How it all started…
January 15, 2011 § Leave a comment
When we came back from Australia, our Pastor submitted my name to a local magazine, as an “outstanding student”. I didn’t know he was going to do it, and was very surprised to see my name and photo in the magazine! A few months later, I got a letter from the “People to People” program saying I had been nominated as a potential “ambassador”! They invited me and my parents to a meeting explaining the program, where they asked me to apply. I thought about it for a long time. But, I had already spent over a year away from the United States, and wanted to spend my summer in Montana with my friends and my new colt. So, I turned it down. I thought that was the end of it.
But, later I reunited with a childhood friend, Corey Bennett, who had actually been nominated and accepted for the People to People trip I turned down! His stories and his pictures, and the fact that I could have been on that trip WITH him, made me sad that I hadn’t applied. So, when another letter arrived early this year, from People to People, offering to allow me to apply again, I jumped at the chance!
People to People is an educational program for young people, meant to build future leaders for our nation. It is built on the idea that people who understand each other and reach out to each other in friendship, are more likely to build peaceful relationships and trade partnerships. This program was the brain child of President Dwight David Eisenhower. It has been supported by all the United States Presidents since then.
My delegation is going to travel to ITALY, FRANCE, SWITZERLAND, AND AUSTRIA. We will be gone 19 days! The trip is led by local school teachers. And before we go, we have monthly meetings, which include class time, learning about the customs and traditions, money, political ideology and protocols for Ambassadors in the areas we will visit. I will earn High School and College credit for this classroom time. This also gives us time to get to know the rest of our local delegation; the kids we will spend all our time with, in Europe. Part of the experience is learning to be a part of the Montana team!
Some of the highlights of our trip, will be:
- Take in thrilling panoramic views of Paris from high atop the Eiffel Tower.
- Admire artistic masterpieces at the Louvre Museum, including the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and Winged Victory.
- Stroll the Champs-Elysées, and examine the elegant Arc de Triomphe.
- Explore the inspiring art and architecture of Notre Dame Cathedral.
- Understand luxury at the gilded Palace of Versailles.
- See the actual home where Mozart was born, and witness the beautiful scenery that inspired The Sound of Music.
- Learn to bake an Austrian specialty (Apfelstrudel) with guidance from professional chefs.
- Experience the eerie quiet of Mauthausen, one of the deadliest concentration camps of World War II.
- Understand why President Eisenhower developed his vision for People to People after visiting this camp.
- Discuss life in a concentration camp with one of the few remaining survivors.
- Re-create life in the Middle Ages, complete with authentic clothing, food, and games.
- Get to know European students during a home stay with an Austrian, Swiss, or German family.
- Learn about and observe the daily life of an Austrian farmer in this mountain town.
- Get a true taste of Austria when we learn a popular dance.
- float the canals in a traditional Venetian gondola.
- Watch a glassblower demonstrate this remarkable craft.
- Ramble through picturesque Tuscany on your way to Florence.
- Discover the fantastic art and architecture that mark Florence as the birthplace of the Renaissance.
- See Michelangelo’s impressive 14-foot-tall statue of David in the Accademia Gallery.
- Learn about Italian religious life by talking with a political or church official.
- Explore Pisa, home of the famous Leaning Tower.
- Step into the Colosseum, and imagine the spectacles that millions watched from within its walls.
- Meander through the ancient ruins of the Forum, and learn about this heart of the city during the time of the emperors.
- Explore the Vatican, home to the pope, and examine Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel masterpiece.
- Toss a coin into the legendary Trevi Fountain.