching through talking with experts as well as locals in the area. (Interdisciplinary study does not get any more real than this).
Typical day? In the mornings you wake up (usually in a tent) and then do a PE class. Then breakfast, and class- which might be counting animals in a wildlife park to later write a report on.. Lunch, traveling to the next spot, rock climbing, math class, homework time, dinner prep, and setting up the tent again... As I think about it, I realize there are no typical days in this program, each one is different and can not really be described... If you have the slightest inkling for full days with studies that last and friendships that cannot be surpassed, I suggest this program.

What would you improve about this program?
The girls who sign up for this program are the girls you are with. Sometimes you have to adapt to strong personalities, it is worth it.
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Jessie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Our days in Africa varied immensely, though each was incredible. Though it sounds cheesy, I can honestly say that the semester to South-Weet Africa changed my life. The people I met, both the girls and teachers on the trip, the guides and the people in the different towns were all unique and very welcoming. When I came home, I was a better human, with more direction in my life than when I had left. Though there were no "average" days, a somewhat normal routine was to have class in the morning and go site seeing or to a historical site in the afternoon. Some days we would have full class days, others no class at all. Each day was varied, each a new experience

What would you improve about this program?
Honestly I can't think of one thing to change. No I'm not being paid to write this, but it was the best experience I would have asked for. The only thing that ever was a struggle for me was homesickness. And with that, it had nothing to do with the program it was all personal.
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Carlisle
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I was hesitant to leave my home at first but this trip was the greatest experience of my life thus far. I studied abroad in the spring of 2010 and still keep in touch with the girls on my trip. I experienced so many new cultures and ideas and grew so much as a person. The teachers became my mentors and friends, the girls my sisters and even the administration are people I feel I can talk to and look up to. I loved this experience and learned more there experientially than I could hope to learn elsewhere. Thank you for this experience, I would not trade it for the world!

What would you improve about this program?
I would have liked to stay longer and have a bit more free time to explore. I would have also enjoyed a longer home stay as that is an irreplaceable experience.
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traveler
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had never traveled outside the US before but I had always wanted to. This program gave me an opportunity to travel and gain a memorable high school experience that continues to influence my interests in college. My first trip was traveling through the Andes. I had so much fun and learned so much that I took a second semester to Southern Africa. On these trips I learned how to pack for travel, what sort of accommodations to expect, how to find places to stay, and I learned that traveling outside of the US is possible and doable. While I learned how to travel, I learned about the history, culture, and biology of the areas I visited. The classes were designed around the areas we traveled, which made the experience even more meaningful. During my trip I also had to take an algebra class to fulfill requirements at my home high school. Before the trip I had no interest in math, however, taking it at The Traveling School made even a subject I disliked fun. I will never forget the history classes where we visited the sites of the historic occurrences and learned by reenacting what happened. I will never forget biology classes where I actually got to see Darwin's birds and hike through the exotic environments I was learning about. The setting of The Traveling School provides a place to grow through experience and education. This program didn't just get me excited to learn, I also learned how to travel which has prepared me for college and planning my own trips.

What would you improve about this program?
Days started really early in the morning with gym class. I probably would have liked to sleep in more often but then who wants to sleep when there is so many exciting things to see and do!