Our 30-Day Study Abroad Adventures
One of my very favorite trips of all time are the 30-Day High School Study Abroad Adventures. Honestly, I really didn’t think they would be. As the Trip Leader of the first 30-Day trip several years ago, I thought I’d be missing home and have a bunch of student Travelers that were feeling the same way after the first few weeks away. But actually, the EXACT OPPOSITE happened. NONE of us wanted to come home!
I began designing overseas High School Study Abroad programs back in the Fall of 2013. I had just returned from my first 12-Day Mission Trip to Italy. Everyone on the trip had an amazing time and longed for more days, including me! We stayed in this small seaside town and visited a local school where they treated us like royalty. Many of my students look back on that very first school visit affectionately as their “Justin Bieber Experience”. The Italian students went absolutely crazy to actually meet some real LIVE students from AMERICA! I told my students that “this is what Justin Bieber feels like when his fans mob him”. POOF! The "Justin Bieber Experience" was born. And now that story goes down in trip infamy as it is experienced first hand by the students that travel on each Study Abroad Adventure year in and year out. The 12-Day Italy Mission Trip is such an amazing trip but we really dreamed of putting together something that would allow us to stay longer.
A few months after our return from that Trip, our Ministry Partner flew to the States for a conference down here in Florida. We were able squeeze in a visit and even schedule a spontaneous BBQ with some of our Travelers that lived within a few hours of my home in Tampa, just so they could connect while he was in town. We got to talking. If THIS 12-day mission trip was so amazing, IMAGINE if we could design a program where we could actually stay LONGER and live and work abroad! How awesome that would be? Within hours, we had the rough plans down on paper and we were off and running. The response was amazing! FOUR years and several hundred students later, we’re STILL offering these 30-Day High School Study Abroad Adventures and we’ve even added more countries like The Bahamas and Spain!
Very few companies offer month long High School Study Abroad programs for students. If they do, they’re either priced so high you can’t afford them, OR they aren’t all-inclusive. Many times to bring the cost down, companies will leave off several meals and higher priced items on-trip, forcing the Traveler to bring a boatload of cash with them when they travel. Many also involve home stays, where the students live by themselves in the home of a local family. While this may appeal to some families because of the language immersion aspect, it also opens the door to a host of other issues due to a lack of direct supervision. At Mission: Adventuring, that’s simply NOT our style.
Our Trip packages are ALL-Inclusive, meaning from the time we meet at the airport, you can put your wallet away! Every ticket, every tour, every meal is included. It’s a great introduction to foreign travel, freeing the Traveler up to truly experience the culture instead of managing & worrying about a detailed personal budget of foreign currency.
30-Day High School Study Abroad Adventure students travel as a chaperoned group throughout the ENTIRE trip. While they get to enjoy certain freedoms, our staff is on-site and on-hand at all times, directly supervising our Travelers. We literally travel as a family group from start to finish. The Trip Leaders stay with the group the entire time.
The most common feedback we hear about our trips is that our Travelers absolutely love the on-line pre-trip preparation classes that we offer. These live, online classes cover ALL the basics before we even leave home but they also give every Traveler (and their family) the opportunity to really get to know their Trip Leader personally as well as ask any questions that may be lingering before departure day. With direct access to the Trip Leader, it alleviates so many anxieties. I believe wholeheartedly that by offering these classes, it actually frees up the Travelers to just relax and enjoy the experience when they know the routine of how things will work BEFORE they even go.
I’ve seen so many lives changed on these Study Abroad trips. Students that have re-dedicated their lives to Christ, baptisms, spiritual growth, tolerance of others, mental growth, cultural sensitivities awakened, their world definitely expanded! What a true privilege it is to see students transform before your eyes and take ownership for the lives that await them. Take a look at the picture above again. Remember that these students didn't even know each other before traveling. They all met at the airport the night before our departure. They truly become like family.
In the coming months, I hope to share with you some of the stories behind these students and how their lives have been affected on a Study Abroad Adventure.
Rarely in our lives do we have the opportunity to stop and experience life in a completely different way than we’re used to. And as we get older, those opportunities become almost obsolete as the demands of college and life press in tightly upon us. We hope you’ll prayerfully consider having your high school student join us on one of these life-changing trips. They truly are an experience of a lifetime.
Here are the next Study Abroad Adventures we have coming up...
Dates: April 21st, 2017 - May 20th, 2017
Registration Now Open! But HURRY!
Registrations Closes This Friday, March 17th, 2017!
Dates: August 14th, 2017 - September 21st, 2017
Registration Now Open!
THE BAHAMAS: 30-Day High School Study Abroad Adventure (February 2018) - Details Coming Soon!