Student Spotlight on Martin Tomlinson; Greenheart’s Newest Travel Correspondent in Spain

Student Spotlight on Martin Tomlinson; Greenheart’s Newest Travel Correspondent in Spain

Greenheart Travel is excited to send a group of amazing travelers to study and volunteer abroad as part of our 2017 Travel Correspondent and Global Explorer Scholarship awards. To help introduce our inspiring writers, we are doing a series of spotlight interviews to help you get to know a little more about who they are, where they will be headed and what inspired them to travel abroad.

Read on to meet 16-year-old, Martin Tomlinson, our Greenheart Travel Global Explorer Scholarship winner from Overland Park, Kansas, who’ll be studying abroad this fall in Spain!

Favorite thing to do in your free time?

My favorite thing to do in my free time is to take photographs. I am very passionate about photography because it allows me to materialize the world around me. I also enjoy playing the guitar, hiking, cycling reading and exploring the outdoors.


Have you traveled abroad before?

I spent one month on scholarship in Seville, Spain on a language and culture program. Also, my community service project was a finalist for AFS Project Change. I was awarded a scholarship to do a community service project in India. I spent two weeks in New Delhi learning about working with students and learning about the Indian culture.  

What got you interested in learning a new language and studying abroad?

There have been many times with my community service that speaking Spanish would have been helpful. The two weeks I spent on the Arizona and Mexico border working on immigrant issues made me realize just how important it was to learn Spanish.

I had an inspiring teacher at Conserve School that made Spanish come alive and showed me the true beauty of the language. She made me feel becoming fluent was a real possibility. I am now working on becoming fluent so I can return to the border and really make an impact. I believe studying abroad and immersion in the Spanish culture will be the most enjoyable and fastest way of learning the language well.


What are you most excited about experiencing or seeing during your high school abroad program?

I am very excited about experiencing high school life and living with a homestay family because I will be able to make real connections with the Spanish people. I am also excited about the little things and the unexpected things that will come up. The spontaneous moments tend to be the best parts of a trip.   

Why do you feel it’s important to travel to a new place and experience a different culture?

World travel is important to create understanding between different cultures. Going to new places reinforces the idea that we are all the same.  It is important to be a global citizen. Experiencing a different culture not only helps me understand it, but also helps me examine my culture and examine my views in deeper and more meaningful way. I want to become the most understanding person that I can possibly be.   

What are you nervous about?

I am nervous about being able to effectively communicate in Spanish. Doing the same work as the Spanish students will be very challenging. I am also concerned that I won’t be to accurately represent my personality in a second language. I like to use humor a lot and I think that could be difficult. I don’t want to accidentally offend anyone.

How have you prepared for your time living and studying abroad?

 I have taken Spanish classes and this summer I am studying on my own to prepare for my trip. I am also trying to expose myself to as much of the Spanish culture as I can through movies, art, literature and music. My dad is a librarian so it is only natural that the first place I looked was the local library. I have checked out just about every book I could find about Spain.


How do you think you will change the most during your time abroad?

I think I will become a more confident, independent and flexible person and traveler with a better understanding of my identity.  Also, I think I will be much closer fluency in Spanish.


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