Student Travel FAQ
“Overwhelmed by the problems of a system I have had no power in creating, and seeing few avenues for change that I could align myself with ideologically, the Travel Learning Course came at a pivotal time in my academic career. This was a chance to see and experience social change, a concept often discussed but little understood despite a plethora of theories, and to become fully immersed in these organizations with a group of at least marginally like-minded individuals…. We were enraptured with the movement, with the city, and with the culture we were lucky enough to experience rather than read about.”
-Miranda Ames, Student at Ohio Wesleyan who took a Social Movements Reality Tour to Argentina
1. Why should I participate in a Reality Tour?
Your education does not have to be confined to a classroom, campus, or country. Reality Tours offer a unique opportunity to gain insight into our world through people-to-people experiences. Witness firsthand the real-world social, political, and environmental issues you have learned about in class. Share personal stories, reflect on your worldview, and return home with a greater awareness of the individuals and movements working to change, preserve, and heal their communities. With the experience and knowledge you gain, you will have the support and resources to reflect critically upon your own reality and continue learning, sharing and advocating after the tour is over.
2. Are Reality Tours service learning trips?
Global Exchange Reality Tours offer an opportunity to engage in true experiential learning. Our tours have been categorized as service learning by some groups because of the work participants do once they return home to remain in solidarity with the people and movements they interacted with during their program. We recognize the importance of direct service projects along with nuanced, careful analysis but, as that is not Global Exchange’s focus, our trips do not typically include a service component, though some of our custom trips do include direct service. The intention of our work is not to try to solve issues abroad or leave our footprint, but rather to build international solidarity and understanding. Reality Tours allow you to witness the challenges of communities abroad and the strategies they employ to confront those challenges. Asin direct service learning, reflection and reciprocity are key concepts of experiential education and our trips, and we believe that these concepts, along with empathetic and critical engagement are important first steps to taking meaningful action.
3. Are there any scholarships available?
Limited assistance is available for students from our scholarship fund. Please contact us for further details.
4. Can I receive college credits for participating in a Reality Tour?
In the past, Global Exchange participants have received winter term credits, service learning credits, and other academic credits for participating. Please inquire with your university’s academic advisor to determine the specific requirements.
5. Should I choose an Open or Custom Reality Tour?
An Open Reality Tour is a pre-designed trip listed on our website that is open to anyone. We offer open tours to a variety of countries year-round, each with its own theme around which itineraries are planned. If you can’t find a country or theme of interest in our open tours, or would like to travel only with fellow students from your school (perhaps with your class, club or organization), you might want to create your own Custom Tour. Work with our staff to plan an itinerary in one of over 30 countries with your educational interests in mind.