Students Summer Program Takes Her Across the World


Credit: Mary Campbell Spencer

Mary Campbell’s five week summer program brought her to Fiji, Australia, and New Zealand.

Ellie Bowen

Western junior, Mary Campbell Spencer, was fortunate enough to have spent her summer in not one, but three different countries over the span of five weeks. The majority of her time was spent in the Outback of Australia, and the rest spent in various parts of New Zealand and Fiji.

Spencer explains how her travels were done through the high school summer program, Putney, which selects 15-20 teenage applicants from around the world to participate.

On June 28th, she finally departed for what was to be the best five weeks of her life. Her time in Australia, she said, will forever have a hold on her heart. Whether it be spending four days on a boat over the Great Barrier Reef, or learning the survival skills necessary for the Outback, it was an incredible two weeks.

Though her time in Fiji was short-lived, it was magical, from the crystal clear waters, to the night time bonfires. “Every night all of us would go out to the beach with the native Fijians and sit by a bonfire, it was like we were in a movie.” Spencer said.

“I believe everyone deserves to travel in their teenage years, it teaches you about the culture of the countries while actually living in them, and knowledge is power,” Spencer said.

Like all wonderful things in this world, the ending was more bitter-than-sweet. “Saying goodbye to my best friends at the end of the trip will be the part I remember the most, it really was painful.” Being with the same people for five weeks can be challenging, but nothing compares to the incredible relationships that are made in the progress.