College Credit Trip of a Lifetime

My name is Kira Ackley and I am a student at Gardner-Webb University obtaining my Bachelor's degree in Social Work through the GOAL program that is designed for students to attend Fall, Spring and Summer semesters. This program is based out of "satellite campuses" in which I drive to. One of them being over an hour way one way! I do not come from a well-to-do family. In fact we struggled every step of the way throughout my childhood. However the one thing that they instilled in me is that education is a must! I am so blessed already that I am now at the age of 23 and am able to say that I attend one of the most credited Christian Universities! I know that God loves me very much.

Because I don't attend the main campus and it is two hours away, I have not experienced any of the "college life" activities that I had wanted to. I was ok with not being on campus and getting the full experience until I got the email that informed me on a nine day journey to Switzerland, Germany, and France. As I was reading the itinerary I longed for the chance to attend, at only $4,000 I could take the dream trip to Germany that I wanted to take with my mother since I was nine. I have always wanted to go and pay my respects to a concentration camp, and that is even on the itinerary. Not only is this a trip of a lifetime but also will count as an elective course that I need to graduate. I want this adventure so bad that I can taste it. I have tried for the past month to come up with ways to raise money on my own, while still being a full time student and working and supporting myself. In which I was working two jobs. This summer I worked at a resort that in the end offered a scholarship program. I thought I did everything in my power to show them that I am a hard worker and even told them about this opportunity of a lifetime. In the end after working there for three years this year, I got less than I did the prior years. They said that they did not help people with trips like this. It is almost as if I was punished for wanting to go. Since then I have applied to more scholarships and loans but have not had great success in raising the funds needed for this trip they tell me that I have reached my financial support for education. I am a very determined and strong young woman who reaches for my dreams. Any donations will go solely for this trip. This experience will be life changing, and adventure where I learn not only about other countries, with different cultures but it will be walk of faith for myself to discover who I am becoming.

I am posting the trip schedule so you all can see exactly what I am working towards. Please and thank you for all your support of me accomplishing my dreams and goals.

May 13-21, 2014

Day 1 >> Tuesday, May 13
Flight to Zurich, Switzerland

Day 2 >> Wednesday, May 14: (Zurich-Lucerne-Engelberg)
Arrival at Zurich airport
Transportation by private bus during the day
Free time for lunch on your own in Lucerne
2 nights in twin rooms with private bathroom incl. breakfast at the 4-star hotel
Ramada Regina Titlis Engelberg
Orientation session with CEPA coordinator at the hotel
Welcome dinner at the hotel

Day 3 >> Thursday, May 15
Breakfast at the hotel
9:00 "“ 9:50 am - GWU lecture for those receiving academic credit
Depart 10:00 a.m. for business visit in Lucerne (TBD)
Free time in Lucerne
Business visit in afternoon "“ Schindler AG (elevator)
Return to hotel
Transportation to and from the mountain cabin "Fluehmatt"
Traditional Swiss dinner (Aelplermagronen)

Day 4 >> Friday, May 16 (Freiburg or Obernai/Schiltigheim-Strasbourg)
Breakfast at the hotel
Transportation by private bus to either Freiburg (Germany) or Obernai (Alsace
Option A: Free time for lunch in Freiburg, then Pfizer Corp. in the afternoon
Option B: Free time for lunch in Obernai, then visit Steelcase Corp.
2 nights in twin rooms with private bathrooms incl. breakfast at the Chateau de
Portales (
Dinner at La Vignette, a typical Alsatian restaurant

Day 5 >> Saturday, May 17: (Strasbourg)
Breakfast at the Chateau
Morning lecture
Free to explore Strasbourg on your own:

Day 6 >> Sunday, May 18: (Natzwiller "“ Paris)
Breakfast at the Chateau
Transportation to the former concentration camp Struthof in the morning
Transportation to the Strasbourg train station
Train ticket Strasbourg-Paris in the early afternoon (travel time circa 2 hours)
Transportation by private bus to Paris hotel
3 nights in twin rooms with private bathroom incl. breakfast. Hotel TBD.
Transportation pass for entire stay in Paris
Walking tour with coordinator, explanation of metro system, see main
Attractions. end up at the Sacre Coeur church in Montmartre

Day 7 >> Monday, May 19: (Paris)
Breakfast at the hotel
Free day to explore Paris or Versailles on your own:

Day 8 >> Tuesday, May 20: (Paris)
Breakfast at the hotel
Free day to explore Paris on your own:

Day 9 >> Wednesday, May 21: (Paris "“ homeward bound!)
Breakfast at the hotel
Depart for airport

Note: A coordinator will be available during all planned excursions while in Engelberg, Strasbourg and Paris.
Access to wifi in the lobby (free of charge) and rooms (extra cost) at the Ramada. Free use of computers and wifi and the Chateau de Portales in Strasbourg.

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Kira Ackley 
Elk Park, NC
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