When 22-year-old Cristina Navarro left Los Angeles for San Francisco for college, she never imagined that she would be able to study for her dream degree in outdoor recreation and tourism, or that she’d one day travel to Costa Rica and be exposed to a whole new environment and culture. Now, as part of her department’s alternative spring break program, she’ll be travelling to Central America.
explore the world
Karessa Irvin is a real traveler. That is, she is the type of traveler who seeks out hyperlocal experiences and gets to know people so she can better understand their cultures and find the similarities and embrace the differences between them. When she got the chance to travel to Colombia through the Princeton in Latin America program, which partners recent college graduates in the U.S. with non-profit, humanitarian organizations in Latin America, Karessa knew this was something she wanted to do.
When Piper Sutherland heard about an opportunity to spend some time in Rwanda learning and volunteering with locals and other travelers, she knew that this was something that she had to do. The only barrier to her plans was a lack of funds to pay for the three-week program with Global Youth Connect in Kigali. But after doing some research it seemed like there were no opportunities for someone like her who was young, wanted to travel with purpose, and was already out of college.
When I first met 24-year old Philip Jones, it was the day before he left for his first solo trip to Europe and he was quiet with nerves, mainly concerned about missing his flights. “I was stressed out a lot before this trip, I’m not going to lie,” Phillip says when we meet again a few months after his return to San Francisco.
The Explore the World scholarship was created because HI USA believes travel should be as much about making a difference in the places we visit as it is about exploring those places. We also believe that travel should be accessible to everyone, and shouldn’t be limited because of the cost involved. These travel scholarships are just one part of our commitment to inspire a new generation of travelers by supporting their big dreams to better the planet.
One of the best things about staying at a HI USA hostel is the fact that you get to meet and interact with people you may not have paid much mind to out in the ”real world”. You just never know who you might befriend while hanging out in the hostel common room, or while you’re out on one of the hostel’s volunteer-led tours, or over a community dinner cooked in the kitchen. And if you’re an experienced hosteller, you may come to realize that there are certain characters who seem to be a constant feature no matter where in the country (or the world) you’re hostelling.