People to People

Thursday, June 23, 2016

I plan on flashing back to my trip to Europe over the next few weeks since it's been 10 years since the trip.  That being said, I thought I would start with talking about the reason I was in Europe in the first place.  It is very important to understanding some stories I may tell.

In high school, one of my teachers anonymously recommended me as a People to People Student Ambassador.  I actually got papers in the mail for the trip in 2005 first but was unable to go because I had to choose between P2P and my Uncles Wedding in CO/youth group road trip to Maine.  I was bummed not to be able to go (the trip was to Australia) but I think it worked out great because they sent me the papers again the next year and the trip was to France, Spain, Italy and Monaco with layovers in Germany!  I was beyond excited!  Italy had always been the number one place I wanted to go.

What is People to People:  It is an organization started by Dwight D. Eisenhower as a way to educate Americans about other cultures and preserve peace through diplomacy after World War 2.  The first delegation went to Europe in 1962.  Right now, the goal of People to People is increased cultural understanding and respect for those cultures.   

I think they are doing a great job!  As a Student Ambassador, I toured for 20 days with a delegation manager who was from Austria, a bus driver from Italy and other students from MD, FL, NC and CA.  We also got the opportunity to live with families in France and experience day to day life!

How Do You Get Involved:  I was recommended by a teacher but I am pretty sure you can just go online and get information to attend a local meeting, but I had never heard of it until I got papers in the mail.  There is also a process to go through before becoming a Student Ambassador.  You need to go to a meeting which gives parents and students and idea of what P2P is and what will be expected of the student.  Then after going through interviews, getting signed recommendations from teachers, and filling out applications a delegation is chosen.  After which there are monthly meetings where the students are able to meet the other travelers and the teachers accompanying them, and so the parents can understand the program.  We also had a fun party for all of the delegates about a week before the trip so that we could just have fun and get to know each other before beginning our journey.

What Is Included:  EVERYTHING.  Well, except for souvenirs.  All activities, food, hotels (3 star and up), bus, flights, tours, tips ect. are included in the price.   We got behind the scenes tours, got to live with a host family, and do a ropes course with people from New Zealand.  The price tag is a bit on the high side, but totally worth it and I truly believe we got what we paid for!

 Where Does P2P Go?  People to People has officially traveled to all seven continents.   They also have P2P International which is for P2P alumni who still want to be involved.  I am a member but have not participated in any of the trips.  They also have trips for sports, leadership and college students.  I highly recommend reading more about it especially if you have kids.  They can participate as early as 6th grade, I believe!

What Is A Delegation:  A delegation is made up of 2 teachers and 30 students.  Our delegation was slightly different in that we didn't have enough people from MD to make up a group of 30, which is what is required.  So, we met up with another group from NC and a group from FL and there was a random person from CA in there as well.  That made 30 people plus another two teachers and we didn't meet them until we got to Italy, which is a whole different story in itself.  We are also assigned a delegation manager who is a native European and is in charge of getting us to tours and occasionally giving a tour.  Our DM was Josef, who was a first time DM from Austria.  He was great!

Being able to travel with People to People was a true honor and a unique experience which I am very grateful for.  If I ever decide to have kids, they will definitely be participating.  Not only does it look great on college apps but you can also earn college credits by participating (only through certain universities such as American University).

I had always enjoyed traveling but this trip truly began my obsession with travel and cultures and is actually the reason I chose to study Anthropology.  I can not wait to share my experiences and hopefully inspire others to get their children involved with this amazing organization.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hayley Larue Design