Europe 2012 | My Family Travels
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Bg Switzerland 2012

     My name is Bryan Gray and on behalf of the People to People Student Ambassador Program I would like to share my experience traveling to another country. People to People is a program that selects teenagers like myself to go overseas to another country to be ambassadors for America. We show, through our actions and behavior, that all Americans are not all mean, stubborn, and reckless. Our delegation consisted of 43 students and the places we visited were France, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy. In Paris we stayed in the Campanile Creteil hotel, in Switzerland we stayed with a Swiss family, in Austria we stayed in the Burg Friesach hotel, and in Italy we stayed in the Hotel Princess. Each of these places were unique, however, I would like to only talk about one of these places that being Switzerland.

     When I first began this trip I did not know much about Switzerland. I thought Switzerland would be the most boring part of my trip. However, once I visited Switzerland my thought about it changed and it ended up becoming my favorite part of the trip. In Switzerland, we got the chance to stay in a home of one of the families who lived in Switzerland. My home stay mother and father had five children. They had four boys and one girl. The mother, father, and their two oldest could speak English along with Swiss German, which is their national language. They also spoke French, which is their secondary language, and then Italian. Switzerland kids have three languages they have to learn and they are Swiss German, French, and then English. I went to their school one morning to view their history class and it was exactly like school here in America. Another thing I found very interesting was to own a car in Switzerland is very expensive. Therefore, a lot of people ride bikes everywhere or only have just one car. It is not that bad though, because the town is so small that everybody knows each other and the stores are in walking distance. Biking, however, is their main means of transportation and you have to only ride on the street because it is illegal to ride on the sidewalk. The landscape in Switzerland is amazing though. No matter where you go you can see mountains and they are absolutely beautiful. Our home stay family actually took us up hiking on a mountain and you would look across to see the snowcapped mountains, which looked amazing. We had lunch on the top of the mountain and then came down afterwards. We spent a total of three days with the family and I absolutely loved being with them.

     The time we were there changed how I looked at some things and I got an idea of what they think of America. Their oldest son one night said, “He thinks America is crazy and wouldn’t want to live there, but only wanted to visit”. One of the reasons he said he would not live there is because he said so many people make mistakes in America and someone else wants to sue them just so they can get money. He said no one in Switzerland would do that because they’re like one big family. That made me feel bad about America in general and made me think; Is this really what a lot of people think about America?

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