This month, 17 CCI high school exchange students from 14 countries (Taiwan, Russia, Poland, Thailand, Ukraine, Mexico, Colombia, Norway, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain, and Korea) traveled to Florida to participate on CCI Greenheart’s Spring Break trip. The group completed a total of 17 hours of volunteer work in addition to soaking in some Florida fun and sun.  Andrea P. from Norway, recounts her time as a Greenheart volunteer and reminisces about meeting up with her newfound friends again soon!  

By Andrea P., CCI exchange student from Norway

The first thing I got to say is that this trip was amazing! I would never think it would turn out as good as it did on the first day we arrived and saw the hostel we were going to live at for a whole week. The first day we all met, this Italian girl, Marta and I, clicked immediately. We got used to the hostel and it turned out to feel like a home for all of us, and there were people from all over the world staying at the same place as us.

The whole week was filled with fun activities every single day. It was like closing your eyes to pick a piece of candy from a bag – you would be surprised, but happy, even though you didn’t know what to get or expect, because every day was different, but so interesting. And also because it was a volunteering trip, we did some things to make the environment a better place. First day out was filled with excitement, mud and water. We walked in mud up to our knees and we also paddled in canoes with alligators swimming next to us. In my opinion, this was one of the best days!

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The following activities were also cool. We volunteered in the Everglades National Park where we were removing an exotic plant, called syngonium. Afterward, we went on an airboat ride with a guide, which were lots of fun! Every day started with a little volunteering in the morning, before we went to have fun all together with our amazing group of people. We went to the Coral Castle where we got guided through a sculpture museum, built by one man, Edward Leedskalnin from Latvia. We also went to this Fruit and Spice Park, where we did volunteering and also got a tour through the park. We got to talk to the people that worked there – and they also told us some touching and nice stories, that I think we all will keep in our hearts.

On Wednesday, we went into Miami and the beach. That was awesome, at night; we had reservations at Hard Rock Café, which I think made the day complete for all of us. When we had eaten, we all got to go shopping at the mall for a couple hours, before we drove back to the hostel.

Some of the students decided to go snorkeling the day after, while some of us decided to go on a boat, to look at the fishes and corals through the windows instead. Some of the girls, Stephanie (CCI staff leader) and me went on the boat, and that was a fun experience, even though most of the girls fell asleep while the guide was talking, which resulted in a extremely funny picture.

The rest of the trip was amazing and we had a lot of fun all together. Our last night was hard for all of us, because we knew that we were never going to see each other again, at least not for a while. But it’s for sure that we made bonding and will keep in touch for a long time.

View more photos of the trip on this Picasa album