I am so thankful to have chosen a program that allowed me to see many wonders of the world. “Arts and Gardens: The Grand Tour” took me through 10 cities over 6 countries in 20 days. Though the travel was strenuous, it was so worth it!

We began our journey by exploring the ruins of Pompeii. Visiting this site was surreal to me as I could vividly remember learning about the tragic volcano explosion in my homeschool lessons as a child.

As we toured through Rome and France, I was able to see many wonders of the world: The Trevon Fountain, The Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, and many pieces of timeless art in the Capitoline Museum. A friend and I used our free afternoon to visit the Vatican museum – a place I never thought I’d have the privilege to step foot in.

Beginning the trip in Italy was very valuable because we were able to see many pieces of ancient and classical history.

Our next stop was France: my absolute dream country to travel to since I was a little girl. I cannot describe the sense of absolute amazement I felt when I saw French monuments such as the Arc de Triomphe and Versailles. Seeing these wonders that I’d spent a lifetime learning about felt completely surreal.

Our trip wrapped up with visiting the UK and Ireland. I enjoyed visiting these places towards the end of the experience because the native English speakers provide a sense of comfort for exhausted travelers. Here, we saw arts and gardens from all time periods: classical, renaissance, and modern pieces. The biggest challenge of the trip for me was learning to navigate the bus system in London! My success was powered by my lifelong love for the Beatles. I made sure to get out to Abbey Road for the classic sidewalk photo!

After seeing so many important pieces of art and gardening from all over the world, I feel more cultured all around. I have already been shocked at how much common ground you can find in a complete stranger just by having traveled to the same countries. I am changed for the better because of the experiences I had.