Going to Peru, I was going mainly as a tourist, but the more time that I spent in Peru, talking with locals I was all it had to offer. Every place has its stories, food, traditions, and I was able to experience all of that. Fast forward to now, I felt connected with Peru, welcomed. I caught myself taking pictures, not for Instagram, but memories.

While we were staying in our homestay, it was a very different experience. The showers were very cold, my 7 year old host sister went to herd sheep and get hay for the cuy (guinea pig), my entire host family shared a room. This was very new to, my 7 year old brother is at home either watching TV or playing video games. But this just showed how different people live their life and it’s okay because each individual has their own lifestyle.

Growing up I never really traveled, only around California and Mexico (family lives there). But going to Peru, I was able to experience a “new world” with different foods, clothing, and culture. I loved every minute of it. One of my instructors, Colleen, talked about the different places she had traveled and it reassured made me about traveling when I am older. In a blog post, “I saw over and over again that individuals who invested time and energy in building human connection — having patient, empathetic conversations with their clients, constituents, and community members — were the most successful in their endeavors, and saw through the most meaningful changes.” I agree 100% with this because if you want to make a change you first have to live and experience it, to gain first hand experience. Then create the most ethical solution.

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High School Travel Scholarship Global Exchange Student Opportunity

Watch out, it’s cold and flu season and I heard that wanderlust is pretty contagious. The summer after my junior year of high school (Summer 2015) I was blessed to with the opportunity to travel to Guatemala. Upon returning home, I was diagnosed with a severe case of wanderlust. Some would argue that I caught wanderlust before apply to be a Wandering Scholar. Some of the main symptoms of wanderlust include: an urge to expand culture horizons, a will to step beyond comfort zones, and a desire to gain a global perspective of the world.

Growing up in a single-parent household my family didn’t have extra money to take leisurely spring, summer, and winter vacations. As a result, I grew up only knowing Wisconsin and its’ adjacent states. Being a Wandering Scholar has opened my mind to new opportunities, become intercultural aware, and increased my global perspective.

I am now a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Food Science with a certificate in Environmental and Community Sociology.  This past Winter Break, I was blessed with the opportunity to visit Israel.  My trip to Israel was a gift from UW-Hillel and Shorashim Israel. I went to Israel because I wanted to explore and learn more about my cultural and religious identity. The pre-departure planning was similar to The Wandering Scholar. Leading up to the trip I actively engaged in cultural, language, and “current news” immersion.  I immersed myself with Israeli Culture and News, attended weekly Shabbat Dinners and services, and attended an introductory Hebrew language course. None of this was mandatory, I made the personal choice to participate in these pre-trip activities because I knew it would  make my trip more engaging and meaningful to me.

I am thankful that the Wandering Scholar helped me gain pre-departure planning, autonomy, intercultural-communication skills, and global exposure. I’ve said this before, but being a Wandering Scholar doesn’t end at the designated “10-week” mark. Everyday, I carry the skills and values that I learned from my adventure a Wandering  Scholar with me. I’ve  learned how to take responsibility for my own learning by setting goals and work towards them. In addition, I learned to be globally aware through appreciating and understanding cultural differences.

My trip to Israel was fantastic! It was a great end to 2016 and a wonderful start to 2017. Isreali culture is vibrant and fascinating, however I was surprised by the long plane ride. It is a fourteen-hour plane ride from Newark, New Jersey to Tel Aviv, Israel. After calculating domestic plane flights and anticipated delays it takes about 20-24 hours to travel to Israel. No matter how much pre-trip planning, it is very difficult to avoid jetlag.

My number one travel tip to first time travelers is to bring battery packs a (for phones, tablets, and e-readers) and a universal wall adaptor. There is nothing worse than being on a domestic/international flight that doesn’t have outlets under the seats. Or even worst hoovering over the designated “charging stations” at the airport. To solve this problem, just invest in a battery pack that can charge a device multiple times. Lastly, I recommend extra SD cards for cameras/phones-nobody wants to run out of storage.

At the end of the day, my number one advice to a new traveler is to step out of your comfort zone, try new things, try new things, be safe, and have fun!  Also, don’t forget to pack Vitamin C because a wanderlust is contagious. Once you get it, you’ll want to fill all the pages of your passport!

Until Next Time,
Alexis Terry read more →

Summer 2017 is finally here, and The Wandering Scholar’s Global Skills Fellowship Program is off to an exciting start. We have five new Wandering Scholars – our largest class yet – who will all be participating in an inaugural program with Smithsonian Student Adventures. From July 14-23, our Scholars will be traveling on their 10 day Osa Wildlife Conservation Expedition in Costa Rica. Keep an eye on this space in the coming weeks: we’ll be sharing regular blog posts from Absari Begum, Sherbie Geffrard, Sarah Kwon, Jabari Lottie, and Seyni Ndaw, who will discuss everything from their pre-departure research on Costa Rica and trip planning details, to their field updates and completed documentation projects based on their time at the Playa Tortuga Research Center. Thanks for following along!


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Still looking for that perfect gift?  Welcome to the third and final installment of our 2016 gift guide, where we’ve curated the best in travel and travel-themed essentials  (here’s Part I & Part II). We’ve saved one of the absolute best gifts for last, so please scroll down to see how you can honor your favorite Wanderer by giving the world this holiday season.

For the Wistful Wanderer, who still talks about studying abroad back in high school, makes his host mother’s specialty all these years later, and prefers his movies with subtitles. We’ve got him covered, from bringing more of the world home to helping put it within reach of a new generation of Wanderers. 




Global Sounds via Amazon Music Unlimited, $79/year: Amazon’s new music streaming service has a world of musical possibilities on offer, from Putumayo’s Latin classics to the best in Afropop and Bhangra. Combine with the Amazon Tap Portable Bluetooth Speaker ($8.99) for a more immersive listening experience. 



V-Street: 100 Globe-Hopping Plates on the Cutting Edge of Vegetable Cooking, $16.42: Two of the best chefs in the US have put their spin on global vegetarian flavors, creating dishes like Peruvian fries and vegetarian ramen that will become instant home-cooking classics.



Interwoven Ginko Quilt, $112: Sourced from fabrics from all over the globe, Interwoven’s collection of pillows, throws, and rugs put the world within everyday reach. This Ginko quilt is handmade in India, from vintage sari fabric that is machine washable and designed to age with grace and beauty. 



World Coffee Tour Gourmet Sampler, $89.99: This collection of coffee samples takes you “around the world in 80 sips,” with flavors from South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia.




Make a Tribute Donation to The Wandering Scholar: Honor your favorite Wanderer with the ultimate gift this holiday season by making a tribute donation to the Wandering Scholar. Here’s what your contribution can do:

  • $2500 fully funds the trip of a lifetime for a Wandering Scholar
  • $1000 funds the cost of international airfare
  • $250 buys a camera to create a stunning documentation project
  • $100 covers the cost of a passport book (good for 10 years)
  • $50 scores a guidebook, field journal, and other essential items
  • $25 picks up gifts for a host family
  • $10 pays the entry fee for a museum or landmark

With every (fully tax-deductible) tribute donation, we will send a card commemorating your and your Wanderer’s support for our mission. read more →

Still looking for that perfect gift?  Welcome to Part II of our gift guide (click here for Part I). We’ve curated the best in travel (and travel-themed) essentials for the Wanderers in your life. Follow the links to purchase via Amazon and your gift gives twice – with a portion of your purchase proceeds donated to The Wandering Scholar. 



For the Seasoned Wanderer, who has friends all over the world and the passport stamps (plus some amazing stories) to prove it. We’ve got her covered, from the moment she starts packing for her latest adventure until she returns home to plot the next one.




Leather Travel Wallet, $195: From Cuyana, the company that emphasizes having “fewer, better things,” comes this multi-purpose travel wallet. It holds a passport, boarding pass, credit cards, coins, notes and more. It also makes for a great evening clutch. And you can personalize it with her initials.








Bluesmart One – Smart Luggage, $414.28: This carry-on suitcase does everything. It meets TSA size requirements, has a built-in tracking device (allowing her to locate it anywhere in the world), and comes equipped with two USB hubs to charge her devices on the go. 









TOMS shoes, prices vary: This shoe brand has a variety of classic, comfortable styles for both men and women. As a bonus, when you purchase through the link your gift gives not twice but thrice – to your Seasoned Wanderer, to TWS through our affiliate program, and to a person in need thanks to TOMS “one for one” program. 








Everlane City Anorak, $98: Lightweight, water-resistant, and with a modern cut, this jacket perfectly balances utility and fashion. It’s perfect for navigating London’s rainy climates without sacrificing style. 










The Travel Book: A Journey through Every Country in The World, $31.25: This tome from Lonely Planet covers 230 countries, includes nearly 1000 photos, and will help her figure out where on the map she’ll head next.  read more →