There’s no greater resource for education than to venture out into the world and use its surroundings as a classroom. The interactions that occur between people of different nations are special. They promote understanding, flexibility, and peace.
In my opinion, there is no greater effort towards the world’s prosperity than the establishment of such relationships. I was fortunate to have aided in such a task as I had a three-week stay in both New Zealand and Australia in the summer of 2005. The People to People Student Ambassador Program that I was a part of was influential to creating an atmosphere that I as a delegate could learn from and enjoy.
However, before embarking I knew that it was not the itinerary of the trip that would make it special, but the effort I put in to interact with everything that made the two nations unique. Luckily, in this regard, I can feel a sense of success. One such example was a three-day period when I was assigned to a home in New Zealand.
There I would stay with a family of three. Many would expect those three days to be awkward, filled with small talk and much silence. After all, I was a stranger to them and visa-versa.
I had no previous notion of the people I would be staying with. After a short time however, it felt like a family of four. Three Kiwis. One American. One family. At this point, this relationship was not only something I had to build, it was a relationship I wanted to build.
I wanted the opportunity to represent America with pride and a passion for friendship. At the end of my stay, I wanted my host family to have a fantastic outlook on Americans and their nation. I can honestly say I feel I succeeded.
We lived with each other. We talked with each other. We laughed with each other. Most significantly, we learned from each other. It was genuine. It was real. It was a connection that I’ll never forget.
I hope the time I spent there was influential not only to my life, but also to all those involved. It was in this way that I felt I made a difference; that this trip truly mattered. In the end, that’s what we’re all looking for, the chance to matter, the chance to affect change.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.