Greenheart Travel alumni have many opportunities to stay connected to cultural exchange once they return home, and one is by becoming a Greenheart Travel alumni ambassador.
This year, Greenheart Travel selected three high school students who recently went abroad. They traveled, lived with host families, learned a new language, overcame linguistic and cultural barriers – and are here to share their stories.
Throughout this year, these alumni ambassadors will be sharing their stories of cultural exchange and promoting cross-cultural awareness in their communities through events and activities.
Christina is a current high school sophomore with interests in medical science and foreign languages. She studied in Fukuoka, Japan in 2018 and has missed the “everyday experience of speaking Japanese, buying my budget lunch at the Japanese 711s, and buying more pastries and other sweets at the local vendors,” she tells us. She says she wishes American cities had the same cleanliness she found in Japan. Something interesting she encountered? Vending machines. In Japan, these sell everything from snacks and drinks to soup and new T-shirts.
“Although visiting Japan was definitely a culture shock, I found it to be a rewarding experience and allowed me to broaden my perspective and meet people from all over the globe with similar passions as my own,” says Christina.
Katianna studied in Badajoz, Spain for one semester in 2019, and can’t wait to go back for a study abroad in college and of course, to visit her friends and host family.
If she could bring one thing about Spain back to the U.S., she says it would either be the eating schedule or how affectionate everyone is. We asked her what she misses the most, and she told us it was hanging out with her host sister and getting coffee with her friends. “I loved my time abroad and I recommend it to everyone!” she says.
Tess is a Davis-based martial artist, avid Spanish learner, and school debate team member. She studied in Spain for one semester in 2019 and hopes to travel to France next year and also study abroad in college. During her abroad experience, she fully embraced the Spanish siesta (we’d highly recommend trying it) and the accepting culture but was surprised to learn how much meat the Spanish ate.