Dreaming Big: The Power of International Travel
Bonds That Will Last a Lifetime
I knew from the moment I saw the itinerary for the international trip to Germany and Switzerland, I was meant to go on this trip. Europe was a dream. While there, I aimed to step outside my comfort zone, experience new things, and obtain knowledge that I could use to benefit my community. As you could imagine, I definitely wasn’t disappointed.
Normally, I’m not an extremely social person, so being in a group with so many of my peers across the Atlantic wasn’t exactly an appealing thought. Luckily, I took the time to get to know the people on my trip rather than seclude myself. I came home with bonds that will last a lifetime.
One particular memory that stands out is our group’s trip to Freiburg. In the evening of our first day, we took a walk through a picturesque area and sat and watched the sunset on grassy hills overlooking the city. Afterwards, we visited our group leader’s old home where a beautiful table of flowers, grape juice, cakes and sparkling water were waiting for us. I’ll never forget the smiles and laughter we all shared that night.
The trip also focused a lot on sustainable technology and energy, which is something I’m very passionate about. I had the chance to attend the Global Leadership Summit and heard from renowned speakers like Randi Zuckerburg, Glen Keane, and Jason Latimer. If it weren’t for this trip, I would never have met these incredible individuals.
It’s still hard for me to wrap my head around the memory of me, in a conference room in Berlin, shaking the hand of the man who created my favorite Disney characters and listening to him tell me that I can do anything.
I learned about hydroelectric energy inside of a cave in the Swiss Alps and saw solar panels on a hotel visited by Marie Antoinette. It’s absolutely mind-boggling. On the trip, we were surprised when we were given the opportunity to visit a small town in France. Since this was a childhood dream of mine, I was ecstatic. We only had time for a boat ride and dinner, but that didn’t make the experience any less meaningful.
I’m glad I had so much encouragement and support when I decided to apply for the trip. My houseparents, friends and teachers all pushed me to step outside my comfort zone and take advantage of this unique opportunity.
When I first came to high school two years ago and heard about the international travel program, I knew instantly I had to apply for it. I decided I wanted to go on the global education trip to Germany because my family lives there and I wanted to meet them. I wanted to learn more about the culture and why my family has certain traditions during the holidays.
While in Germany, there was a lot that surprised me. The people there are very honest, the food is rich and healthy, and they rarely use air conditioners. I learned that Germany and Switzerland are very efficient with technology and create new inventions that help save energy and water.
One of my biggest takeaways from the trip is from the Global Leadership Summit that was held in Germany. During the course of four days, we were put into groups with people we never met. We listened to keynote speakers and one of the speakers I will remember forever is Jason Latimer, a magician. He talked to us about how you should never give up on your dreams and you can never ask to many questions.
Listening to him helped reassure me that all my dreams can come true if I believe they can—and to always ask questions because that’s how your future can be shaped.
My favorite memory is when our tour director took us to his parent’s “flat” and talked to us about Germany. It was so nice because we connected with his parents and learned how their culture is different than the United States.
I would encourage every MHS student to apply for an international trip. They are life-changing, and you’ll meet people you really connect with.
Diana enrolled at MHS in eighth grade from Gardners, Pennsylvania.
Sinclaire enrolled at MHS in fifth grade from York, Pennsylvania.