European tour ‘awesome’ reports student
“Awesome “is a word Sarah Holladay uses to describe a 19-day tour of six European countries as a People to People Student Ambassador.
An eighth grader at Hartselle Junior High School, Sarah and 40 other students, 22 of whom reside in North Alabama, departed from the U.S. on June 27 and returned July 16. Their trip took them to Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, England, France and Belgium.
Home stay families provided lodging for the students while they were touring in German, Sarah spent four nights and three days with a Pakistani family in Heidelberg, Germany.
Their 11-year-old daughter, one of five siblings, knew some English and served as Sarah’s companion and interpreter. While in their company she was treated to a World Cup soccer game and a Fourth of July picnic at the home of an American family from New Hampshire. She also visited a school in the neighborhood. It was a five-level building and was considered to be small when measured by German standards.
“German Kids like America,” Sarah said. “You could tell that by the music they listened to and the clothes they wore.”
She said the best part of the trip was getting to see the Swiss Alps and the Eiffel Tower.
“The Alps are very different, very large and very beautiful,” she pointed out. “The Eiffel Tower is also a special place. There were a lot of street vendors and people were everywhere, lined up to get in the tower.”
Special activities she enjoyed included rafting on a river in Switzerland, a bike ride in the Netherlands, a boat cruise on the Rhine River, a flag-raising ceremony on Omaha Beach, a live stage play in London and the restoration of grave markers in an old cemetery in the Black Forest.
The food she was exposed to was a different matter.
“”I almost starved to death,” Sarah said
“It’s not a place for a picky eater They eat a lot of meat and pasta. I prefer vegetables and fruit, and fish when I’m eating meat.”
Sarah said one of the bonuses of making the trip was making friends with fellow ambassadors and students from foreign counties.
“I’ll be staying in touch with several of the kids I met on Face Book,” she said.
Sarah is the daughter of Barry Holladay and the late Ann Holladay and the granddaughter of Cliff and Barbara Holladay, all of Hartselle.
She is already making plans to go on another People to People tour to Australia and New Zealand next summer.