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GoBeyond Student Travel

About

Transforming communities, environments, and students’ lives through meaningful cross-cultural service adventures.

If you’re searching for something more than just a typical summer trip; if you want to travel with real purpose, then GoBeyond. We go beyond ordinary high school travel programs and build cross-cultural service adventures perfectly geared to your interests and curiosities. Whether you’re looking to contribute to authentic service projects, experience exhilarating adventure, or develop your language skills, GoBeyond will immerse you in a new culture where you can make a meaningful difference while on the journey of a lifetime.

Founded
2001

Reviews

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Dara
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I was a GoBeyond student right before my sophomore year of high school, and to this day, it's still one of the most transformative several weeks I've been fortunate to experience. Living aboard a catamaran in the beautiful British Virgin Islands and waking up to the sound of small waves against the boat is hard to beat... And when coupled with actual marine research and genuine humanitarian service projects, the experience becomes so much more than just "fun" (though it was definitely a blast!). Students have the opportunity to travel away from home, live in a unique (and sometimes challenging) environment, meet a group of people that practically becomes family, learn new hard and soft skills, and serve local communities in meaningful ways. Though I was only 15, I remember coming back from the summer and my grandma commenting on changes she had noticed in me -- new compassion and care for others. I'm thankful for GoBeyond staff and fellow students alike, and I couldn't recommend the program more highly!

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Hayley
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This trip was absolutely incredible and will forever hold a place in my heart. I love every single thing about GoBeyond and can't thank this trip enough for helping me become more independent, brave, confident, and environmentally aware! I did the preserving paradise trip twice and could not have had more fun! The trip was educational, exciting, challenging and so worth it!! The staff onboard are sweet, caring, smart and it is really clear they love what they are doing. Every day you do something different and the relationships you form in those 3 weeks are so special and different from any friendship you have back home. GoBeyond truly changed the way I think about the world and even myself and I 100% recommend signing up!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Honestly I was most nervous about using boat bathrooms! However, everyone was nervous at first and we pretty much much all made jokes about it. In the end, bathroom situation was NOT bad at all!
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Olivia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This was an amazing trip, and it was everything I wanted and more! Although I’m definitely an introvert and I’m very awkward, this trip widened my horizons. It helped me understand what I would like to do in the future, and how I can accomplish these goals. This program also helped me become more comfortable in my own skin and it helped me understand other people better. This trip made me understand the hardships other people go through in different societies and cultures, and it fed my passion for learning about new things.

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing I would improve upon with this program is a proper packing list. They said to bring many things we didn’t need, and they didn’t say to bring certain things that we ended up needing.
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Chloe
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had so much fun on this trip. I meat friends that will last a life time. So many memories and inside jokes that were made. The people were wonderful and I couldn’t have asked for a better trip. I learned so much in three weeks about everyone on the trip and more about myself. The little children we worked with were so much fun. They’re smiles and laughs made all of us smile. I’ll never forgot singing Let it Go with everyone on the train ride to the children. These memories and friendships I have made will travel with me everywhere I go. All I say is thank you Go Beyond for making this possible.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Remember that you all choose to come on the trip for your own reasons. But yours there together. You can’t let little things and bumps in the road get in the way of fun and special memories. You can get over any bumps that come in your way by talking and working them out. Enjoy all the times together because three weeks those just fly by. I know they sure did for me. So live every bus ride, train ride, and any place you tour to its fullest. It’s a life changing trip it sure was for me. The people and relationships make all the difference. So don’t hesitate to jump into conversations and just have a great time.
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Carly
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This trip was a life changing experience for me. I was nervous going into it but came out so much better for it. I gained so much independence, through things like my airport experience, and leading my group through train stations and cities/villages. I also gained so many valuable conflict management, team work, and people skills, when my group experienced conflict we were able to work together to solve it, and I learned to interact with a variety of different personality types. My communication skills were also strengthened as I don't speak mandarine, so I had to learn to use other forms of communication to get my message across. The biggest part for me was the life long bonds and meaningful relationships I created with some of the children and nannies at the orphanage. I still follow their progress and development through the companies various sites, as I feel I am forever connected to them. I am beyond grateful for this incredible experience.

What would you improve about this program?
Although my conflict management skills were strengthened in this program I think they could have become even better with some more further support from my group leaders. I also think the hotel style sleeping arrangement maybe wasn't the best possible set up, as it was a source of conflict.

Programs

Displaying 1 - 9 of 14
GoBeyond Student Travel
GoBeyond British Virgin Islands: Preserving Paradise
British Virgin Islands
9.63 •8 reviews

Leave the land and sea even better than you found it, dedicating over...

GoBeyond Student Travel
GoBeyond China: Orphans of China
China
9.6 •5 reviews

While living in Beijing, China’s bustling capital city, lend a helping...

GoBeyond Student Travel
GoBeyond Costa Rica: Pura Vida Experience
Costa Rica
9.6 •5 reviews

From the moment you arrive in San Jose, you’ll become a part of Costa...

GoBeyond Student Travel
GoBeyond BVI: Rebuilding Island Life
British Virgin Islands
9.67 •3 reviews

A small archipelago in the heart of the Caribbean, the British Virgin...

GoBeyond Student Travel
GoBeyond Peru: Sacred Valley Service
Peru
9.67 •3 reviews

Making a lasting impact in just three weeks is no small feat, but on...

GoBeyond Student Travel
GoBeyond Iceland: Inspiring Iceland
Iceland
10 •2 reviews

Traverse this legendary landscape and leave forever inspired by the...

GoBeyond Student Travel
GoBeyond Australia: Reef to Rainforest
Australia
9 •1 review

Discover Australia, one of the most environmentally and socially...

GoBeyond Student Travel
GoBeyond India: Tibetan Village Experience
India
10 •1 review

Spend three weeks living and learning within the Tibetan refugee...

GoBeyond Student Travel
GoBeyond Spain: Real España
Spain

Discover a new version of yourself in the Old World. Castles, cuisine...

Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Joshua Meighan

A normal high school student who likes trying new things, and has been on a few of these trips.

Why did you choose this program?

I had been on ActionQuest and GoBeyond trips before and really enjoyed the different activities, so I just wanted to try another trip which happened to be in Australia. I knew that this trip was more based around an activity, which included diving on the Great Barrier Reef (that main reason I came), but it just sounded interesting.

I also wanted to see around the country as it is so far away from where I live in the US, Australia is a more developed country, but at that distance, I wanted to know what was different.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

Everything started with a flight from LA, where there was a group flight with many other students. I couldn't actually be on this flight, but at that point, the trip takes over. I was with the group and staff members from the airport I landed in, to the airport where I left to go home.

The trip is all planned out (it explains the schedule on the website), so all meals, lodging, and activities are booked and paid for. Honesty, the only things I needed to provide myself were personal snacks.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

The rooms are shared with others going on the trip (same gender and similar ages), but most likely, everyone is friendly and relatable (at least mine were). Staff supervision is constant (for safety reasons).

Generally, you will not have your phones or other technology (to properly engage with others), and depending on how home-life is, this could be a shock. Still, under the circumstances of the trip, it is understandable.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

It is hard to say, we did so many activities which were vastly different, but everything was busy all the time.

Generally, we would eat breakfast together, probably pack a lunch, then head out on whatever the activity was. This routine only changed while in the Whitsundays (when the crew took care of us) and on the dive boat (once again, the crew did the cooking).

Other than those two times, the students were the cooks/cleaning for all meals, and we all participated in the day's activities.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

One of my biggest fears was that the group of other students would be annoying, but no, they were super friendly. Some of us didn't understand each other at first, but we got along in the end. After that, the big problem was having to leave them when the trip ended. I have been on these trips before, so I was used to everything on GoBeyond's end, but you can't predict how nice the other students will be.

What were the best activities?

Personally, I came for diving, so I am a bit biased in saying that diving the Great Barrier Reef was my favorite part. Each day was met with 3 to 4 dives in amazing sites full of bright coral and fantastic fish. We saw many many sea turtles, and also these strange bumped parrotfish, which grow up to 4.9 ft long (they were huge!). I enjoyed everything, though, from touring the Sydney Opera House to sailing the Whitsunday islands to Kuranda, etc.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Griffin Ball

Job Title
Mate
Back in 2013, Griffin was a student with GoBeyond's Preserving Paradise program in the British Virgin Islands. She returned as a mate with GoBeyond in the summer of 2019, leading the same trip she did in high school!

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite memory with GoBeyond was in 2019 when we were turtle tagging in Anegada and the group I was with caught the first hawksbill sea turtle since Hurricane Irma in 2017!

Turtle tagging is one of Preserving Paradise's main projects; it's also probably one of my favorites because it combines both research and adventure.

We work with the Association of Reef Keepers (ARK) and they had not seen or recorded any hawksbill activity in the BVI since Hurricane Irma; for all they knew, they could have all left! So, it was really cool to be with the group that was able to record the first one in two years.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

As a student with GoBeyond, I definitely learned the appreciate the little things in life - living on a boat with 15 other people definitely means giving up a few luxuries.

As a staff member, I think it took that a step further, and it taught me to not only appreciate the little things but also to find the good in all things. Sometimes there are challenges that will happen on board, or while at a community service projects - you can get hot and tired, but you're still doing something special in a beautiful place and that's what is what really matters!

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

There was a large group of returning students during our second session this past summer. What I loved was that they had all been drawn to the program in the BVI in 2018 after the destruction of Hurricane Irma. They returned in 2019 because they wanted to be able to continue the work that they had started. It really warmed my heart because not only were they positively impacting the community, but it obviously impacted them as well.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I think I would want to participate in our Tibetan Village Experience in India. This is probably our least-mobile program: our students spend 2.5 of the 3 weeks in Dharamsala, and spend almost every day during those 2.5 weeks meeting with a Tibetan mutual learning partner and building a relationship with them.

Because so much time is spent in one location, I feel as though the program is able to really immerse itself in the culture and connect with the community on a deeper level, and that is something that I would love to do!

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I think what makes our company unique is that the majority of the staff is made up of past students. There is a strong sense of paying it back, and as former students, we want to make sure that students are having the same, amazing, life-changing experiences that we did.

We know the impact that our programs have because of the impact they had on us!

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I believe that the biggest factor in being a successful company is having a strong group of people who support the company's mission and values. I think that the people are what really makes the company: both the staff in the front office and the staff on the ground during the program are exceptional and do whatever they can to ensure that students are having the best experience possible.