Meet Duncan, a fifteen-year-old from Tucson, Arizona. He’s lived there his entire life and has only traveled to countries on his side of the hemisphere. But last year, he joined his school’s EF tour and went somewhere a little different. He made his way to Europe, where he hit up Parisian cafes, ate Belgian waffles, and walked a mile in Dutch clogs (metaphorically speaking). His tour with EF changed the way he looks at the world, and by extension, himself.
Was there anything on your tour that surprised you?
When I was on the Paris, France tour, I was really surprised how many tourists were there. But really, just going to another country and seeing how people live their daily lives there just made the whole experience really interesting. You get a different perspective than you would back home.
Was there anything that took you out of your comfort zone?
When I went to Paris, I didn’t speak French—though I had practiced“merci” in my head for a long time. So, when we decided to visit the catacombs, it was tough for us to navigate the Metro since it was all in French. But we got there and it was really interesting. A little scary, but completely safe. I felt really confident when we were done.
Did you learn anything about yourself?
I think when you travel anywhere and you’re there long enough, there’s a point when everything starts to feel normal for you. When I was in Amsterdam, I started to feel really comfortable after a couple days. It was really nice, being in a foreign place but feeling almost at home. I learned that I really like that moment when you start to feel more integrated into daily life somewhere new, and it’s nice to know that I can get to that point. I didn’t know that before.
Were there any moments on your Paris, France tour that inspired you to keep traveling?
Honestly, just walking down the street, witnessing people interacting, looking around, seeing the food, and hearing different languages was all really cool. I’d definitely like to keep traveling. I’m going on tour to Japan this spring, but I want to travel all four years of high school if I can. Maybe even go back to some of the places I visited.
What would you tell someone who wasn’t sure about going on this tour?
I would tell them to do it. You don’t know what’s going to happen until you’re actually there. And once you are, there’s nothing to worry about. It’s just amazing.