Claudia Towne Hirtenfelder has been traveling since 2004, with her first international trip being an exchange program to Switzerland for six weeks. She has since traveled to over 20 countries and has lived in Korea and Sweden. Claudia has a Master’s in Social Studies of Gender from Lund University as well as second Masters from the University of Johannesburg in Tourism and Management.
Hi, my name is Astrid Haas. I was born and raised in South Africa, but spent 8 years living in Europe (Austria and Germany) after studying Hotel Management. My husband, Chris, and I decided to leave Europe, as we didn’t want to live there for the rest of our lives and decided rather to travel through Africa. Through our Africa trip, we ended up in Uganda and we are now managing one of the most successful lodges here. We’ve been working here for the past 20 months and we plan to be here for the next few years. Although no longer up to date, we did keep a blog of our 10-month trip through southern and eastern Africa: www.rabbitsviewofafrica.com.
Danielle Waxtan is an actress living in New York, NY.
Where were you?
I moved to Israel. First, I studied on a kibbutz near Hadera, then moved to Tel-Aviv.
I had been to Israel on organized trips throughout college; volunteering, touring, etc. I felt comfortable and excited there. I wanted to go back to experience the inclusiveness and electricity of the country. I wound-up studying Palestinian Arabic, Middle Eastern History, and Hebrew on the kibbutz, through MASA (a post-graduate program). When I was not in class, I was volunteering with an elementary school in Ar’ara, directing their first English play for the after school ESL program. It was an eye-opening time in my life.
Liz Engels is an Organizer for the SEIU living between Los Angeles, CA and Minneapolis, MN. We discussed her time living in Bolivia, where she studied, volunteered, and traveled.
Where did you travel?
I lived in Bolivia for seven months in 2012. I lived in the northern (rich) part of the Cochabamba for 3 months and the southern (poor) part of the city for 4 months. I also traveled to La Paz, Santa Cruz, Chiquetenia, Rurabake, and many other small towns. For the most part, I lived in Bolivia so I could learn Spanish. I took Spanish classes at a Catholic mission for my first three months, while volunteering with an organization called Maryknoll, then volunteered with a variety of organizations for the second 4 months.
Was it important to learn Spanish?
It was very necessary. English speaking is not at all common there. However, its a really great place to learn Spanish because the dialect, I’m told, is easy to understand and they speak slowly. I think that’s in part because Spanish is many people’s second or third language there since there are huge populations of Aymara and Quechua people.