Whether Global Routes is the best fit for you or not, we’re here to help.
At the heart of the Global Routes experience is cultivating connection in another part of the world. We believe that the exchange of ideas is the key to interconnection and global community. To make this value a mission, we develop programs that foster meaningful cross-cultural relationships through immersion into small, rural communities abroad. Living and working with people throughout the world challenges both you and local community members to step outside of your boundaries and open your hearts and minds to new people and cultures.
Our programs begin with an in-country orientation designed to familiarize you with your host country. Orientation may include safaris, rainforest exploration, visits to ancient ruins, cultural excursions, or multi-day adventure treks. While you focus on learning a new language (if applicable) and exploring new cultural traditions, you form initial bonds with your group and program leaders. Orientation lays the foundation for your summer program, giving you the knowledge and support you need to get the most out of your immersion experience.
Depending on the nature of your upcoming service project, program leaders equip you with the specific knowledge and skills you need to make meaningful and generous contributions to your host community. Your leaders get to know you, identify your strengths, interests, and passions, and build your independence and confidence so you can excel in your homestay and service project.
The cornerstone of your immersion experience is a community service project in a small, rural village. We believe authentic service is the best way to form genuine connections between you and your host community. You eat, sleep, and breathe the daily rhythm of local life and work alongside your hosts on projects they’ve selected. Every project is something your hosts want and need. They decide what projects will or won’t happen, and we only do work they deem beneficial to the community as a whole. Whether you help build a health center in South America or renovate a school classroom in Africa, your service project will transform you and your host community in ways that are both tangible – in the form of actual buildings – and intangible – in the form of personal growth, life lessons, and enriching relationships that have the potential to last for years.
The greatest highlight for many of our students is the family homestay that runs parallel to your service learning project. You come home after a solid day’s work to smiles, curiosity, excitement, and best of all – homemade food. You may prepare dinner with your host mother, teach your host brother a few words of English, or walk to the family farm to pick vegetables for your evening meal. If you’re lucky, you might get to milk a cow, gather eggs from a chicken coop, or learn how to protect crops from the elements. As you spend time with your host family, you learn to love the challenges and joys of rural village life, and something magic happens – you form relationships that occupy a special place in your heart forever.
After you finish your service project and say goodbye to your homestay family, you travel with your full group to go adventuring. You explore places of astounding natural beauty and visit important cultural and historic sites. Depending on which program you choose, you may travel to the headwaters of the Amazon River, snorkel with sea lions off the Galapagos Islands, sail a wooden dhow in Zanzibar, or explore the temples and cobblestone streets of Kathmandu. In these spectacular settings, your trip leaders guide you through the final piece of your immersion experience: you reflect on what you learned, celebrate your contributions and discoveries, and prepare to transfer your new knowledge to your life and community back home.
Our high school programs are designed for students finishing 9th-12th grade. We seek students who are searching for an abroad experience that is more in-depth than a teen tour and students who are eager to participate in a meaningful service project and authentic cross-cultural exchange.
Our high school programs accept a maximum of 18 students per group. All groups are accompanied by at least 2 professional, adult leaders and supported by 2-3 specialized in-country staff.
Global Routes draws students from all over North America and the world seeking adventure, genuine cross-cultural immersion, and personal growth. Our participants are looking for something more authentic than a teen-tour and more culturally engaging than strictly wilderness or adventure programs. Global Routes participants return as more confident, directed, self-aware, and adventurous global citizens.
Our summer programs are built to create meaningful cross-cultural exchange and give students a total cultural immersion experience. Groups travel to a rural host community to participate in a community service-learning project deemed necessary, beneficial, and appropriate by the host community and our in-country staff. Our service projects range from teaching to construction to running stateside-style summer camps for local kids. With some minor variations, all summer programs have three primary components: Orientation, Community Service & Homestay, and Travel & Debrief.
We present all students with a certificate noting the number of completed community service hours. You will complete anywhere between 40 and 100 community service hours, depending on your program. Each school determines whether or not Global Routes service hours meet their requirements. We’re happy to communicate with your school service advisor ahead of time to answer any questions they may have about your service work.