A Door, Now Opened

Growth: 10
Support: 10
Fun: 10
Housing: 10
Safety: 10

I was nervous right off the bat; picky eater, fear of heights, not a fluent speaker (actually, not even close), and never been out of the country prior to the trip. From the moment I applied for the program to the minute that I'm writing a review post-trip, the Experiment has been there for me, maintaining contact to ensure my well being and satisfaction with the entire trip. Start to finish, I was comfortable in what I was doing, and found myself reaching out because of that comfort. It's easy, when you're not worried, to try new foods, hike higher than you were willing to before (I have to say, the Pyramid of the Sun was amazing and totally worth the stairs), create friendships (I'm still chatting with the people I went to Mexico with, especially my host family), and just ultimately immerse yourself in the culture. My parents were pretty nervous about me going, too, but the Experiment also made that easier on them with articles and updates before and throughout the trip. I feel confident saying that my Spanish improved by a mile, as I lived with six triathlon athletes during the home stay. There was never a dull moment, and I found myself fully involved in my family's daily life. Mexico wasn't my first choice of program; it actually wasn't on my list at all. But because I applied early, hoping for the scholarship (because I couldn't have gone without it) I was asked about my program flexibility. I believe I said something along the lines of, "I had such a difficult time choosing in the first place--any Spanish-speaking country would be unbelievable." So, I ended up in Mexico, and that July was easily the best July I've ever had. My host family was incredible, and while I am biased to say they were the best ones around, the host families of the other kids were equally amazing. Our activities took us from Mexico City, to Cozumel, to Cancun, to La Paz... In each location, a stunning amount of people were welcoming, were coordinating our activities, and understanding that we were learning the language. My group leaders and fellow group members were some of the best people I've ever met--honest, to the point, and fun. It was such a diverse group, and we got along so well. Cave diving, hiking, swimming with sea turtles where National Geographic photographers work, snorkeling (on program or with my host family), shopping in Cancun, eating in authentic restaurants, riding in boats to see sea lions and kayaking to see dolphins in La Paz... This Experiment Abroad revealed to me that I would love to travel abroad in college, and especially stay with host families, because the immersion is where your language skills and cultural understanding really come together. I've realized that I want a job that'll involve travel, because that's the happiest I've ever been. Now, I'm hosting an exchange student from Chile, who will go to school with me this year. The Experiment truly opened doors for me, and I'd recommend the program to anyone considering traveling abroad during their high school years.

Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would
Year Completed
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