By Melissa Knowlton
It is not uncommon for students to participate in more than one trip with us. In our last post, we learned about Liza's spring 2018 trip to Jordan, and about how she loved it so much that she is now signed up for our spring 2020 trip to Jordan.
Ashley Lenze is currently a third year studying computer & digital forensics. For the spring of 2018, Ashley joined us (and Liza) on our trip to Jordan, and this spring (2019) she ventured with us to India. Both trips are centered on cultural immersion, getting out of your comfort zone, and embracing the new adventure. Here is Ashley's experience traveling with HLA twice:
Put your heart into this trip, because Scudder sure does.
What was your favorite moment from the trips?
In Jordan, Scudder and I broke off from the main group one night in Amman to get coffee. We stumbled upon a Jordanian film school that had a coffee shop. We sat there for a while with our coffee and watched the people film a movie.
I loved this moment because it wasn't something that you could plan to see; it was something that just happened to us. Some of my favorite parts of travel are the moments where you feel like you're at home in the place that you are, and that was one of those moments.
What did you learn from this trip?
On each trip I definitely learned a lot about the places that we visited. We had great guides in both India and Jordan, and they imparted so much of their knowledge on the group.
What would you tell someone who is considering a trip with HLA?
Put your heart into this trip, because Scudder sure does. The level of planning and preparation that goes into showing students parts of the world that he loves is immense, so don't go if you aren't prepared to bring a similar amount of passion.
If you want to travel, this is the way to do it. You don't have to plan a thing, and you get to experience some of the most incredible places on Earth. You go with a great group of people, and there is never a dull moment.
What made you pick this trip over others?
I think that travelling to another part of the world that completely dissimilar to your own is the most rewarding way to travel. Trips to Europe don't really have that aspect. When you're in a place completely foreign to you, where you can't speak or even read the language, and the culture is completely different, I think it's a really humbling experience. You really understand how small you and your worldview are, and that there's a lot out there to see and experience.
I think that these trips are really great for gaining a new lens with which to look at the world. On each trip I've been on, my understanding of religion, history, international relations, etc. has been expanded by what I saw and experienced. When I come back, I try to bring these experiences to the people close to me, so that they can benefit from the experience as well. However, I really believe that there is no substitute for going out and having those experiences yourself.