We offer students the unparalleled opportunity to immerse themselves in small rural communities, develop deep and mutually fulfilling cross-cultural relationships, and make positive contributions that last for generations.
Our students work side by side with local hosts on projects selected and prioritized by the community. Global Routes student groups have constructed schools, health clinics, and community centers in rural communities around the world. From irrigation projects in the high Peruvian desert to stream clean-ups in the Costa Rican rainforest to Friendship Camps in the mountains of Lesotho, our students roll up their sleeves and find joy in the reward of hard work, camaraderie, and authentic cross-cultural learning.
Global Routes began in 1986 as a non-governmental, non-sectarian organization in collaboration with the Interlocken Center for Experiential Education in Windsor, New Hampshire. Our travel history began when Interlocken created the first travel program for high school students under the name “Crossroads America” in 1967. That program – which sounds crazy and would be impossible to run today, but was very much in keeping with the cultural moment – involved renting a school bus and hitting the road in search of America. Six weeks, no itinerary, no reservations, no limitations. Times have changed, but the same spirit of adventure that inspired the original Crossroads program persists. A passion for stepping outside our comfort zone and connecting with people from different backgrounds remains at our core, and infuses all our programs with a sense of wonder and a genuine desire to learn, understand, and grow.
Our founders spent years as Crossroads leaders, program managers, and directors before taking the bold step to launch a new concept: international travel programs with a focus on community service and cultural immersion designed for high school students from the United States.
Our inaugural program – Kenya 1986 – was the first summer service program of its kind. Over thirty years later, our approach to international travel programs for teenagers is more relevant than ever. Our unique blend of experiential education, community service, and adventure travel combined with an unwavering commitment to and respect for our host communities sets us apart from other organizations in the field.
The future of our global community depends on recognizing that the various peoples of the world are now interconnected.
What we do here at home affects people on the other side of the world, and what happens on the other side of the world affects us here at home. The actions we take today determine the shape of the world we leave for our children and grandchildren.
Genuine intercultural exchange enables Global Routes students to gain the skills needed to become inspiring leaders and valuable members of their local and international communities.
Our goal is to leave our world a better place than we found it. We believe we can achieve this goal one human connection at a time, one service project at a time, and one life-changing experience at a time.