People to People Student Ambassadors! Anyone know anything about them?
My son has been recruited by People to People Student Ambassadors. With all of the vast experience here, I would like to know if anyone has any experience with them or knows any pros or cons about them? He is being asked to join a group to Australia for two weeks next summer.
If this is not the correct forum, please let me know.
One of the best experiences of my life so far! I traveled through China (multiple cities along the coast and near interior) for three weeks on a People to People trip during summer of 1994. Wow! Overall, a truly eye-opening experience. Seeing the historic sights, visiting non-touristy areas - like the English/Chinese kindergarten class! - and interacting with 'regular' citizens are some of my favorite memories. I loved the homestay with a village family. (I was even invited to help in the family's garden where I ate the freshest and tastiest vegetables in my life.) This was a cultural immersion event that was well organized, safe, and active.
Two pieces of advice to maximize your son's enjoyment:
1 - Is he mature for his age? Can he handle the separation anxiety? Is he comfortable being away from home and will still make good decisions? If the answer to any of these questions is 'no,' then decline the offer. P2P is best designed for those students who can appreciate the different cultures and are willing to step outside their comfort zone.
2 - Help your son prepare for the trip by reading about the destination and check out current events online. Learn about one or two specific local customs (this little tip goes a long way when interacting with locals!) and pick up the lingo for please/thank you/toilet/exit. These are a few minor activities that make the trip more meaningful for your son and the new people he will encounter.
I did People to People in 1997 to South Africa. It was a great experience and the homestay aspect is definitely worthwhile. Looking back on it, the only negative part to me was that it was so expensive.
I second Retien's statement. My best friend's sons went to Australia with P2P and loved it. A very beneficial experience, overall, but a bit expensive. On the other hand, you know they'll be supervised the entire duration. Go for it!
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I had the opportunity to do P2P back in '90, to Russia, but did not because of the expense. This is one of the few things I regret in my life.
I really wish I had done it. Especially with all of the "history" that happened during that time and soon after.
I have a a good friend who did take the P2P trip to Russia a year later and she told me it was the most eye opening experience she had ever had.
I agree with what IDontLikeYouInThatWa said, although since your son is going to Oz, imo it would be like a trip to Canada (with just a much longer flight).
Even if your son was not the most mature, I would still encourage you to give him the opportunity to go.
Sure he may go to Australia someday but probably never "on his own" (as a kid) and in the scenario of integrating himself as much into the culture with a host family.
A trip like this, imo, would do wonders in helping someone grow up / mature.
"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." -Frederick Douglass, 1857
If money is no object, go for it, as it will expose your son to a new culture. China will be very different from what he is used to, and will be a good experience. Also, with the language difference, this will be much more challenging and different.
My nephew went to Holland last year for the P2P Sports Ambassador program and he had a blast.
I signed up for it... everything was arranged, I received the booklet, t-shirt, package etc. I phone them the night before to ask where to meet the rep at the airport was told that they didn't receive my final deposit (due over 6 weeks ago) and had assumed I didn't want to go anymore. We did send it so it must have gotten lost in the mail but we still kept receiving information, itineraries etc from them so we had no idea they didn't receive it. We were out about $500 from ticket refunds and the non refundable deposit.
Anyways so that's my rant.
As far as the program goes - it looked really interesting. My other friends that went had mixed opinions. Two really enjoyed it and the third hated it.
My son attended the Reef and Rock - Australia program last summer. While the program was expensive - he had a wonderful time - saw the Great Barrier Reef, Aires Rock and Sydney. He did research prior to going, wrote in his journal each day, experienced life with a local Sydney family and had the opportunity to experiece the culture of another country at the age of 13. Wow! The leaders were involved and accessable. There were 40 kids and 4 leaders. The kids ranged from ages 12-14. He carried an international cellphone so we were able to speak with him 2 or 3 times while he was away. From the pictures that he brought back - it seems that the kids on the program got along very well. He was from outside of the delegation area but he still remains in contact with his fellow student ambassadors. His program last year was for Middle School students yet he received high school credit that his highschool accepted. Overall the experience was excellent.
This next summer he is hoping to go visit Ireland, Holland and France. He is now in High School and will attend a Highschool program. Our local delegation is going to Japan - so once again we will apply outside of our local area. I have no qualms about signing him up for another P2P experience. I know he will be well taken care of and experience seeing the world and other cultures. I think now is the time to take advantage of seeing the world with an educational benefit. Once he is in college - he will need to focus on getting ready for the working world. I hope he will choose to attend one P2P program each summer until he graduates from Highschool.
My daughter did P2P once in high school, hoops in Australia & New Zealand. She really enjoyed it. One of the things she did was trade all her USA team gear for various Australian sports gear at the end of the trip, which gave her really cool stuff to wear later.
I know she enjoyed it, I think it was good for her... But it was bloody expensive!
Plus, NWA doesn't go all the way to Oz so she only got miles from home to LAX, which was a drag.
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Location: Wherever they place me next in Southeast Asia
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I received offers for it when I was younger. The booklets did look quite interesting. I must say that they're one of the more recognizable organizations at the airport as I seem to walk through a mass of children with P2P shirts almost every time I transit through a hub in the summer.
No comments, good or bad, except you should know that Ambassador Programs is a for-profit, publicly traded company that operates using the 'People to People Ambassador Programs' name under license from the nonprofit People to People organization. http://finance.google.com/finance?q=NASDAQ%3AEPAX
Last edited by soitgoes; Oct 22, 07 at 7:43 am.
Reason: corrected typo!
Seems really expensive. Aren't there lots of other, more reasonable, programs out there. Google sure comes up with a lot.
I arranged a student exchange "program" years ago for some European kids. Called a couple of local religious groups to find a family who want to send their kids to Europe in exchange for having a couple of European kids stay with them. Struck pay dirt on the second call.
People to People trips is a FOR-PROFIT company. It's basically like a tour group with a niche audience, be it high schoolers or other "selected" delegates. Basically, you can travel by yourself for about 1/5 the price, or if you like everything done for you, a normal guided tour for 2/3 the price. Also, if you're thinking it will look good for a resume, many top colleges recognize that this is indeed a rip-off and just something that rich kids can go to, and not counted as an award or honor. So, if you have a high enough income and your student wants to travel, sure, but otherwise, save your money and go on a tour as a whole family for the same price!
*note: be wary of similar companies such as National Honor Roll, Who's Who, etc that make tons of money selling "awards" to students