“I was impressed with the ability of Global Exchange to plug us into a variety of social movements and organizations.  As an educator at a state university, I use the experience every term in a number of my courses. I am still amazed at the depth of the experience and how profoundly it has impacted my life and those who shared in the tour.”

– Paul Prew, Professor at Minnesota State University


What is unique about Global Exchange Reality Tours?

Educating your students 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. Our tour groups stay in locally-owned lodgings, employ local program officers and guides, and always support the local host economies.

How would Reality Tours benefit professors?

By tailoring every tour to a specific educational theme, Global Exchange can bridge the gap between classroom theory and real world experience. As a teacher or professor, you can enrich your lesson plans with real life examples of experiences from your trip.

Can I travel with my colleagues?

Yes, we can accommodate groups of most sizes. The minimum number of participants for a custom tour is generally about 6.

Can I travel with my students?

Travel can be a valuable learning opportunity for students of all ages. Customized Reality Tours can be organized for minors with adult chaperones. In order to ensure a meaningful and safe experience for your group, we strongly recommend at least a 10:1 student to adult ratio. For student/teacher travel, we create programs with educational opportunities each day.

Global Exchange and the teacher or professor will work together to create an itinerary that incorporates your class’s interests. We will take care of all bookings, transportation, entrance fees and daily meals (depending on your preference), and provide your group with a bilingual guide. The teacher or professor is responsible for monitoring the group and confronting any interpersonal or behavioral tensions. They are also welcome to facilitate discussions and provide supplemental readings and classes as they see fit.

Can I design my trip itinerary?

Yes, in addition to offering a range of pre-designed “open tours”, you are free to work with us to design a customized trip that examines the topics and sites of interest to you.

Can I earn Professional Growth credits by participating in a Reality Tour?

While Global Exchange Reality Tours are not accredited, K-12 and Community College teachers can earn graduate level credits towards professional growth credits for travel on a Reality Tour by registering for an independent course. We recommend the Dominican University of California (DU) Continuing Education Program, from which you will be eligible to earn Professional Growth credits by completing all of the trip requirements and documenting your experience. For information on how to enroll for Professional Growth credits, click here.

Can my students earn credit for participating?

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.

Are Reality Tours service-learning trips?

Global Exchange Reality Tours provide an opportunity to engage in true experiential learning. The intention of our work is not to try to solve issues abroad or leave your own 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. We recognize the importance of nuanced, careful analysis when doing direct service projects and, as that is not Global Exchange’s focus, our trips do not typically include direct service projects. Some custom trips, however, can participate in direct service-based service-learning upon request. Global Exchange Reality Tours have been categorized as service learning by some groups because of the work participants do after returning from their trip to remain in solidarity with the people and movements they interacted with during their program. Reflection and reciprocity are key concepts of experiential education, and empathetic but critical discussion and thoughtful engagement are first steps to action.

How can my group pay for our trip?

Due to limited funds, only some financial aid is available each year through Global Exchange. Funding and scholarships might be available from your own school. In the past, teachers have done grassroots fundraising with Kickstarter campaigns, payment plans with their students, fundraising projects in their community, and by applying for grants or funding from foundations or local governments.

What kind of trips have professors and schools attended in the past?

Below are a few examples of past custom trips organized by universities:

  • Learning Journey: Social Movements in Cambodia
  • Afro-latino History and Culture in Panama
  • Indigenous Resilience in Oaxaca
  • Fair Trade and Alternatives to Neoliberalism in Nicaragua
  • Cuba: Changing Course for a Changing Time

Please email or call us directly to discuss other examples of past trips depending on your proposed topic(s) of interest.

(415) 255-7296

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