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Monday, October 14, 2019

Claire Tinkler on Joining CISV Cincinnati

Claire’s two friends from California, Elin, Claire and her twin brother in Monte Carlo

By Claire Tinkler

Joining CISV is inarguably the best decision I ever made, and I could talk for days about my experience with the organization. At 13, I got the opportunity to live in the home of a Parisian teenager on interchange. At 14, I spent three weeks at a Step Up camp in Jakarta, Indonesia. At 17, I gained leadership experience and made great friends nationally as the president of the Cincinnati JB and internationally at a Youth Meeting in Hong Kong. However, the most impactful experience I’ve had through CISV wasn’t a summer program at all.

Earlier this year, my brother and I decided to take on a new kind of adventure in traveling: backpacking through Europe alone. With two family friends from California, we planned a three week trip across 12 cities in 8 countries. It was ambitious, especially for four young adults fresh out of high school. The CISV connections I had in Europe were our saving grace. We met up with six of my old friends throughout the course of the trip.

Claire and her Swedish friend Elin on an island near Stockholm. Claire is wearing the CISV sweatshirt.
We were able to crash on their couches for free and experience different cities like locals. We ate and laughed and had fun like no time at all had passed, even when meeting with a friend in France that I hadn’t seen since I was 14. The relationships that are formed in CISV are lifelong, even if the time spent together is short. The people who choose to be part of this program all share some common traits. They are generous, outgoing, independent, open-minded, and adventurous. My time in CISV has allowed me to grow in these qualities as well.

Through CISV, I have been given many different travel opportunities, but I have also been given a lot in terms of my educational opportunities, as I was awarded a scholarship through CISV earlier this year. I could not be more thankful to have been introduced to this organization and its people. It has shaped me into who I am today and I hope to continue to contribute to it in the future.

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