Does Travel in the Teenage Years Bring Maturity?

Teenage travel - especially those experiences outside of your comfort zone, like a trip to a developing country - can help you grow in ways you never before expected. There’s nothing like a new place, a new culture, and a new group of friends to really test your mettle and give you perspective in a way that is hard to achieve in the bubble of your hometown.

This mother of a GLA student was impressed with her daughter’s determination to grow as a person upon her return to the U.S. “Immediately after the trip she was more appreciative of the modern conveniences we have in the United States. Two months later I noticed she was still working hard to improve…”

A GLA student who attended a program in the Dominican Republic saw how her life compared to those with less than her, and how that changed her view of her world at home. “Over the course of my ten days in the Dominican, I learned how to live with less… When I say that I learned to live with less, I mean the living conditions helped me to realize how privileged I am. One of the program's directors believes that living like the locals is the only way to understand them. Despite the basic dorms we lived in, with their mosquito nets and open windows, we were still one step above the locals, as we had running water and toilets. Even though it took a day or two to get used to base camp, it made the experience so much more genuine.”

One student in the Building Healthy Villages™ program explained how his GLA experience gave him ample time to reflect on - and grow - from his time abroad. “At night, after some free time, our mentors encouraged us to reflect or to ask questions about the day's events. Everyone in my group made good use of the journal GLA provides, trying to capture as many details as possible to bring back home. Words do not do justice to how much I'd like to live through this experience again. I encourage you to think about applying for a GLA program - it will be well worth it!”

Maturity isn’t always about reflecting on a single experience, and then moving on. It’s about consistently growing and learning about who you are, and what your experiences tell you about yourself, and the world. Maturity is continual growth, and this father of a GLA high school volunteer summed it up perfectly. “It was immediately clear that the trip made an impact; there was an awareness of how “easy” life was here and how much access there was to unlimited opportunity. Its effect was lasting.”

Want to be a high school volunteer with GLA?