Photo: kretyen

Remember your first travel abroad experience? Pay it forward.

When I was a 15 year old high school student I won a scholarship to study Spanish anywhere in the world.

It was my first experience traveling abroad, and that summer in Costa Rica remains one of the most formative experiences of my life. I survived a couple earthquakes, crossed the country on chicken buses with little clue about where I was headed, and learned that cold water showers are a no-fail way to promote water conservation.

Your story’s different, but I’m willing to bet that your first travel abroad experience was no less of a watershed moment for you than mine was for me. And perhaps you feel, as I do, that you’d like to find a way to help someone else experience a similar sense of discovery, wonder, and transformation.

Well, you can.

Last year, Matador launched the Brave New Travelers Youth Scholarship Fund, created by Matador co-founder, Ben Polansky. We raised enough money to send 11 inner city students on their first trips abroad this past summer. Among the countries the students visited were Nicaragua, New Zealand, and Cambodia. Each student expanded their comfort zone by living abroad for six weeks, immersing themselves in local cultures with the help of the educational tourism organizations, Where There Be Dragons, Global Glimpse, and AFS.

Their trips were possible because members of the Matador community donated generously to the scholarship fund.

This year, our goals are even more ambitious: raise $20,000 to send as many as 15 students abroad. We’re kicking off our fundraising campaign this month and will be actively seeking contributions to the scholarship fund until February. So far, we’ve raised a bit more than 10% of our goal.

We’d love it if you’d pay your first travel abroad experience forward by participating in the campaign. Donations can be as little as $1.00 and as much as… well, the sky’s the limit!

Complete details about the program and how you can get involved are on our Brave New Travelers Youth Scholarship Fund page.

Community Connections:

Travel changes lives.

Read past scholarship recipients’ stories about their first travel abroad experiences:

Be Bigger Than the Ignorance

My First Time Away From Home

It Was Me Who Had Changed