Cuba was exactly what I thought it would be. A beautiful island rich with mountains, ocean ,rivers and music. It has the city life in Havana and the country life throughout. It was like walking back in time with the older cars, everyone actually sitting at a restaurants and speaking to one another without the use of smart phones. Our Explorica guide was a local resident who made us feel so welcomed in her country. It was an experience of a lifetime and I hope to go back again someday.
- Kathy McKinnley
"I kept hearing from everyone how much studying abroad in Salzburg was going to change my life, and while I believed them and knew it would, I was shocked by the things that had the biggest impact on me. The sounds, smells, and laughs I experienced in Austria will forever be a part of me and I can't wait to go back."
- Anna Grace Wyneken (William Peace University)
From a young age I was always fascinated with other countries and cultures. Cuba was especially interesting to me; the colors, the food, the people.... When I found out that Wake Tech offered a trip to Cuba I knew I had to go. From the moment I boarded the plane to my very last day there, I could not believe all that I got to experience. I got to see a Cuba that no picture, book or film could ever convey. The people of Cuba alone were the highlight of my trip. Despite its history of political unrest and revolutionary turmoil, the Cuban people are what I believe to be its truest identity. The pride the Cuban people have in their country and culture is incredibly contagious. Their warmth and hospitality created moments throughout the trip that were worth savoring. I felt so fortunate to experience Cuba in the vibrant and immersive way that I did on this trip.
- Catherine Smith
My experience in Salzburg will forever be one of my most favorite memories. The city of Salzburg is a magical place. Every morning I walked to school alongside a beautiful river with castles and snow-capped mountains in the distance. It was incredible and such a refreshing experience. On top of the beautiful surroundings and numerous excursions we took as a class through-out Austria I never thought I would gain so much from a class both personally and professionally. The class I took gave me real world experience and gave me a new level of confidence as a business owner. When studying in another country, you have unique opportunities to form friendships with your fellow classmates. I was able to form new friendships that only made my time in Salzburg more amazing; friendships that I still have today. My time studying in Salzburg with Wake Tech was an invaluable experience that I will never forget.
- Catherine Smith
In going to Salzburg to take the Business Management Course, I had the idea that I would be learning business management in a cool place. That’s it. Much to my pleasant surprise it was much MUCH more. This trip/class experience broadened my view of business management and the world. It brought me friendships and experiences I otherwise would not have. A big THANK YOU for that!!!…... We learned from the book but that was only the tip of the iceberg. There is much more under the surface of the book learning and that is the stuff that has stuck more solidly. Going out into the “world” of where we were, we also learned a broader view of other people's cultures and values. Our excursions taught us of their history and also WHO they are now. We heard testimonies of survival through real life horrors, both past and present. Knowing this now, will help in listening and interacting with anyone from ANY other culture, not only if from here in my country but especially from another in business and in our personal lives. In class, alongside the book learning we role-played real-life business interactions, between employers-employees or HR-employees, in hiring or issues or even letting folks go for instance. These brought a real taste of what to expect in the work place. The friendships and bonds created between my classmates and I breached age, gender and walk of life. We bonded and interacted and even helped each other with issues we had going on in our lives. We learned to reach out and talk to others and to not stay only with our pack. We learned to use transportation in another country which will help us here. We learned we can trust ourselves to get what we need or get where we need to go and not be a robot waiting on the next instruction. I am forever grateful for getting to take a travel abroad course. Not only has it opened my eyes to possible further travel abroad courses but DEFINITELY traveling abroad in general. The world is truly a big place and I better get cracking.
- TTFN Cathy
Cuba was a trip of a lifetime. The tour was very well organized. The tour guides were very knowledgeable and personable. I left Cuba with an appreciation of their rich culture filled with music and sense of community. The farms, schools, and senior centers we visited demonstrated their camaraderie and positive energy which sometimes is lacking in America. Now that I have seen Cuba highlights, I would love to visit one of their loveliest beaches and put my feet in the sand with a drink in my hand! I look forward to any future trips to this beautiful country.
Salzburg opened my eyes to the world. I've never experienced anything like the moments I had in Austria. Studying abroad gave me confidence, I figured out the direction I want to take my life. The excursions were all important in their own way and all helped me develop myself as a young professional. The business class gives you real world experience that you just won't get in any other classroom I can guarantee that. The experiences in Austria that are part of the trip are nothing short of incredible. I met refugees, a holocaust survivor, and even Master's degree candidates from a local university. I climbed mountains, I saw live performances, I learned about business and culture, but most importantly I lived. If someone has any hint that they want to travel I fully encourage those individuals and everyone to make plans and travel.
- Carl Cory
Jeff told us all that this trip was the opportunity of a lifetime. He mentioned more than once that our experience in Salzburg would be life changing. At first I thought he was exaggerating a little bit, as Jeff is want to do, but as it turns it he was right on the money. My time in Salzburg was worth every penny I spent and much more. The skills and confidence I gained on that trip are invaluable to me.
- Jonathan Craichy-Salzburg 2016
As a biologist, I jumped at the chance to travel to Nicaragua and Costa Rica, primarily because of the prospect of observing numerous exotic species in their natural habitats. Yet this proved to be just one thing in many that made this a most delightful journey! I was impressed with Explorica’s itinerary, which included an array of different types of planned activities, but also free time for travelers to explore personal interests in the local surroundings. We never went hungry, and there was always something to do, to see, and to experience. Foreign travel has taught me that although you can never do everything; there is always more than enough to do. Our tour guide, Raquel, was an absolute gem, and I can’t imagine ever visiting this area again without her! Energetic, knowledgeable, and personal, Raquel—a citizen of both countries—made everyone feel comfortable. As she led and introduced us to the two countries, she animated each activity by sharing insights from different angles tailored to the individual interests of our group whether historical, political, geological, biological, or cultural. Even impromptu activities such as school visits were incredible. I was awed by one Nicaraguan sixth grader’s three-minute-long recitation by heart of a poem by Rubén Darío, a Nicaraguan who happens to be the father of poetic modernism. Speaking of the Nicaraguans, it was wonderful, though humbling, to witness this proud, intelligent, industrious, yet happy people living on modest means. It’s true that travel changes us on many different levels. So accept my challenge to travel. And what better way to travel than via Explorica who, with Wake Tech, makes it so convenient and affordable. I plan on traveling again next year. Please join me!
Over the years since my first trip with Explorica in 2012 I have become increasingly impressed with how they run their tours. A lot of people told me not to do a tour group because I wouldn't be able to have the freedom to go and see what I wanted when I wanted. I have to say though that they pick and choose the sights so well and everything runs so smoothly that I never once came back from one of their trips dissatisfied. That being said, this tour of Nicaragua and Costa Rica was by far the most impressive and fun filled tour I have experienced so far. Raquel the tour guide was fantastic. I know it must be difficult running a tour with so many personalities but she made it possible without us missing a beat. What impressed me the most is how they mixed culture with fun. One minute we are zip lining and the next we are playing with school children and getting a glimpse of how they are educated. It was done so smoothly I never felt exhausted but rather energized and ready for more the whole trip. If Explorica keeps running tours like this and finding quality guides I don't see how any other company could survive next to them. Thank you Explorica for a wonderful time abroad.
Had I known in the mid 1970’s, when I was in college and asked by my geography professor to participate in an European travel abroad trip, that the experience was documented to add this kind of student success/personal value, I would have jumped all over it: http://mcdonaldsalesandmarketing.biz/study-abroad/
Now that this has been directly validated by my participation in the Wake Tech, Costa Rica/Nicaragua Trip, I kick myself for passing up a prior, similar opportunity.
IF you are passing on travel opportunities like this, I’m kicking you and you should be kicking yourself. It’s money well spent, that delivers a lifetime of personal benefits; short and long term.
- Thomas S. McDonald
First off I thought the trip was amazing! I met so many new people and learned so much about 2 new cultures. Outside of meeting these great people, I think one of the highlights of my trip was the ability to see a live and active volcano. It was completely mesmerizing, despite the fact that we could have died at any moment.... The zip lining tour was also really fun! This trip was my first out of the country and I enjoyed it so much that I can't wait to travel again! The stark differences between the US and Costa Rica/Nicaragua really opened my eyes and made me come to appreciate simple things like plumbing and air conditioning, but it also displayed a level of happiness by the people, that despite the fact they had nothing, they were content and happy with their place in life.
Raquel was great as a tour guide. She was very friendly to all of us and she really helped make that trip awesome from how much, you could tell, she loved both her country and her job. The boat tour for instance would have been quite boring to me as I have seen a lot of the similar wildlife on an Everglades boat tour albeit without such a great backdrop like the mountains, but from her excitement and enthusiasm, the tour was much more entertaining! She truly cared for each of us and wanted us to not only enjoy ourselves, but learn all that we could. If given the option to select her again I would in a heartbeat!
The only downside I found on this trip, minimally, was that we were not given a very long free time in accordance to nightlife. It was truly enjoyable to hang out and relax with the group members after a hard day's walk/heat, while also exploring the city(s) that we would most normally never go to. For us to have to then wake up at 6, 7, 8am everyday without at least one time to have a free day the following day, I felt was a disservice in being able to allow others to explore to heir hearts content.
Overall, I really enjoyed this trip and it has helped me realize that their is so much more outside of the US and I can't wait to explore the rest of the world, either via the Travel Abroad Group (if scheduling works) or with my friends both from this trip as well as others who did not go.
Thanks for all the hard work you put towards the success of this trip as it really turned out fantastic!
- Grant Smith
If I had to sum up my trip to Salzburg, Austria in one word it would be life-changing. While I was in Salzburg I was able to experience things that no one in my family has ever been fortunate enough to experience. I made close bonds with everyone that was in the class with me including our professor, Mr. Meyers. I think the timing of the trip was absolutely perfect, 21 days made it just enough so you could grasp the culture and be fully emerged in it but not too long to the point that you became home sick. I loved meeting new people every day whether that was in the hostile or just on the street. I think Mr. Meyers was an excellent guide and couldn’t have asked for a better teacher to lead us on our journey. Because of this experience I am already I am already planning another trip to Europe. I paid for a class in business management but ended up getting so much more!
- Caleb Dickerson
Salzburg is a place that felt like home upon arrival. The movement of life there feels balanced. That is the only way I can describe it. I immediately fell head over heals in love with it's fairytale like scenery. There are two sections to the city divided by the Salzach river, New Town and Old Town. On the Old Town side you can see the Hohensalzburg fortress which you could see from my room! I loved hearing the church bells as I was walking through New Town, as well as walking along the river to the nearest biergarten or coffee shop. It is a truly inexplicable experience that I will never forget!
- Iliana Zamora
It is hard to put into words the experiences I personally gained from traveling abroad in Salzburg. The program itself is full of extravagant excursions to many of the places people dream of seeing. While there, we saw breathtaking views of the mountainous and lake regions surrounding the city of Salzburg, as well as, discovering the rich, vivid history that the city itself had to offer. Not only does the Salzburg program offer exceptional views and rich history; one will also learn lots about themselves while embarking on this life-altering study abroad experience. All-in-all, the Salzburg trip will open your eyes to the diverse world we live in, and after your travels you will return with a completely different perspective on everything that the world has to offer.
- Chad Bates
Gayle and I had a wonderful time on our trip to Cuba on July 25. It was a most unusual trip as we experienced a very different culture than anywhere else we have traveled. To be in one of the few communist countries left in the world was extremely interesting. Cuba is a beautiful island country rich in culture and history.
The trip was filled with a wide variety of places of interest where we were able to interact with the local people who were very friendly and openly answered many questions we had for them about their lives in this rather poor country.
The trip was well planned and our Cuban guide (George) was amazing. He is extremely well educated and a wonderful historian who gave us an in-depth commentary about each place we visited. We were well cared for by Jeff Myers who organized the trip. He handled all the little details of the trip and worked with our tour guide to make sure everyone had a wonderful trip.
There is so much to learn about Cuba that I feel we only scratched the surface on this 8-day trip. I would love to go back to Cuba and would recommend this Explorica trip to anyone.
- Richard Myers
Going to Cuba was always a dream of mine. I knew growing up those chances of me getting to see the country my family descended from were slim to none. I heard about the Wake Tech trip accidentally. Like most students, I don’t check my student email much during breaks and vacation times, so I missed the email about the Cuba tour. One of my friends called me and told me that she wanted to go and she wanted me to try and make the trip, too. At first, the thought of leaving the country was so foreign. I didn’t have a passport, I never even left the east coast of the United States… there was no way I was really going to go to Cuba.
After about a week of day dreaming about the trip, I reached out to family and friends for donations and support so that I could afford the very expensive, near four thousand dollar trip. I knew I’d have to pick up extra shifts at work and even then I wasn’t sure I’d have the money by the deadline. My aunt, who lives in Florida, (also Cuban but hasn’t visited the country either), texted me and asked for some information about the trip. After sending her the Explorica information, she texted me back and said she would pay for the entire trip. At that point, I was shocked. This dream of going to Cuba might finally be a reality. I went back in forth with different scenarios of my passport not coming in time, the trip getting canceled, and even getting stuck in customs because it felt too good to be true.
Long story short, I made it to Havana. I cannot begin to explain the wave of emotion that came over me when I saw Cuba for the first time from the plane. I can’t put into words the feeling I got when I walked outside of the airport and saw the waves of people behind the gates waiting for their relatives. It still puts me in a weird mindset, like I didn’t spend enough time there.
The trip was amazing. The hotel was beautiful, our tour guide made me feel right at home, and our bus driver all made this experience more than I ever imagined. I still feel a lot of emotion from this trip and I feel that it made me a better person. I can now appreciate what I have here in America. I can say that I’m Cuban with pride and dignity. I am from a beautiful country and I wish I could be there again. It was the most surreal experience of my life. I got to experience my culture in the closest way possible; I danced with locals, ate Cuban sandwiches from a tent by the market (they don’t taste nearly as good as the ones in the U.S., unfortunately) and got to see all the beauty and chaos that is Cuba.
I will never forget this trip, and I am so grateful to Wake Tech for not dismissing Cuba, and for making this possible for me. I hope to visit again, soon.
- Jasmine Travieso
I went with the Group on Jeff's Cuba Trip and just want to share my thoughts and observations about it with you. Overall it was a huge success! I was thou roughly pleased because it turned out to be even more that I expected. It wasn't just "another tourist trip," but it truly was an education experience. We learned about the history of Cuba through the Revolution and how the country ant its people are functioning today. Every scheduled event help round out this understanding. The opportunity to get out of Havana and into the country only added a further depth of experience. Jeff managed every aspect well. Explorica did a great job with logistics. Jorge was an excellent tour guide with a remarkable depth of knowledge he was wiling to share about his country. Our hotel was quite acceptable (even considering the inconvenience of one day when they a were dealing with a plumbing issue). The quality and variety of food was excellent and the choice of restaurants out of the hotel were always a treat. We really learned about Cuba through experiencing it and having the opportunity to talk with Cubans face-to-face. There was flexibility to even go to several places which were not on the itinerary. The bottom-line is that Jeff did a great job organizing this trip! I really value and respect all he did to bring an opportunity to a few Americans to go to a country the vast majority of Americans will never have an opportunity to visit, yet alone learn about. I am very privileged in that he told me about it and let me join the group. Make sure Jeff keeps me on the mailing list for future trips!
Our week-long Cuba trip organized by Wake Tech Community College and led by Jeff Myers was both a wonderful experience and a great example of educational travel. It was an interesting and diversified introduction to a beautiful country of keen interest. We visited a wide variety of sites and places--neighborhood training and daycare projects, an organic farm, an English-language bookstore, dancing and drama schools and even got to travel outside of Havana twice, to a scenic area where we enjoyed a traditional meal and to a tourism village. Everywhere we went we had a chance to hear a briefing about the project and ask questions. We also enjoyed great local music everywhere and a dance performance at the Nacional Hotel. And our guide Jorge was very well-informed and personable. I'm ready to go back!
- Bethany Singer
Going to Qatar was not only educational but inspirational. A once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget. Learning about the culture and personal life of the people was eye opening. It was everything imagined and more. I may never find myself on that soil but the memories will be with me always.
"It's the experience of a lifetime" or "I'm so jealous of you" is all I heard since I decided to go on the trip in January up until the day I left. It wasn't that I didn't believe them, I just didn't know what to expect. Now that I'm home again I couldn't agree with everyone more. Qatar was the experience of a lifetime and they all should be jealous of me that I went. The things I did and the cultures I experienced changed me in the tiniest ways that collectively started to change me as a person. I couldn't help but to think to myself "These girls- have loving parents like me, go to college like me, and have a smart phone like me- and yet, their lifestyle is so much different than mine. Why is that?" It's because there are more cultures and lifestyles around the world that I know nothing about. Sure I can read about them in a book, but will that change me like visiting the actual country will? I doubt it. So here I am staring at my friends and family. And they're all begging me to tell them about my trip and the great time I told them I had. A part of me gets excited to tell them. I want to show them photos and tell them of my experiences. But another part of me is saddened. I'm sad because I feel like it does them no justice to just tell them about my trip. It feels wrong that they can't experience what I did. So my advise to fellow students: Explore the world while you can! Explore before life and obligations get in the way. I promise you, the number of reasons you come up with NOT to go, is small compared to the reasons why you SHOULD go.
Europe, still on my mind. After being back home in the US for a week and two days, I feel like I just go back yesterday and I can’t get Europe out of my head. The Europe trip was a wonderful experience and left me with so many memories that I will never forget. Each city we visited had it’s own beauty, history and culture. I especially enjoyed the hustle, bustle, multicultural life style in London; it reminded me a lot of New York City (the Big Apple). Of course it was the only city we visited where I spoke the language of the people, which may have added to my delight with it. The energy there and the excitement of the lifestyle was appealing to me. Paris was rich in art, history and sites to see and visit; it was also very quaint. I loved the French pastries and other food they offered. The Parisian people did not seem as friendly to me, perhaps because I did not speak French to them. I’ll never forget the Louvre visit, there was so much beautiful art to see, nor the trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower, it was amazing. I truly enjoyed everything about Bern and Lucerne Switzerland. The friendliness of people at the Hotel we stayed, the Swiss cheese and bread, the Swiss chocolate and the amazing trip up to the top of the Swiss Alps. What a site to see and experience; something that I’ll never forget and it is very difficult to explain how exhilarating it was going up to the top of Mt. Pilatus. Of course who can ever forget the pleasure of a trip to Germany especially Munich. The castle visit was breathtaking in every respect. Just trying to reach the top was enough to take your breath away. It was spectacular and well worth the heavy breathing and tired legs.
It was a pleasure to travel with the group and everyone for the most part seemed to enjoy themselves and each other. The chemistry was good. I will forever have memories of the time I spent in Europe and look forward to returning in the very near future. My take away would be that I can cross this off my bucket list and it was a great life experience, one that I’m so happy I had a chance to participate in. Also I’m happy that I now have a perspective of the European culture and can appreciate the European people that I meet going forward. I’ve been looking at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee on television and can recognize some of the places they show during the celebration for her. I will begin reliving the trip as soon as I take time to edit my pictures (memories nothing like them). Thank you Jeff, Tom and Denise you guys did a good job and I look forward to traveling with you again so keep me on your mailing list.
After completing my European trip with Wake Tech I now feel like a changed person. Not only do I view the world differently, I am viewing my life differently as well. The biggest thing I felt that I have learned from this trip is that the world really doesn’t just revolve around the United States. There is so much more to see out there and I still have not even seen half of it. During the trip I got the opportunity to visit 7 different countries and a variety of cities within them and each country was different in its own way. Whether it was a language barrier, cultural difference, or scenery change I now look at things in a whole fashion. Not only did I learn something during the trip, I also got the opportunity to meet people from all around the world. I’d like to say it was definitely the best investment of my life and helped me make memories that will last a lifetime.
- James Feely
This was such an awesome trip! The history, culture, and the overall experience will not be forgotten. I have a much greater appreciation for architecture, language, and history. Hence, I am an improved person as a result. Additionally, I am confident that many others that I know will seize the same or similar opportunity. Jeff and Tom, I am grateful for the role you played in orchestrating such a pronounced experience!
- Trina King