It was three o’ clock in the morning and all forty of us were walking through the chilly, vacant airport at LAX about to board the plane to Europe. We were all wearing the same outfits: khaki colored pants and maroon colored polo shirts with a People to People logo on the upper left side and matching lanyards with a People to People Ambassador card attached to it so we wouldn’t lose each other. Each of us had just said an emotional goodbye to our parents and loved ones, but little did they know their children would come back changed, with a new outlook on life.
Toward the end of the extensive, tiring, and cramped plane ride, I saw the most beautiful sight. Looking through the window I saw the great, bright blue ocean meeting land. It was Italy, peaking through white, fluffy, cotton ball like clouds. After we landed and got our luggage, we hurried through the hustle and bustle of the crowds to go drop off our stuff at the hotel so we could go site seeing in the beautiful historic city. The first place we went to in Rome, Italy was the Colosseum. The Colosseum is so full of history; it is a 7,000 year old arena that was crème colored and the architecture was so incredible and aged, it looked like it was crumbling down. I had never seen anything so remarkable and beautiful in my life. It was difficult trying to stick together as a group because of all the thousands of people, both residents and foreigners, gazing at the brilliant historical site. It was then that I realized how different it felt being in another country; for once people were looking at me because I was the one with the accent, not them. It was interesting being in someone else’s shoes for once. While in Italy, we also saw the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, the Trevi Fountain, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the statue of David, Portovenere, and many other historical sites. They were all breathtaking and I will never forget how incredible it was to be in a place as beautiful as that.
When we arrived in France, the first place we went was a perfume factory in Monaco. Walking into this factory, we were overcome with thousands of different wonderful scents it made my head spin. Another area we visited was the beautiful medieval town of Carcassonne. It was castle like with vines overtaking the walls and contained incredible shops with jeweled swords. I felt like I was back in medieval times. On our unbelievable journey, we also visited Spain and went to Barcelona, Madrid, and Toledo.
Throughout this life changing trip, I not only got to see incredible sights, but I also met people that experienced this trip along with me and maintain a great friendship. I learned a lot about other cultures and I left Europe to go home and look at life in a different way. I can use these qualities throughout life in a situation where I would need to be more understanding. Seeing other cultures has made me more appreciative of the life I am living. My experiences have changed my outlook on life and I am very grateful for the things I have.
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