I have thought about our amazing trip to South Africa many times and have enjoyed telling anyone who will listen about the life-changing experience it was.  I want to thank Julie for the incredible attention to detail she provided, which allowed the students and faculty on the trip to relax and really engage in the experience.  You had everything worked out and accounted for (transportation, accommodations, food, fees, cash, gratuity, entrance fees, scheduling, potential safety hazards and the list goes on!!). Not having to worry about all those moving pieces was such a gift as we had our adventure on the other side of the world.

In addition to the management of logistics, you served us with your knowledge and made it an unbelievably rich educational experience.  You were so well-versed in your South Africa facts! From history to geography to flora and fauna- we couldn’t stump you!  The students were engaged in learning and could rapid-fire questions as they thought of them. It was so clear that you have a background of being a teacher; they definitely got the most out of this trip because of the information you were prepared to share.

Finally, I want to note your incredible ability to build relationships quickly with all of us. You made an effort to learn the names of each student immediately. You spent time with them both in groups and individually, getting to know their personal interests and concerns and addressing them throughout the trip. You anticipated times throughout the trip where there could be issues with transitioning or waiting and had a plan so it went smoothly. The students (and staff) quickly bonded with you and could not have had a more positive experience.  The combination of the experiences you coordinated, the details you managed, the knowledge you shared, along with your warm and fun personality, made for a trip that was truly one of a lifetime.

Thank you so much. I hope you are well and sincerely wish to travel to South Africa again to experience another trip with you!


Written by Lauren Trainer, Principal of the School of Environmental Studies, Apple Valley

For further photographs see :  https://www.facebook.com/events/361610681017335/permalink/372998459878557/