Baltimore County student’s education enhanced by cultural immersion


The educational process varies and it has evolved over the years from chalkboards to smartboards and smartphones.

There are layers to the educational process and cultural immersion is at the top of the list. For Jasmine Parrish, a Baltimore County teenager, international travel has enhanced her perspective about education, countries, cultures and cuisines.

Parrish participated in the People to People International (PTPI) Program, which allowed her the opportunity to travel overseas.

The program creates cross-cultural connections through the process of educational immersion. The program is designed for citizens around the world. Youth and adults are engaged in a myriad of cultural experiences, cuisines and historical landmarks. They also have the opportunity to serve in diverse communities by volunteering and developing leadership skills.

During a 20-day cultural exploration, she traveled to France, Italy and Greece. She visited historic landmarks including the Athens Coliseum and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The cultural exploration gained her several stamps in her passport and an affinity for international travel.

“I highly recommend for people to travel abroad to get a greater appreciation of the world,” Parrish said.

Her first stop on the excursion was Greece. She learned how to prepare a traditional meal. Parrish visited the lost city of Pompeii, an ancient town located near Naples, Italy.

During her excursion, Parrish lived with an Italian family for three days to experience the culture, living conditions and the language. She recalled that the children in the family were familiar with American culture, music and language. The children speak English and are able to translate for their parents.

“Knowing some Spanish words helped me to comprehend and join in on the conversation when they spoke Italian,” said Parrish who has a working knowledge of Spanish and American Sign Language. “We already use our hands when we talk. Let’s make it mean something.”

A visit to the Eiffel Tower in France was one of the many highlights of the tour. Parrish and several others went to the top of the structure, which stands at 984 feet tall.

“We were so high up in the air that the people on the ground looked like ants,” she said.

According to the United States Department of Commerce, more than 68 million Americans traveled abroad in 2014. The Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs reported 15,556,216 (includes 1,647,413 passport cards) were obtained in 2015.

To learn more about how to apply for a passport and travel abroad for an educational exploration or leisure, visit: