When I stepped off the plane in Zurich, Switzerland, the first thought that crossed my mind was: “Thank God we made it!” Prior to that flight, I had only flown once before–round-trip to Florida , with my family. Needless to say, I was a little nervous. This was a completely different experience. I was thousands of miles away from home, where unfamiliar languages were spoken. Also, I was with 43 complete strangers, students from other schools in Massachusetts. Our three week visit to six countries
, as a part of the People to People Student Ambassador Program was beginning. Though I was nervous, I was also extremely excited, because I knew it would be the trip of a lifetime. After finishing up at the airport, we filed on to the bus, and I sat with the one person I knew from school as we headed off to our first destination , the Swiss Alps
The whole bus ride, I was looking out the coach window eagerly at all of the beautiful sights, and taking as many pictures as I could. Stepping off the bus felt amazing; it was finally sinking in that I really was in Europe. The air was crisp, and there was a strong wind, like a late October day in New England, so it was hard to believe it was summer. I kept spinning around, trying to take everything in, it was all so beautiful. However, everything was different than America, from the architecture to the roads, to the food, though it was quaint, just as I had always imagined.
Rafting in the RhÃ´ne River, was my favorite part of the Alps. That trip showed us nature at it’s finest, and I wish I could have brought my camera on the raft! Before I knew it we were already leaving for Germany. Freiburg was our first stop and where our home stay took place. We had just started to really bond as a group (though there were still cliques like at school!) and now we all had to split up, and spend three days living with a German family. When I was taken to their house that first night, I could tell they were really inviting, but I felt so uncomfortable and out of place. I called some of my friends at home who already had this experience, and they promised everything would be okay. It turned out to be such a rewarding opportunity. They were friendly, and spoke English remarkably well. I got to attend school with their daughter, and eat home-made German cuisine, which was all delicious. It ended up being the most unique experience of my trip, and to this day I still talk to the family.
The rest of my trip involved many of the traditional highlights of Europe. Before leaving Germany we visited a Hard Rock CafÃ©, and the Heidelberg Castle
. In the Netherlands we toured Amsterdam
, and tried some delectable cheese, that had peppers and onions in it (inspired by the Southwest United States.) In the Hague, we swam in the North Sea (which is a lot warmer than the Atlantic Ocean off Maine, or the Cape.) Bruges,
was picturesque, with the cobblestone streets, and unique architecture. While there, I spent thirty-eight euros on the best chocolate
I’ve ever tasted. France (Paris and Omaha Beach
) and England (London
) lived up to every one of my expectations. It was inspiring to be in such a beautiful and historic place. My best memories, and some of my best friends came from this trip, which was undoubtedly the best experience of my life.
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