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14 Oct, 2019   |   

Meet the Cast Monday: Aiyonna from Colorado

On this week’s Meet the Cast Monday, meet Aiyonna from Colorado! At 19-years-old and fresh out of high school, Aiyonna is excited to travel the world and start her journey of self discovery.

Interests and Passions: Painting, drawing, sculpting, and writing

Why did you decide to travel in Up with People?

“I want people to know that they are being listened to, understood, and that they are cared for. That’s pretty much what Up With People stands for. The travel aspect was also very interesting to me.”

Gap year student in Up with People travel programWhat was arrival day in Ottawa like for you?

“Cold! Staying in hot and humid 90+ degrees Fahrenheit in Louisiana to cold 30 degree weather was such a shock to the body.”

How have the first couple weeks in Canada been?

“Very familiar. I was expecting Canada to have moose everywhere and maple syrup in every corner (Y’know the stereotype), but it’s just like the United States except with colorful money and more recycling bins.”

How did you hear about Up with People?

“They came to my school with a booth. I talked to the admissions representative named Rilee for almost an hour and then I was late for my next class because I was so excited!”

What were you most nervous about at the beginning of the semester?

“Just getting comfortable with people. I’m usually really good at interacting with new people, but I think the fact that everyone is from a different part of the world really intimidated me at first.”

What were you most excited about at the beginning of the semester?

“Traveling! I’ve never been out of the U.S, or even on a plane, before traveling in Up with People.”

What do you hope to gain out of your experience in UWP?

“I hope to figure out who I really am outside of a school setting. I just graduated high school and I want to figure out what type of person I want to be before college and entering into the real world.”

Why do you think a program like Up with People is important?

“This program allows people to really understand that they share this world with everyone. There is no time for hate, judgement, or ignorance. It makes you realize that as you are reading this, there is someone across the world doing something completely different at this exact time. You’ll never know what it is that they are doing, but you appreciate how there are different lifestyles and cultures.”

What is something you have learned about yourself while on the road?

“I’ve learned that I’m a good listener and I give pretty good advice. I’ve been told that a lot throughout the trip and it never came to my mind before.”

What has been your biggest challenge on the road?

“Mustering the energy to keep going even when I’m tired. After long days, and sometimes long nights, it’s really tempting to just quit and take a nap, but that’s not possible. I really learned how to become energetic during my most tiring times. Also, the times when I push myself are when I really found that I have grown and learned the most. ”


“Sometimes we only hear what we want to
Find comfort with voices we know
But it takes all the others to make harmony
And find a song of peace.

Voices © Up with People

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