Meet Rachael Tyler, GeoVisions’ December Alumni of the Month! Rachel was an Au Pair in France and experienced some life-changing memories while abroad. Listen to Rachel’s testimonial below (choose Rachel’s video from the list) and read on to learn more about one of our newest alumna!
Our motto is ‘Experiences are more important than landmarks’ – in a couple of sentences, share an experience you had on your program (or a weekend adventuring on your own) that stands out to you.
Where I was placed on my Au Pair in France program, I had the Alps right in my backyard. It was breathtaking enough just to be surrounded by gigantic mountains. However, one evening after dinner, my host family and I drove up one the nearby mountains to take in the view. Once we got to the top, it was about 20 degrees (F) colder. The sun was setting behind the clouds, and despite the freezing wind in summer, I was speechless. Being so high, I could see the city of Geneva, Switzerland in the distance and many more mountains including Mont Blanc. It was the most beautiful view I had ever gazed upon and will forever be tattooed in my memory.
There are great travel apps out there that help you convert currency, translate words or menus and mapping apps. If you used technology abroad – what was your ‘go-to’ app or platform while traveling?
The Google Translate app is a must. While it’s not always accurate, it’s a quick way to figure out something on a menu or a street sign. I also used Duolingo to practice my French everyday in addition to the practice I was getting with my host family.
What would be the advantages and disadvantages of living permanently where you had your GeoVisions program?
The advantages would certainly be the beauty. I was very close the Geneva, Switzerland, and it is a very clean and friendly city with an easy to use public transport system. There was also a Facebook group specifically for people who want to socialize in the city. The main disadvantage was the language and cultural barriers that I found. Because it is very different there than where I live in Ohio, it would take me a long time to adjust to everything.
What sense do you value most while traveling?
Describe the most interesting person you met on one of your travels.
I met many lovely woman who were from either the Middle East or Asia. Each of them had very different and interesting stories about moving from their home countries to somewhere that they could start a new, better life. But, overall, pretty much every person I met was extremely interesting. Everyone had lived such different lives than I had, so I loved to ask many questions and learn as much as I could about the new people I met.
Did you ever get lost while traveling? If so, tell us about it.
I never got lost while traveling alone because I feel a lot less adventurous by myself. When I would go out, I would have a set plan of where I was going and what buses to take. However, if I would go out with a friend, I would feel much better about wandering aimlessly through the streets of Geneva. It was so much fun to just walk down new streets and pop in to an interesting store or restaurant. But, if we did get lost, it was very easy to get where we were going because everyone was very nice and could just tell us where we needed to go.
What are your plans now that you are back home? Any great new adventures you’ll be embarking on?
I start my Junior year of college this fall, where I study TESOL and Writing. After graduating in two years, I plan to live abroad to teach English. I have no set plans for adventuring in the near future, but whenever I get the chance to travel, I will surely go and make new memories.