What drew you to that particular NGSE trip?

I have always wanted to go on an NGSE. I got a scholarship from my school to study abroad in Europe for the summer. It allowed me to pick any program, so I was immediately drawn to NGSE. Ireland is incredibly beautiful with a rich culture, and I like how the Expedition focused on writing and photography.

What were you most looking forward to about it?

I just love travelling and immersing into cultures, so I was excited about the trip as a whole! I was also very excited to see the Cliffs of Moher, a lifelong dream of mine.

Michaela captured this incredible shot of the Cliffs of Moher during her trip.

Michaela captured this incredible shot of the Cliffs of Moher during her trip.

What was your favorite moment on the trip?

Oh man. SO many favorite moments! I can’t pick just one, but I guess the one I would have to pick as my most favorite would be the first day in Galway. I LOVED Galway. The city is lively and artistic. It has a true personality. It was so much different than Dublin, where everything is very tourist-y. Galway is authentic. I remember walking down to the waterfront and being blown away by how beautifully the city blended in with the sea and sky.

What is the most important lesson you learned while in the field with National Geographic?

I learned to really appreciate other cultures. Instead of travelling to see the beauty of a country, I learned to travel and see the beauty of people.

Do you still study or practice any of the subjects or skills you learned during your trip?

I do! I am considering majoring in English.

Where is the next destination on your travel wish list?

I would love to go to Kenya. It is the first place I ever dreamed of travelling to.

What have you been up to since your expedition?

I have been applying to colleges and doing school work, but also have gotten more into writing. I started a blog (about my Christian faith) and have really enjoyed seeing where it takes me.

How do you think your NGSE trip prepared you for college and beyond?

It has given me a broader understanding of the world. I think it is so important for people to travel and learn to appreciate other people and cultures. Especially as teenagers head into adulthood, we have to expand our minds and views on the world.

 

Where do you hope to be ten years from now?

I want to be a kindergarten teacher! I’m also considering working for Young Life.  In the next couple of years, I’d like to volunteer abroad through Young Life International.

One of the photos in Michaela's portfolio that she presented in her final show at the end of the trip.

One of the photos in Michaela’s portfolio that she presented in her final show at the end of the trip.