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Monday, August 10, 2015

Summer in Boston: A day on the Hahvahd Tour

Growing up, my family did a lot of traveling. We've been to the various national parks, forests, and tourist traps there are out there in the vast state of California, but my family's method of 1) arriving, 2) finding somewhere to eat, 3) walking around, and 4) moving on to another location probably isn't the best way to explore a new place.

When I was in Europe this past summer, I tended to stay away from organized tours because they often spanned for 3 hours at a time, and I didn't want to look too much like a tourist. They often cost way too much money as well, so as a student traveling on a budget, I couldn't bear giving away my precious euros away (as you have probably gleaned by now, I was on an extreme budget). 

The downside to that was the fact that though I was seeing so many beautiful buildings and breathing in the history of magnificent European cities, I had no idea what I was really seeing or breathing in (that plus all of the fumes from the canals in Venice... not an enjoyable experience, to say the least). 

Part of traveling is about seeing everything, and in today's world, about taking selfies with everything you see. But I have to say that the other side of traveling (and in my opinion, the more important) is learning about and from the places we go. My time exploring London is so much concretely ingrained in my mind because I went on an hour-long walking tour across the royal city, as compared to an afternoon wandering aimlessly around the Roman ruins in Rome (beautiful as it may be, I dug deep into my elementary school Roman education reserves... and got little to nothing). 

So after 20 years of aimlessly roaming new places, I've decided that it's time to be an adult and take advantage of each travel experience as a true learning experience.

The Hahvahd Tour

Harvard especially has an incredible (and long) history as the nation's first university, and the educational stomping ground of world-renowned thinkers, politicians, actors, business people, and students alike. 

See the classic Hahvahd t-shirt and the iconic Harvard straw hat while you're roaming the campus? Nope, they didn't just spell Harvard wrong -- the Hahvahd Tour, run by Trademark Tours, is the city's best, student-led tour of the Harvard campus. 

Trust me, a tour of Harvard doesn't get more real than it does with a student leader. You'll hear all of the great stories, hear the truest insight on what it's like being a student at Harvard, and be able to ask any and all the questions you don't get to on a traditional tour. 

With a super-quirky, theatrical script delivered by hand-selected students from across the different class years and schools of study, the Hahvahd Tour guides are one of a kind. If you're like me and get impatient with tours, but want to soak in the experience of Harvard, you have to take a tour. There's no way around it!

Groups stay small, the scripts are comical, and really, the walk isn't that much (Harvard has a pretty tiny campus for a school so notorious!). You'll hear about the many myths of Harvard, as well as the traditions and to-do's before graduating (I'll spare the details here).

Most of all, my biased opinion is that a tour given by real-life students is always going to beat out a tour led by huge coach tour bus drivers. Always. :) 

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