CAS Trips had the wonderful opportunity to interview future IB student Quinn Donovan from the Munich International School about learning, traveling and what inspires her to do both.
Hi Quinn! Thanks for taking the time to speak to us! First things first, what IB courses are you taking?
Next year I’m taking higher level English literature, higher level German B, higher level history, standard level biology, standard level math, and standard level theater.
That sounds great! Why do you like to travel?
I like to travel because I find it exciting. I love exploring, especially if I get to learn some history about the place. I went to Pompeii with my family and it was absolutely amazing because I love mythology, so it was very cool to be in such a historical place. I think the number one reason I like to travel is because it takes you out of a familiar setting that you see every day, and into a new place where everything is inspiring and different!
Have you ever been on a student trip? If yes where to?
I’ve been on many school trips. My favorite ones were when we went to Andalucía in Spain, and to Terezin in the Czech Republic.
What did you experience on your student trips?
For the most part, culture and history. In Spain, we learned everything from cooking tapas to dancing flamenco. In the Czech Republic, we were more focused on the historical aspects of travel as we were staying in what used to be a concentration camp. For both of these trips I had to put myself out there and work with people I normally wouldn’t have the chance; especially in Terezin, because there I met with students from different schools around the world.
Have you ever made new friends during your vacation?
Yes, again especially on my trips to Spain and the Czech Republic. In Spain, we met with teenagers from the local school. We had lot of activities together and by the end of the trip, we were all exchanging numbers! In the Czech Republic, I met so many people from so many different schools, and since it was a drama/history trip, we had to work together. I still remember that my school had to leave early, and when we were about to go, the whole group of people I was working with came in for a big hug. The best part about both of these experiences is that I’m still currently in contact with some of the friends I made!
So, let me ask about your school – what is your favorite class and why?
That’s a really hard question because I love English and History. I’d have to go with History, though, because I think there is nothing more exciting than looking at the world around us and learning how it came to be. Plus, History has a lot of elements from English!
How do you prefer learning? Textbook or hands-on?
Let’s face it, school can be boring and it’s hard to find someone who enjoys sitting in a classroom for seven hours a day. No one wants to have to read a textbook again and again. I’m a student, I get it. So, I think that as much as I love to read, I’m definitely a more hands-on learner. There’s only so much you can learn in a classroom, in my opinion. For example, when I went to Spain, it was because I was taking Spanish. So being there, I had to use my linguistic skills to communicate with locals in a language that I had been studying for years. There’s such a difference between learning in a classroom, a sort of safe space, and actually being out in the world and applying what you´ve learned.
What is your favorite part about experiencing a new destination?
Going to new places is all about experiencing the culture and learning the history. Those things are definitely my favorite part of traveling. I think the best trip I’ve been on that shows the difference in culture is Turkey. Here, I got a taste of East meeting West with different smells, and sights, and a different culture from my own. I’d have to say that food is another great part of traveling. I think one of my favorite experiences was when I went to Spain and we made Tapas. This was great fun and I felt like I was able to bring a piece of that trip home with me.
How do you think your travels benefit your future?
I think travel is beneficial for my future, especially when you combine it with CAS. Not only am I expanding my knowledge of the world and lending a hand to local communities, I am opening my mind to new experiences and trying to make a difference in the world. In my opinion, colleges and universities look for students that choose to take action and be risk takers. I believe universities want students that are well rounded, and I think traveling gives one an opportunity to gain a new appreciation for different cultures and new destinations.
Have you ever been on a volunteer trip?
I have not been on one yet, however, next year I am hoping to go to Tanzania with my school. They offer these trips every summer for high school students. For me, traveling to a continent I’ve never been to before, plus helping others and learning about a new culture, would be a wonderful experience.
How do you think you can make an impact while traveling?
I think there are so many ways you can make an impact while traveling – and you don’t need to try that hard. Just experiencing a different culture and sharing your enthusiasm with people, is already enough to spread awareness. You can also travel to LEDCs (The Least Developed Countries) and donate your time to different charities or local communities, and like I said, when you come back, you can tell people about it, you can spread awareness, and the more people that know about it, the more likely they’ll do something to make a change as well.
Thank you so much for your time Quinn & all the best for your IB studies! We do hope you can come travel with us in future!