Transitions can be difficult, especially if you are first among your family and friends to venture into a new environment. Farther Foundation students have the advantage of having participated in life-changing experiences that make lasting impacts on their preparedness and confidence to face the challenges ahead.

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In 2018, during the summer between her sophomore and juniors years of high school, Aude used her Farther Foundation scholarship to travel to Thailand on a program of cultural immersion and discovery.

FF: Did your summer experience in Thailand effect how you interact with others?

Aude: “I went to Thailand with a mission to enjoy my experience to the fullest; this included getting out of my comfort zone. I pushed myself to continuously interact with people to the point where it became a habit that continues to this day.”

FF: Did your summer experience in Thailand effect how you are approaching your senior year of high school and college planning?

Aude: ”My dream has always been to go into the medical field, but I never thought of a specific branch. My experience in Thailand changed this perspective. When applying to colleges this fall, I will be more inclined toward a school with a good “Cultural Studies” program along with a good medical one. From the limited planning I have done so far, doing the pre-med and cultural studies major could help me build a career in which I would be able to travel in under-served communities abroad while still practicing -- like a medical ministry or the Peace Corps.”

FF: What was the most important thing you feel came out of your experience in Thailand?

Aude: “One of the most important things was learning that I love adventure despite how it might hurt to be out of my comfort zone. Before going there, I was only exposed to activities such as going to the movies, restaurants, game arcades, and pools. There, I hiked, “ziplined”, did silent meditation, sang at a concert, and learned how to dive into the streets of Chiang Mai. I felt so empowered, like I could do anything in the world. Feelings like this are so important, especially for a teenage girl living in a world where, most of the time, our voices are disregarded which mentally molds us into limiting our capacities. When my self-esteem sags, I think about the empowerment I felt during those days.”

Read the rest of our Mid-year Report.