Want to travel abroad over the summer? I know it seems a little daunting, but trust me, from having traveled to Thailand and Iceland these last summers, I am speaking from experience when I say a trip to a new place will change your life. Nowadays, there are hundreds of travel companies that advertise teen travel experiences, but sometimes it’s nice to get some recommendations to find out which companies are best! I have collected a list of the best travel companies accompanied with testimonials from people right here at Kent Place to help you in your summer planning. Happy traveling!
“Rustic Pathways is the company I used to travel to Thailand this summer! Since 1983, Rustic has been committed to infussing philanthropy and education into their travel programs to sixteen featured countries. On my trip I spent two weeks at the Ricefields Base House in Udon Thani. I passed my days doing community service activities in the neighborhood, such as teaching school children English, mixing cement for houses, cooking and delivering food to villagers, and planting rice in a Thai rice patty to name a few. Alongside the primary community service aspect, comes Rustic Pathways’s focus on cultural immersion. In Thailand, I was exposed to culturally significant Thai dances, participated in a cultural exchange activity with Thai teens, and even experimented with Thai delicacies firsthand. Normally a non-adventurous eater, I pride myself with having eaten crickets and a whole frog by the end of the trip. If you decide to go on a Rustic Pathways expedition, come prepared to make the absolute most of your experience and to suck up the history and customs of your respective destination! In my opinion, one of the best parts of travelling is the experiences and people that you meet. From my time in Thailand, I have walked away with connections to people from all over the world. I made friends with teens from Turkey, China, Germany and Mexico, that I still keep in contact with today!”-Tyler Newman, Grade 10
“I went to Valencia, Spain for two weeks during the summer with a program called GLA. I also took the opportunity to do a side trip to Barcelona while there as well! While in Valencia, I volunteered with children in local schools, helping improve their lives while simultaneously practicing my Spanish. Living in a hostel was life-changing, and I truly felt more connected to Spanish lifestyle and culture. During free times, I was able to venture into town and explore, going to dinner with my newfound friends as well as attending a concert.
Leadership was at the heart of my GLA program. My GLA group attended team bonding activities in order to learn about each other in depth. Our close bonds contributed to increased effectiveness; when we went into the town and served the community, we really worked as a team. Some of my favorite experiences included going to Parkwell, Barcelona to attend an art show and of course, playing Texas Holdem with my friends. Before GLA, I was so scared to go overseas; I barely attended sleepovers, so how would I be able to go 3,807 miles away from home? My summer in Spain really expanded my worldview and made me into the person I’ve become.” - Gabby Alpert, Grade 11
“I traveled to Valencia, Spain with GLA. I thought the program was great for people who are interested in sightseeing, language immersion, and community service. We went to a local summer camp each day to talk and play with the children, which not only helped the counselors and made the kids happy but was great for practicing Spanish. We stayed in a hostel for the majority of the two-week trip, which was also a great experience to get to know and talk regularly to the families who ran the hostel. We also took Spanish classes at a nearby learning center in an educational setting where we mostly focused on grammar and commonly used phrases. Overall, I thought the program was really fun and organized, and I had a great experience.” -Gillian Gogliormella, Grade 11
“For the past two years I have gone on summer programs through the Road Less Traveled, a service driven travel company that offers trips to destinations all around the world. I stayed within the country both times. In 2016, I went to Utah and spent most of my time at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary volunteering and helping out with the animals, visitors, building projects, weeding and lots of cleaning! I had the most incredible time. Last year I went on a similar trip to Colorado where we camped and volunteered at numerous places, such as farms and a wolf sanctuary! We also were able to participate in fun outings such as white water rafting, zip lines, rock climbing, hiking, sledding down mountains (we were so high up that there was still snow!) climbing huge sand dunes, and much more. I am planning to do a trip out of the country next summer. I couldn’t recommend this company enough.” -Molly Kelley, Grade 9
“After completing an application and selecting my courses, I had the privilege to spend six weeks at Institut Le Rosey in Rolle, Switzerland the summer going into my sophomore year. When I applied, I had one primary aspiration: to improve my French. However, this program provided so much more. Offering classes in French, English, Spanish, Maths, and SAT prep, students spent their day up until 2pm studying with renowned professors. After this, we had the ability to do sports and arts ranging from water skiing on Lac Rolle to taking singing lessons and performing at the end of summer concert. In addition to the wonderful activities offered during the weeks, the weekends were spent exploring different parts of France and Switzerland and taking part in immersions. While I had a fabulous time and learned a lot through these activities, my greatest takeaway from this program was the lifelong friendships I created with girls and boys from around the world. To this day I consider them some of my closest friends. (A group of us will be spending a week in Norway together this summer!) I would truly recommend Institut Le Rosey in Rolle to anyone looking to improve their language skills and would be happy to talk to anyone considering it!” -Katherine Vieser, Grade 12
“This program is a French immersion program in Nice, France, and I went for two weeks. At the beginning of the program, you are placed into beginner, intermediate, or advanced level, and you take French language class every morning from Monday to Friday. Three days a week you take an elective, which can either be French conversation and culture, photography, or visual arts. The other two days a week you do activities in Nice such as going to the beach, parasailing, shopping, or finding cafés with your friends. Weekends consist of outings to different destinations including Monaco, St. Tropez, and Cannes. My favorite part of the program was all of the free time that we were given to explore the city with my friends which included going to museums, gardens, and restaurants. I made amazing friends over only two weeks and I still visit them even after the trip! If you are looking for language immersion through a homestay, this may not be the program for you. However, if you are seeking a residential community where all of the students live together, exploring French culture with each other I urge you to try this company out!” - Julia Chandonnet, Grade 12