Testimonials | Explore America Travel Scholarship

Explore America Travel Scholarship


Jahnel Walker

Explore America scholarship recipient Jahnel Walker

Jahnel traveled from Washington DC to Louisiana and stayed at the newly opened HI New Orleans hostel for four nights. While there she participated in hostel activities that included a walking tour and pub crawl. Jahnel’s hostel stay coincided with The Essence Music Festival, which is held annually in New Orleans.

“My hostel experience took place during the week of Essence Festival, focused around woman’s wellness, empowerment, and happiness. The majority of my interactions at HI New Orleans included engaging with African American guests of all ages and locations, who all had an objective to have a great time and be proud in their Blackness. Meeting and sharing stories with hostel guests including educators, teachers, mental health advocates, motivational speakers, and social media influencers= PRICELESS.”

Jissuara Taveras

Explore America scholarship winner Jissuara Taveras

Jissaura traveled form New York City to California and stayed at HI San Francisco Downtown and HI Los Angeles Santa Monica hostels for 10 nights. Rainy weather in California didn’t keep her from participating in hostel activities, exploring the area, meeting new people, and making new friends.

“I was surprised at how many solo travelers I encountered in LA, especially the younger travelers from foreign countries. Thanks to hostelling at HI Los Angeles Santa Monica Hostel, I made connections with people from different parts of the U.S. and the world. Thank you HI USA for the incredible, life -changing opportunity!”

Hailey Windsor

Explore America scholarship recipient Hailey Windsor

Hailey traveled by train all the way from San Francisco to Chicago and stayed at HI Chicago for four nights, participating in hostel activities and exploring the city.

“If I gained anything from this experience, it was knowledge that the world is a little smaller than I thought. Childhood dreams, architectural beauties, and friendships exist a flight away, right in my own country. This experience was incredible and would not have been possible without HI USA!”