This past year, Farther Foundation awarded grants to 16 deserving high school students to travel to 9 countries on 6 different continents and participate in significant and life changing educational enrichment programs. When our students depart on these programs, they believe they are setting out on a once in a lifetime experience. By the time they return they realize that this is just the beginning and they are inspired and driven to shape the experience of their own lives.
“Junior Statesmen of America (JSA) at Princeton University was able to capture a little piece of every part of the world. We had people from Guam, Saipan, Virgin Islands, and even Africa attending the program this summer. Despite the miles that kept us from knowing each other, we all learned soon enough that we were not so different. Arriving at Princeton, we were hesitant to bond, we thought we would have to get used to each other’s unknown culture. The reality was that as we each unpacked and made small talk, the ice started to break instantly.
It was transparent that we were making friends. Every night I was able to count on my roommates to give me a good laugh and make memories with them. When we would talk about home, we each found that we have the same hard working lifestyle. We were all big nerds and in this culture we established, we did not shy away from being smart or proactive, we embraced and cherished it. It was not about who was smarter than who to us, it was getting along, helping each other, and becoming a family that was spread across the country and world.
We also found a common ground in our diverse personalities. It didn’t matter to us that we all haven’t known each other for years and years, but with an open heart and mind we accepted each other and learned from one another. We taught each other how to fix hair, do make-up, have better studying skills, how to write a strong hypothesis, have a better speech, look for scholarly sources, and even where to get food at for the late-night cravings. We supported each other because we wanted to succeed not only in the program, but in life. So we accepted our different point of views and let each other become best friends, brothers, and sisters.
The program is by now in my past, but the experience will always be alive in my heart. We all came into the program to focus and put forth all our strength into our work, but we did not expect to let each other into our hearts. Junior Statesmen of America-Princeton University took us away from home for three weeks, but in those three weeks we learned things that high school back at home could never teach us, and because of that I will forever cherish this summer and call it my Summer of a Lifetime.”
Farther Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization providing scholarships to low-income students to inspire them to reach their highest aspirations through educational travel experiences.