What is the hardest part of your job? Managing your inbox, or maybe protecting your calendar from meeting creep?
For the Go Overseas team, it definitely has to be talking to people running amazing programs all over the world and not being able to hop on a plane and go!
Mornings are spent chatting with volunteer and gap year programs in Australia, while afternoons are seasoned with internship and teach programs all across Asia. Our office meeting room never lives up to the backdrop of beaches, rainforests, and skyscrapers ever-present on video calls with Go Overseas partners.
As a team of travelers ourselves, the biggest work perk you can have is getting the chance to continue exploring the world, while helping others to do so too! That's why each year Go Overseas pays for everyone on the team to take a vacation --- but this year we're doing it a little differently.
What is "Paid-Paid Vacation" & Why Do We Do It?
Internally referred to as 'paid-paid vacation,' our annual trip to visit a Go Overseas partner was originally created to help further our mission: to empower more people to spend meaningful time overseas.
Collectively our team has taught, interned, studied and volunteered abroad, we even have a returned Peace Corps Volunteer in our ranks. Our travels are what has brought us together at Go Overseas and help us to care intensely about all the work we do every day. But as anyone who has stepped onto a plane and out of their comfort zone knows, once you have the travel bug it's hard to shake.
In order to stay inspired, and keep creating the best content for our community, it's only appropriate that each individual member of our team go on a meaningful travel adventure every year. Our founders, Mitch, Andrew, and Tucker believe this is core to our mission: if we go overseas ourselves, we can truly lay claim to our assertion that we are experts in this industry.
Additionally, having Go Overseas team members take trips with our partners not only brings increased visibility to the amazing trips our partners offer, but also allows us to report back on what to expect, how to pack, and everything else you need to know to take one of these trips too.
How Do We Choose Where to Go?
With tens of thousands of programs on our site, how can we possibly decide on only one to visit? It's not easy. With nearly a decade of experience working with providers in our space, we've developed relationships with hundreds of exceptional programs.
In the past, our team has visited well-established volunteer abroad providers such as IVHQ and Greenheart Travel. We sought to understand and experience first-hand why these providers are among the most popular in the world.
This year, we decided to focus on programs that range from volunteer abroad to language schools, and those who are working with us to make it easier to find and book your perfect program. Each one has been thoroughly vetted to ensure the best possible experience for travelers, and each has strong relationships within their individual communities that make their program truly special.
Our Paid-Paid Partners & Destinations for 2018
As part of the process this year, every member of the Go Overseas team is going to travel with one of these hand-picked partners. We'll travel with them, be blogging, take pictures and videos, and be available to answer any questions you have, too. So without further ado, here is where the Go Overseas team is headed in 2018.
Fuze Ecoteer Outdoor Adventures
Founded by a marine biologist and run by PhDs, Fuze Ecoteer uses revenue generated from voluntourism to establish self-sustaining conservation and community projects. Based in Malaysia, projects are done in collaboration with the local community and range from rainforest to sea turtle conservation.
Who's going? Partner Success Manager, RPCV, and our favorite lacrosse coach, Joanna!
A Peace Corp staffer with a mission, INLEXCA was established 13 years ago to help volunteers better understand the reality and challenges faced by countries in Central America. With a focus on sustainability and cultural exchange, programs ranging from wildlife to micro-finance give volunteers the opportunity to bring their skill sets to communities that need it.
Who's going? Business Development Manager, frisbee junkie, and wanna be foodie, Mallory!
Golden sunsets, silver beaches, zip-lining over forests, surfing down a volcano or simply swinging in a hammock while getting TEFL certified? It doesn't get better than that. Except it does since INTESOL Nicaragua also give free English lessons to the community and provides school supplies to ensure local students and teachers everything they need to learn/teach effectively.
Who's going? Hold tight, we're having a rock, paper, scissors tournament soon to see who the lucky team member will be.
Duolingo can only get you so far in your language studies. What better way to learn Spanish than over a couple cervezas with Ticos? Or maybe a Saturday morning soccer match? Tico Lingo is much more than a Spanish school. It's a chance to learn the local cuisine, salsa dance, practice yoga, and become totally ingrained in the community of Heredia, Costa Rica.
Who's going? Partner Success Associate, second favorite dog mom, and not-so-amateur photographer Jenny!
Truly a grassroots organization, Volunteers Peru is founded and run by local wonder woman, Marita. Her small, passionate team works to support a home for abandoned girls in Arequipa as well as a primary and secondary school in Cotahuasi. Stay for a month, or a year and develop your Spanish skills while volunteering in a city known for having 300 days of sunshine a year.
Who's going? Associate Account Manager, all star soccer player, and self-professed style boss Michaela!
Before Instagram, wifi, and even cell phones, there was Jakera, facilitating cultural exchanges in the Caribbean and South America since the 1990s. Spend your mornings at surf lessons, evenings in Spanish class (at your tree house) and weekends understanding how the local communities adapt to their political, economic and natural environments. You'll learn more than just Spanish studying with Jakera.
Who's going? Account Manager, hardcore half dome hiker, and gosh darn best Midwesterner we know Anna!
All Out Africa
In 2003 All Out Africa began with a dream, and a 1985 land-cruiser used to ferry volunteers between community and conservation projects. Since then, it has expanded to half a dozen countries around Africa with the motto of "working together for people & wildlife". All Out Africa projects give directly back to the communities either directly through volunteer presence or fundraising and donation efforts.
Disheartened by India’s progress in rural areas and inspired by his years of working in the slums of Mumba, Varun founded iSPiiCE to help assist the villages where he grew up in North India. For 10 years iSPiiCE has run volunteer programs focused on education, care and empowerment (supplemented by morning yoga and lots of chai).
Who's going? UX/UI designer, forever-star-baker, avocado fiend, and 5k destroyer Lauren!
Caribbean Reef Buddy
You could learn to scuba dive at your local swimming pool, or you could earn your PADI while working with a team of biologists on coral reef conservation projects in the Caribbean. Ongoing projects at Caribbean Reef Buddy include coral reef monitoring, lionfish containment, and coral regeneration, as well as working in the community to raise awareness of the importance of conservation.
Who's going? Our fearless CEO, meat connoisseur, and master of metaphors Mitch!
How You Can Join Our Meaningful Travels this Year
Already planning your next adventure in your head? Us too. You know what would make this even better? Planning our next adventures together!
Feel free to reach out to any of the Go Overseas team if you are interested in attending a program they are going on. (Click our names above to email us directly!) You can tag-team creating a packing list, finding the best flight prices and, most importantly, planning out all the must-eat-at local delicacies.
In addition to having a guaranteed baller travel partner (ok, so we're a little biased) we'll also send you Go Overseas swag, make sure you are getting the best price on your trip, and be able to help answer any question you have! We can't wait to explore with you.
Questions about our Paid-Paid Policy and the destinations we're visiting? Join us in the Go Overseas Community Facebook group -- you can ask team members any questions you have!