Traveling Down Under with Hannah Hale

Hale_koalaBy: Paula Green

G’day Mate!  We are about to introduce you a 16-year old Seneca Valley Senior High School student who recently returned from an once-in-a-lifetime adventure

Down Under.  Hannah Hale traveled to Australia as a Student Ambassador with the People to People Program.

“Hannah was nominated for this educational travel program by an unknown member of the community (a teacher, Girl Scout leader, softball coach etc.) based on her scholastic merit and leadership potential.  After being nominated, Hannah had to go through a number of interviews, receive letters of recommendation and complete various academic assignments.  This was Hannah’s first experience with People to People,” said Hannah’s mother Karen Hale.

Hale_painted face  Hannah spent 20-days exploring the natural wonders of this magnificent continent in the southern hemisphere.   “My trip began in Sydney and ended in Cairns.  I traveled north up the Eastern Coast of Australia.  My first stop was the Sydney Opera House in Darling Harbor.  Along the way, I visited the Blue Mountains, Byron Bay, Brisbane and Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort on Moreton Island, Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Capricorn Caves, Airlie Beach, Wambiana Station in the Outback, the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest,” Hannah explained.

Hannah not only got to see many picturesque sites, she was also able to participate in numerous ventures.  “We got to rappel down the Blue Mountains, toboggan down a sand dune, and snorkel in the Tangalooma wreckage.  We surfed in the Pacific Ocean, drove across the Tropic of Capricorn, toured the Billabong Animal Sanctuary and visited the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park.  We also had a farm stay at Wambiana and it was really great experience to reside with an Australian homestay family.

The People to People Ambassador Program has been in existence for over 50 years.  This initiative has helped more than 500,000 students expand their global awareness, and discover new experiences while having the time of their lives.

As Hannah notes, this travel experience was phenomenal, “I would absolutely do this again!  This trip has made me realize that I am just scratching the surface of what our earth has to offer us.  It has opened my eyes to the endless potential there is to achieve, explore, educate and understand not only our planet, but the people and places in it.  I would like to thank our friends, family, mom’s co-workers, and my dad’s military buddies who were generous and donated funds to help offset the tuition for this trip.”

Hannah will be entering her junior year at Seneca Valley.  She resides in Jackson Township with her mother Karen, father Michael and her sister Sara.