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IDEA Junior Malaysia Johnson Explored Australia and UAE on Two-Week Expedition

IDEA Junior Malaysia Johnson spent two weeks this past summer traveling through Australia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and all she had to pay for was her passport. The amazing trip, along with an entire year of workshops covering financial literacy, college readiness, and in-depth study of international cultures to prepare students for the experience, was sponsored by the Global Scholars Foundation.

Malaysia was one of 15 students chosen for this class of Global Scholars. This was her first trip outside of the United States. “The experience opens your eyes to see the world is much bigger than the DMV,” she said. “You learn about the language and culture of the countries and the similarities and differences between the US and those countries. These countries follow different laws and have different governments, yet some things are so similar because we’re all humans.”

Highlights of her time in UAE included visiting Abu Dhabi and Dubai, seeing the world’s tallest building, and riding the world’s fastest roller coaster. “The cities were in the desert but they had this beautiful architecture, huge buildings, and advanced technology,” Malaysia said. “It was interesting to see an advanced city and modern people in such a remote area.” (Check out pictures of the trip here!)

In Australia, the Global Scholars visited Sydney, including the famous opera house, and took a boat ride around the harbor. Malaysia particularly enjoyed the native animals. “We got to go to the zoo, but there you get to pet the animals—they’re not in big cages and they can roam a little bit. We saw kangaroos, parrots, penguins, and other birds.” The group also visited Ayres Rock and stayed at a rustic resort in the outback. “When it got dark it was really dark,” Malaysia said. (Check out pictures of the trip here!)

In addition to the international trip, Malaysia’s Global Scholars class took a tour of Ivy League colleges. “I realized I have more college options than I thought,” she explained. “Once we went on the tour, I thought ‘I’m actually good enough to go to top colleges.’” Now she is in the process of applying to Johns Hopkins, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, and Howard. She plans to study chemistry and biology.


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