If you've read last month's round-up, you'll know that the best travel stories are always engaging, informative, and most of all, make you want to start traveling, too! Without further ado, here are the 5 best travel stories on Go Overseas in October.
1. Judith Goltz, Teacher with TALMA: The Israel Program For Excellence in English
Judith, a teacher in the School District of Philadelphia, wanted a chance to teach abroad and travel without leaving her current position. With the dream to transition to international education, Judith joined TALMA to "network with other young teachers around the world, expand my own understanding of global education, and enjoy a summer in Israel at the same time!"
Inspired by TALMA's mission and her experience, Judith ended up returning to the program to participate for a total of two years! She says, "TALMA has renewed my passion for teaching and learning, and has no doubt influenced how I define my role as a teacher. I have taken so much away from this experience, learned to reflect on my own teaching and experiences, and passed on the lessons I have learned to my students back home, as well. It's the program that keeps on giving!"
Read Judith's interview to learn more about her inspiring experience in Israel.
2. Taylor Anderson, Volunteer with Projects Abroad Volunteer Programs in Tanzania
As a graduate student pursuing a degree in Medical Science, Taylor traveled to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, after being placed in a local hospital. She remarks, "Projects Abroad was simple to use and had a variety of staff members that were always available to talk to in order to ease any anxieties I felt regarding my upcoming travel."
Though she was anxious about adapting to her new surroundings as a novice traveler, Taylor quickly fell into a routine: "After a few days, I felt right at home. My host family was so gracious and the staff at the hospital made me feel very welcome." She recommends other nervous travelers to connect with others in similar situations and, above all, do research in advance about your host destination.
Read Taylor's interview to learn more about her journey in Tanzania.
3. Chantal Tønnessen Smeland, Gap Year Traveler with Global Citizen Year - Gap Year Program India
A student majoring in Human Ecology, Chantal applied to Global Citizen Year because "the program offered a highly intentional structure to not only develop me as a leader and person but also to challenge the perception of that notion." In other words, she asks, "How can you be a sustainable, impactful, and altruistic resource?"
Through Global Citizen Year, participants are given "an apprenticeship, a homestay, a language course, a complimenting curriculum and training, and eight months." The experience itself, Chantal says, is something that you have to define for yourself. Working as an English teacher assistant in India allowed Chantal to stretch beyond her limits and become comfortable working with her limitations. Her advice to other gap year travelers? "Don't be afraid to say YES and invest in a future you believe in by building experiential knowledge."
Read Chantal's interview to learn more about her gap year in India.
4. Kellane Kornegay, Teacher with TEFL Heaven: Paid teaching job Buenos Aires, Argentina
Kellane, a South Carolina native currently teaching in Buenos Aires, says that choosing TEFL Heaven was easy: "TEFL Heaven was always the most responsive and helpful on top of seeming to be the most organized. [...] They did a great job of preparing me for the trip without being overbearing or making me feel as though I had no control over what I was deciding to do or not do."
While taking classes towards her TEFL certificate, Kellane was able to observe classes and practice teaching over the span of 4 weeks, culminating in a guaranteed teaching job! She advises prospective travelers to "Keep your mind open and free of expectations. [...] The best times I have had traveling have been when I did not know what to expect."
Read Kellane's interview to learn more about her TEFL experience in Argentina.
5. Amy Sininger, Teacher with Teach English Abroad in Thailand with CIEE
As she completed her graduate degree at Dartmouth, Amy decided to teach abroad because she needed a change: "I could put my Cultural Studies, English and Creative Writing degrees to use and travel, but I could travel with meaning and purpose and give back."
With time to travel away from Bangkok on the weekends, Amy recounts her many journeys to destinations like Chiang Mai and Phuket, saying, "I got to explore places I never thought possible." However, she highlights her experience as a teacher as one of the most valuable parts of her time abroad: "I loved working with my students and I learned so much from them. It was the most rewarding job I have ever had."
Read Amy's interview to learn more about her teaching experience in Thailand.