Back in July, we joined our friends People to People and 19 delegates to learn all about the program and to take in everything Europe has to offer us including cooking classes, the Eiffel Tower & a gondola ride through the Grand Canal… just to name a few!
You better believe we had to pinch ourselves just thinking about the fact we were given the opportunity to travel through Europe for 10 days! It still seems unreal.
For 50 years, People to People Ambassador Programs has been changing the world through educational student travel.
Their students have witnessed and participated in some of the most amazing moments in global history, blazed trails of international peace and met many of the world’s most influential people.
We started our journey on a grey cloudy day in Atlanta. It had been raining for days. We landed in Rome at 7:30 a.m. on July 11, 2013 to a sunshine filled day.
Not a cloud in sight for the entire People to People Ambassador Program’s “Classical Europe” trip that showed us sights from Rome to Paris.
As we picked up our luggage, we were surprised to see a blond “Audrey Hepburn” holding up a placard with our names on it. Her name is Susanne Hinterlehner, our on the ground People to People Delegation Manager, who speaks five languages, and kept us all on schedule and organized the entire trip!
We meet eighteen Middle School students from all across the United States, along with James Wagner, a High School Vice Principal from Mount Clemens, MI, and Laura Varano, a teacher who is fluent in four languages, and teaches both French and Italian, from Philadelphia, PA. We were also joined by Katy Mattana, who has been with People to People some twenty years. Of course, we all had one goal in mind, the students and their experience.
I spoke to each of students one on one, asking them “are you enjoying the trip?” and every one of them said, “YES!”
Indeed how could they not? They experienced so much with seasoned tour guides, from the Roman Coliseum, to Vatican City and The Sistine Chapel. And that was just the first two days!
In Florence, we saw the Duomo with its bronze doors called the Gate to Paradise, Michelangelo’s David, and also visited a cooking school where we all learned how to make an authentic Italian pizza cooked in a brick oven.
Our stop in Venice included a Venetian gondola ride in the “Canale Grande,” San Marco Square, a glass blowing presentation at the famous Murano Glass Company and beach time!
Some of them describe San Marco Cathedral as fairy tale like, which it is.
After Rome, Florence, Venice, what else could there be, but an overnight train to Paris!
I saw the same excited faces that I had observed at the Coliseum when they saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time! The words I heard at the top were “WOW, what a view!”
Next was the small Statue of Liberty in the Park Versailles, the Arch of Triumph, the Louvre Museum, Versailles, Notre Dame, shopping on the Champs De Elysee and more.
The students experienced planes, buses, the underground metro, boats and trains.
The Italian cuisine, included various types of pasta (some cooked in squid sauce that turned our tongues black), pizza, tiramisu and gelato. But let’s not forget the chocolate pizza, yum!
In France there was crepes, croissants, chocolate filled croissants, éclairs, and of course the Hard Rock Café in Paris!
In these ten days of sights and sounds, I saw the students building relationships with each other that will last for a lifetime…
Would they do it again? One of the girls told me, “I hope to go on another People to People trip next year.”
Curious about People to People? Check out our recent article on their programs and click here to sign up your student for their upcoming programs!
500,000 Students and teachers have participated in People to People Ambassador Programs.
Why People to People? Click here to find out why! Sign your child or grandchild up for one of the winter programs that are coming up soon!
For 50 years, People to People Ambassador Programs has provided educational travel for students across the globe. Located in Spokane, WA, People to People Ambassador Programs is home to more than 200 employees who are dedicated to the design and delivery of each People to People program.
With more than 20,000 Ambassadors traveling annually, People to People Ambassador Programs continues to play a significant role in increasing global awareness.
As one of the the world’s most recognized and respected educational travel providers, People to People Ambassador Programs travels both students and professionals around the globe.