A letter came in the mail addressed to me on the envelope it had read my name and the logo with Blue thick letters that read People to People Organization. I had no knowledge of this organization, where did they come from, and how did they find me? Skeptically I opened the envelope, it had read “Congratulations, you have been nominated for the People to People Student Ambassador Program. In the Summer of 2006, you will visit the following countries France, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy”. It also read the introduction by Mary Eisenhower, the Grand Daughter of Dwight. D Eisenhower. Eisenhower created a academic program for young students to join, and to be culturally aware of the world. After I read this letter, I squealed. The sun was setting in through the window, it was a long day indeed. My spirits was lifted up as soon I read a little glimpse of my upcoming adventure.
However, I was still a little skeptical and so were my parents. But that was all changed as soon as we left for the Orientation meeting in a local school gym. The leaders, and the organization leaders told us everything about the program. Slide shows and recent People to People ambassador students recalling their trip. I was ecstatic, I could barely hold still in my seat. Afterward, I was serious about this trip. It was all I could think about. My family had started some fundrasing. Several different methods were used to raise approx five thousand dollars. The program fees usually varies on certain trips. Mine was “Discover Europe”, there are several different trips to various parts of the world, such as China, Australia, and several others countries in Europe.
Method one was to create Jars, and set them in different store locations. Which read
“Please help a student reach her dream of being a Student Ambassadors”. We mentioned our situation, so people would understand what the program was about. Method two was Garage sales, which helped quite a bit. We sold a lot of items, large tables, anything that would garnish a higher sales number. Method three, was to buy our Local Stores gift cards. Believe it or not, this was our number one way of raising money for People to People fees. A group of students would sell two types of gift cards; $50-100 dollar cards. The way it worked was this, the local store gave us a discount prices on the cards, and you would sell them to local customers, friends, families. It was easier for people to buy a gift card, and use it for the store only. It gave them a way to budget their food shopping money, they didn’t have to worry about Credit Card fees, or if they have money in their ATM. This way, swipe the card and you walked away with your grocery. Hassle free. I was amazed at how many people rather have gift cards for their grocery shopping than to use their own cards. Which made sense, needless to say most locals purchased the cards, and wish me good luck for my upcoming trip.
Throughout the school year, the Group meets up on the weekend. The reason for this, was to get acquainted with your peers, to prepare for the trip, and learn about the country that we are visiting. Normally a big project follows, you are assigned a country, and on a particular subject. My project was Italy’s flora and fauna. Flora which is Italian for flower, and plant life. Fauna meant the wildlife in Italy. Not to worry, this project was fun and easy to do. Overall the meetings were fantastic, I was able to make friends before the trip. Which made me feel at ease, I wouldn’t be traveling alone, now I would be traveling with friends.
The school year couldn’t have gone any faster, anticipating my trip. All was done, the fees were paid off, the necessities were picked up. All that was left was to wake up at 3am in the morning and jet off to the airport for my whirlwind adventure. Before I knew it, it was July 5th, and I was on my way. I couldn’t have been happier. My first trip abroad.
If you have the chance to send your niece, nephews, your kids on this distinguished program. DO. They will make long lasting friendships, they will have an enriching cultural experience, they will also create memories that will last them a lifetime. I cannot think of a reason NOT to go, I can go on and on about reasons WHY you MUST. Another important reason, the student that goes gets 12 credits for school, which can be applied for High school, or for College Credits. Which helped me significantly in High School, I was ahead of my class!
Plus, once a Student Ambassador, you are eligible for other trips abroad. There is even an Alumni trip, that takes you to various locations such as South America, Russia, and so on. Do this for them. I went, and I do not regret a single thing.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me. I would be happy to help you with the Student Ambassador process.