For most of my time in high school I have been a quiet student with many friendly relationships but never any close friends from school. I also was never away from my parents for more than a few days at a time; I would have never guessed that one trip to Europe could change that.
In April 2009 I went on a trip to Paris and London with my school through an ACIS program. This trip was only for students who were in AP classes and took education seriously. When signing up I was hesitant and felt like this might be a useless way to spend my parent’s hard-earned money. I cannot find the words to express just how wrong I Was.
The trip included various tours and trips to museums where I learned so much about European history and the landmarks in these two countries. Some of this information I remember and some of it I don’t, but I do remember the culture and the type of people I met while there. That is the part that I can say significantly affected me as a person. Getting to experience the way people live on the other side of the world is the most valuable souvenir you can bring home from a vacation. This trip was also very humbling because it put into realization the fact that we are not the only country to exist and the way we live is not the only way.
Besides the cultural education I received while visiting London and Paris, this trip also brought me a good deal of independence. By leaving the country for 10 days with no parents in sight I learned that I can do things and go places on my own. For once I got a taste of the real world and how it will be when I go to college.
The best part of my experience was how close the other students and I became because of the memories we created in another country. Even just the endless hours sitting on a bus to get from place to place allowed us to bond in ways we wouldn’t have in a typical learning environment. Learning about all the ancient buildings and trying to speak a different language together, truly brought our friendships closer. Now I am confident in taking on responsibility and in knowing that I am intelligent enough to take a trip by myself. The small taste of the world I received has opened me to so many goals and aspirations for the future. I would recommend taking a trip like this to anyone who needs some self confidence or simply just wants to prepare themselves for independence.
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.