Freshman Madi Zeien loves to travel. In fact, she has visited over twenty places around the world already—ranging from Europe to Puerto Rico.
Out of all the places she has visited, France is by far her favorite. Madi visits France every summer and even speaks French.
“My whole mom’s side of the family lives in France,” Madi said. “We go there during the summer to visit them. It’s such a different place [compared to the United States], and everything is just done so differently there.”
Her favorite part about France is, in fact, the scenery.
“I like to hike [to see the scenery],” Madi said. “I like to go to all the little villages and then go in all the forests and walk.”
One of Madi’s number one activities she does while in France is walking around all of those villages. Although there are are only really individual families living there, she admires their togetherness as a whole community.
“[In France] they have the villages, and here, there are a lot of big cities,” Madi said. “Here, everything is so split into parts.”
Madi truly believes that the opportunities she has had to travel the world have bettered her as a person.
Seeing all the different cultures and ways of life in other countries has really opened her eyes and made her genuinely thankful for all she has.
“I feel like I have gotten to learn different people’s lifestyles,” Madi said. “I have gotten to see that my life is actually really good, and [traveling] has really allowed me to see what is actually going on in the world—things such as pollution or just [other] ways of life.”
Both of Madi’s parents really enjoy traveling often. With her dad, Madi often visits warmer, more tropical areas of the planet during spring break.
“I really enjoyed visiting Belize,” Madi said. “I liked the snorkeling and the water is really clear there. It’s the second biggest Coral Reef in the world, so there was a lot of wildlife in the water; we even went swimming with sharks. There were also stingrays and manta rays in the water and they were all really big; it was really cool but also really scary at the same time.”
Visiting Belize was not only a memorable trip but a learning experience as well for Madi. While most other students tend to keep their learning in the classroom, she utilizes each new place she visits as a chance for her to become well versed in their culture and become a little bit more conscious of how she lives her life as an individual.
“You can tell that [the people living in Belize] are poor,” Madi said. “It really opens your eyes to how other people have to live.”
Although traveling alone is fulfilling, she truly believes that getting to experience new countries with her sister, senior Chloe Zeien, shows her the world through a different lens—one of enhanced, remarkable beauty and excitement.
“[My sister] is like my travel buddy—we go everywhere together,” Madi said. “I feel like it makes our bond stronger.”
This time spent with Chloe is bittersweet for Madi. Chloe is a senior and will soon leave for college.
“Next year when [my sister] goes to college it just won’t be the same,” Madi said. “Hopefully Christmas break we will be able to go places together next year, but I still don’t really know.”
Traveling has immensely bettered Madi as a person; it has even molded her into who she is today.
“I like traveling,” Madi said. “It is a big part of my life now. I like doing it; I like visiting new places and learning new things.”