Program Components

Hands-On Ways to Deepen Your Immersion


What is a homestay like? Watch this video to hear from our alumni, homestay families, instructors, and program directors. You’ll get a glimpse of the homestay vetting process and training, as well as common student anxieties and unexpected highlights.

Program Component Descriptions

Our 9 Program Components are the building blocks of every trip we offer. Each program blends a diverse range of activities and themes that help you immerse yourself and meaningfully connect with your surroundings. The program components are a great way to find a trip that best fits your individual interests. No prior experience is needed.

Rugged Travel

We respect cultural norms by staying in family-owned accommodations, practicing low impact travel, and piling into tuk-tuks, train cars, and camionetas—side-by-side with the local community. Slow and locally inspired travel gives students room to really sink in and experience where they are, engaging in daily life as travelers, not tourists. Rugged Travel Video


Tajik yurts, Bedouin tents, or Taiwanese apartments, every homestay is a uniquely immersive experience. Homestays welcome students into their homes as part of the family allowing for fast and lasting connections. Though students are often nervous for this part of the experience, we’re told this is the highlight of our programs. Homestays Video

Language Studies

All programs include varied levels of language learning. Students do not need to arrive with any level of language experience—there’s no expectation to know Hindi, Spanish, or Mandarin. The fun is in trying out your new vocabulary to navigate a new cultural context and build relationships with local communities. Language Study Video


From mellow day hikes to epic mountain ascents, trekking and wilderness exploration varies on each program. Hiking between remote villages, traversing alongside the Mekong River, or trekking through different ecological zones gives students the opportunity to explore nature and learn about pressing environmental issues firsthand. Trekking Video

Learning Service

Our learning-centered approach to service helps ensure that community engagement is truly positive for all those involved. We listen, assess, act, and then evaluate: a framework that can be applied to successful learning service ventures in the future. We believe in having the humility to listen and learn first, and to act second. Learning Service Video

Social & Environmental Justice

What variables contribute to quality of life? How does privilege shape our sense of global responsibility? What is our social and environmental impact on the world? These questions are central to conversations about equity and justice. Instructors introduce students to local activists and community members dedicated to these issues. Social & Env. Justice Video

Independent Study Projects (ISP)

Get paired with a local mentor and dive into a question, craft, or cultural tradition of interest. The ISP is a great way to individually pursue your passions on your program. Past projects have focused on traditional weaving, Ayurvedic medicine, martial arts, and spearfishing to name a few, all enriched by a one-on-one apprenticeship. ISP Video

Religious & Spiritual Traditions

Spiritual beliefs can give meaning to daily reality. Instructors help students explore local belief systems while living with their homstay families, visiting religious monuments, and observing local rituals. Our programs give firsthand introductions to practices such as Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, or other religious contexts. Religious & Spiritual Traditions Video

Focus of Inquiry (FOI)

Each of our programs are thoughtfully and intentionally built around a set of regional themes exploring pertinent topics such as the impacts of climate change, cultural survival, or the dynamics of grassroots activism. We dive into the focus of inquiry experientially by hosting guest speakers, visiting local events, and engaging in lively group discussions.

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