Getting Ready to Travel with Wise Words from Alumni

In preparation for their first high school summer program abroad, many students and parents often ask for advice. We posed the question to our extended network of alumni and veteran leaders of our summer travel programs, and got some great responses. Check out these wise words from those who have traveled on a variety of summer programs abroad

“Be open-minded and try new things. This is the best time to break out of your shell and find out who you really are. And remember, HAVE FUN! You will remember the trip for the rest of your life.”

-Tristan Schreck , Community Service Tanzania, 2005

“Come in with an open mind and you will be rewarded with experiences and friends that you’ll remember forever.”

-Paul Murray, Excel at Amherst College leader, 2011

“Don’t get caught up in any drama, anxiety, insecurity…revel in what is before you.  There are two smart people (your leaders) showing you a wonderfully rich part of the world and they will provide you with experiences and help you develop skills that will allow you the confidence to travel for a lifetime.”

-Schuyler Ryon, Cultural Exploration Switzerland, Italy, France, Holland, 1984

“Enjoy every single day of the trip and learn as much as you can in this friendly environment. Be open to interacting with others because it will allow you to create long lasting friendships! The staff is also cool!”

-Moises Estrada, Excel at Amherst College, 2011

“The best thing you can do is be as open and as friendly as possible. Don’t be nervous. Remember that almost everyone comes to the program not knowing a single person, just like you probably will. Get involved with as many activities and excursions as you can. Last of all, never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something new.”

-Zoe Barbati, Excel at Amherst College, 2011

“Make sure to pack exactly how Putney tells you to. They do a fantastic job telling you what you need. If anything, bring an extra headlamp because those come in handy. You also need to go in with an open mind. There can be quite a bit of culture shock in the beginning. While that is completely normal, being open-minded will help you get through it.”

 -Jason Rubinstein, Community Service Costa Rica 2010, Tanzania 2011

“Get to know the language, meet new people, try activities and foods you normally wouldn’t, and be willing to stay off the grid for a while.  Sometimes, the best way to experience a new place is to let go of your tether to your home, wherever that may be.”

-Michael Schwebel, Community Service Costa Rica leader, 2011

“1. Be open minded to all kinds of life, cultures, and people.

2. When traveling to your respective country on a Putney program, become aware of the    country’s history, political, and social issues

3. Be a traveler, not a tourist!”

-Lindsey Weiss, Global Awareness in Action El Salvador, 2008

“Enjoy every minute, be it by hanging out with the rest of the group, with the locals or just by spending some time alone. it’s good to take a couple of minutes everyday to just take it all in and check if your feet are still touching the ground.”

-Stephanie Kestelman, Community Service Senegal 2011

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