Julian Parra and Richard Rivera: Rising Up as Ambassadors


Ruqaiyah ElSaawy, Staff Writer

Hawthorne High School sophomore, Julian Parra, and junior, Richard Rivera, have been chosen by People to People as Student Ambassadors, positions that allow them to travel to various countries, learn the different cultures, and  participate in community service. On July 7, 2014, Parra and Rivera will be traveling with the Student Ambassador program to Italy, France, and England.

According to the People to People’s official website, Student Ambassadors are students who are interested in traveling both internationally and nationally. The point of the program is to allow students to not only travel, but also to increase their global awareness, experience new cultures, participate in local customs, and learn through doing so.

Parra and Rivera were nominated to go on an Exploring Europe Ambassador Trip by one of their teachers while they were in the 8th grade. After applying for the program, they had to complete an interview. They were accepted into the program in June of 2013.

 The tuition for the Student Ambassador Program ranges from $4,500 to $7,999. This includes all pre-travel education and preparation, the travel itself, meals, activities, and academic credit. Parra and Rivera worked hard to raise money to pay for the tuition. For example, Parra raised money by selling raffle tickets, doing food drives, and selling baskets during Christmas. On top of this, he also is using some of his savings and earning money for the trip by tutoring in Spanish and giving guitar lessons.

When asked about his anticipations on becoming a Student Ambassador, Parra said, “I expect to learn more about the different cultures of the different countries, and I hope to come out of the trip with a more open mind to learning and understanding different customs. I also hope to learn and experience the main points of interests that make Europe so unique.” Rivera also commented, saying, “I expect to learn a lot about different cultures and to have a great time with my fellow ambassadors.”