The first time I heard about Junior Journeys was when I was touring the campus as a junior in high school. Now, over three years later, it is time to go abroad.

The first step was picking a trip, and that is not as easy as it sounds. It did not help that there were nearly 30 trips listed, both Junior Journey and Study Abroad.

“We always have new trips. The trips seem to be increasing,” Student Travel Coordinator Bridgette McArthur said. “I understand the program is still sort of in its infancy, so new trips are proposed all the time.”

In the end I decided to go to Harlaxton, England. While not all of the excursions are set in stone, it sounded pretty much perfect:  living in a manor house for a month, visiting Shakespeare’s birthplace, the whole nine yards.

The trip also offers students one of two classes, “Intercultural Communications” or “Relationships on Film: Analyzing Reality TV” taught by Assistant Communications Professors Theresa MacNeil and Dr. Cara Mackie respectively.

“I don’t really think you get the full experience of what you’re learning until you’re actually doing it,” MacNeil said.

She said that transportation is included, Harlaxton covers most meals and that students receive 10 pounds when there are away trips.

“The only thing people would really have to pay for is the excursions out on the weekends, [and] obviously if you’re bringing home gifts or novelties or something,” MacNeil said.

Once I made my decision I filled out my travel application and the Office of Student Travel contacted me.

Then it was time for paperwork, like submitting a copy of my passport. McArthur told me that her number one piece of advice to students is to get a passport early.

“That way you’re always ready to go,” McArthur said.

I also had to get two forms notarized. I did my paperwork during winter break, so I did not get the benefit of the notaries on campus in the Bussiness, Student Travel and Registrar’s Offices.

Getting my immunization record from Student Health was easy. I just had to go there, fill out a request and I got my record during the same visit. Then I just had to make the deposit.

When I went to one of the student travel workshops last year, I had not picked out my trip yet.

The second time around proved more beneficial. The workshop went over considerations that were both practical and easy to forget, like taking along extra medication or glasses.

“I give them [students] just some insight on everything from baggage limitations to just different ways of not becoming a victim of crime when they’re travelling by being aware of their surroundings,” McArthur said.

Several links were given out during the workshop with tips and advice, like the government’s travel page and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s page on traveler’s health.

While I was at the workshop, I sat next to senior Lauren Williams. Like me, Williams was getting ready to go on her first trip using her Junior Journey funds.

Unlike me, she was actually going on a Junior Journey to New York City with Associate Professor of Music Diane Stahl. Williams wants to be an opera singer, and she said that the Junior Journey was right up her alley.

“I’ve never been to New York, so I’m really excited to go and see what it’s like,” Williams said. “I know that it’s a huge center for the arts and since that’s the career that I want, I need to go there and check out the culture and see what kind of opportunities are available.”

Now that I attended a travel workshop, all I have to do is wait for an email telling me to come to the meeting for the Harlaxton trip.

After that, it is off to England. Personally, I cannot wait.