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Freshman gains cultural experience with 'People to People'

I have travelled all over the world and during the summer, I continued that journey. After going to Washington State and Alaska on previous trips, I went on a trip with a company called People to People.

People to People is a company which takes groups of kids around the world to teach them about other cultures and customs. If a teacher recommends you, you will receive a letter asking you to join them on their next trip. We traveled to Austria, Switzerland, France and Italy.

The best part for me was reading one of my favorite books, The Grimm Brothers Fairy Tales, while traveling through Austria, where they were written.

My parents and I left for San Francisco at 12 p.m., the night before my big trip. The next day, we left for the airport at one in the morning to meet with the rest of my delegation and hopped on another airplane for a four-hour plane ride.

Finally, we made it to Chicago and met the other group, who were from Louisiana. After making contact with them, we got onto another airplane, this time for 14 hours, heading to our first destination: Rome.

Over the next week, we travelled all over Rome and then to many destinations across Italy. We went to the Colosseum, acted like Roman gladiators, visited the Roman Forum and even went to the smallest country in the world: Vatican City.

In the Vatican, we saw the Pope’s personal collection of Greek and Roman art, which interested me a lot, since my family is Greek. We also saw the Sistine Chapel, which was very beautiful and somewhat surreal.

After all the fun in Italy was over, we travelled to Switzerland for a day. We then went to my new favorite country: Austria. In Austria, we went to a building site as a crew was recreating a castle. We helped build a medieval castle in the same way they did when they first made medieval castles; we also cut wood that will be added to a walkway.

From there, we travelled to our last stop: France. The first night we got in we were all very tired, so we just went to bed. The next day, we went to the Eiffel Tower and the massive and grand Chateau de Versailles.

While we were in France, we visited the Louvre Museum. After we were done, we went outside and were given an hour of free time. Three friends and I went to a nearby carnival that we saw from the Louvre.

There was a roller coaster there, which was made of two pods tied together with a bar and it swung around in a giant circle. As we went around, I began screaming random things. We rode it twice and I almost blacked out from lack of g force. We could barely walk straight afterwords.

The next couple of days we started getting ready for the return journey home. We began countdowns to when we would leave. Though we all had fun, all things must come to an end.

On our final day, we went to the airport and flew back to Chicago. When it was time for the first group to leave, there was a tear filled goodbye.

I made lots of new friends on this trip, most of which I have kept in touch with. I have already received a letter inviting me to do a similar trip next summer but sadly I won’t be able to go because my family will be hosting a foreign exchange student from Scotland. If all goes to plan, I will go to live with him the summer after that.

I have lots of plans for my life and I know God has lots more. I plan to follow them as best I can. Hopefully, I can do another one of these trips in a few years. It was a great experience because we were able to learn while having so much fun. I highly suggest doing it if you have the chance.

For more opinions, read the Oct. 3 article, College Corner: SAT or ACT?.

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