This summer, Zack and Alex Thuerman will spend a few weeks in the Mediterranean.
They will visit the Colesium, see a bull fight, help clean up a park and do much more.
The two brothers have been accepted by the People to People Student Ambassador program to go on the 19-day trip.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know people and building relationships,” said Zack, who is 14 and an eighth grader at Waupaca Middle School.
Alex is 13 and a seventh grader at WMS. He looks forward to learning about the culture and landmarks in the countries they will visit.
“It’s going to be a very educational trip. It’s not just a fun trip,” he said.
The sons of Mark and Paula Thuerman learned last November they had been accepted by People to People to participate in the trip.
The international travel program for youth includes activities for building independence and maturity, as well as cultural moments to increase global awareness and destinations to foster a love of international travel and foreign cultures.
The family first began receiving correspondence from People to People about three years ago.
When they received a letter last August inviting them to a meeting about a trip to the Mediterranean, they were interested.
Alex is interested in Spain’s history and culture, while Zack likes Italian food and photography.
“I’ve traveled to a lot of the locations,” Mark said in regard to the trip. “Putting it together with their ages, we thought they were ready to jump into a trip abroad.”
Informational meetings about the trip were held in Appleton.
“They talked about the trip. They had some people who went on previous trips talk,” Alex said.
Zack said, “I didn’t know much about it initially. After I learned more from the meeting and after more meetings, I got more and more excited.”
Their application process included getting recommendations from teachers and also from adults who know them.
Following interviews in November, Zack and Alex learned they would be going on the trip.
Now, they are in the process of earning money – through jobs and fundraising – to put toward the cost of their trips.
“People to People offers many different ways. They have a site dedicated to ideas to raise funds. There are scholarships, contests. We’re hoping some of that comes through,” Mark said.
Family and friends are donating toward the cost, and others who want to support their trip as student ambassadors may also do so.
A fundraiser currently under way allows those who give a donation to receive a coupon for $5 off a 16-inch Merrimac Recipe Pizza, at Courtside Sports Bar & Restaurant.
Email Thuermans at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn ways to donate and how to receive the pizza coupon.
Zack and Alex are earning money for their trip through a Buyers’ Guide route, and Zack plans to also earn money by babysitting.
They will leave on June 17 and will spend eight days in Italy, four days in France and seven days in Spain.
Their trip will end on July 7.
In all, about 40 students will be on the trip – 15 from Wisconsin and the rest from Texas.
They will visit numerous sites, stay with host families for three nights while in Spain and also do service projects, including working with mentally challenged children and cleaning up a park.
“I’m excited for the home stay,” Zack said. “I will learn about the family and their life and will share our culture with them and values.”