How Teen Travel Changed
Traveling the Seven
Continents with the People to People Ambassadors Program
Seven Continents of Adventure
I caught the travel bug when I was ten
years old. Now, five years and seven continents later, there
is no looking back. I am completely hooked.
The opportunity to travel first came
about when I received an invitation to go to Australia and
New Zealand as a student ambassador with People
to People Ambassador Programs. I was just entering
the fifth grade and was very excited about traveling to
the other side of the world with students my own age. The
trip turned out to be full of adventure and discovery.
The following year, I applied to be
a junior leader and joined my local People to People Student
Ambassadors group for another great adventure through the
Canadian Rockies. The trip departed from Vancouver, British
Columbia and took us to Banff National Park where I stood
on a glacier, slept in a tee-pee with the Blackfoot Indian
tribe and participated in an excavation dig in Drumheller,
Dinosaur capital of the world. As soon as I returned, I
was planning my next trip.
Future Student Ambassador trips took
me to the Great Wall in China, the Coronation Childrens’ Hospital
in South Africa, the Acropolis in Greece, the southern tip
of Argentina, and finally, to Antarctica.
Bringing Antarctica Home
Leading the group to Antarctica were
some very dedicated scientists, environmentalists, biologists,
and educators who wanted to teach teenagers like myself
and others about climate change and the problems facing
our planet—especially at the poles. Sailing through
the Drake Passage, nicknamed “the Drake Shake” by
many early explorers, was a true test of one’s sea-legs.
While sailing through the cold waters
of Antarctica, we attended lectures and learned about global
warming and climate change. The scientists and environmentalists
taught us lessons about the continent’s history, and
the many explorers who have navigated its vast terrain.
Each morning, we all woke up to the
daily impact of global climate change. We witnessed glaciers
melting and ice sheets slowly disappearing. After this experience,
I made a commitment to make changes in my daily life that
would impact the planet for good. As soon as I returned
home, I created a website about my experience in Antarctica
and included easy, everyday tips for individuals to reduce
their energy consumption.
The Benefits of Travel
Travel has undoubtedly shaped the person
I am today. As a result of my travels I have learned that
we are all global citizens—and that we actually have
far more in common than differences.
I have loved my experiences as a student
ambassador and believe it is not only important to see the
world but equally important that people from other countries
get to know me and the other student ambassadors from the
United States so that we can help break down some of the
misconceptions other countries may have about Americans.
I believe President Dwight D. Eisenhower
realized this when he first started the People to People
Student Ambassador program. He knew that the only way to
achieve lasting peace in this world would be through young
people taking the time and initiative to understand and
appreciate our differences while finding the common ground
that binds us together. .
At the age of fifteen, I may have already
seen all seven continents, but I plan to continue to pursue
opportunities to visit different parts of the world as I
finish high school and go on to college.
For more information on People to People
Ambassador Programs, please visit peopletopeople.com.