Get ready for progressive school expeditions, where safety and support come first! GVI offers a range of global school trips that focus on the development of critical skills needed in an ever-changing world. Guided by Impact Directors with PhD qualifications, students work on projects that support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). It’s the perfect combo of adventure, personal growth and making a difference.
Volunteering abroad is an opportunity for high school students to gain an understanding of global challenges, learn from industry experts and work on long-term conservation projects grounded in science. Our school trips abroad typically last 2–3 weeks and offer extensive opportunities for personal growth. With carefully curated itineraries, our programs combine adventure, learning, fun, culture and impact. So, if you’re up for an unforgettable journey, a passport full of memories, and a chance to be a force for good, join us on this epic adventure.
All of our school trip programs include:
There are so many benefits to high school trips abroad. They allow students who are volunteering the opportunity to work collaboratively as part of a team, to better understand the environmental challenges faced by wildlife and their habitats, and to gain practical experience. By experiencing new cultures and meeting like-minded people from around the world, students gain a global perspective and intercultural intelligence – skills that are highly sought after by universities and employers. Students will also develop soft skills such as leadership, planning, organisation and public speaking. This will enhance their opportunities for education and help them to broaden their career prospects.
Young British nationals who successfully complete a GVI teen program can apply for awards such as the Award Scheme and Development Accreditation Network (ASDAN) Universities Award or the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
The ASDAN award is an internationally recognised certificate that can be used to show completed experiential learning and in so doing, improve applications to universities and colleges.
The Duke of Edinburgh Award is available for application by teens looking to earn their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award and boost their career prospects. Teens can use their participation in a GVI program to demonstrate competencies in several of the required focus areas, such as volunteering, skills development, physical fitness, completing a program and having gone on a residential school trip abroad. You can also enhance your personal statement on your UCAS application with the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
For groups looking for more than a high school volunteer program, we’ve also developed a range of service-learning group programs. Service learning is the combination of classroom learning and theory, with hands-on, in-field experiences. This allows students to engage with their academic material while performing activities that help address challenges faced by the local community. It is rounded off with periods of reflective learning, which are shown to increase self-awareness and lead to a better understanding of others.
Not part of a school group, but fancy taking part in a tailor-made program for teenagers? View our under 18 programs here.
Our school trips abroad for high school students are an opportunity to visit countries all around the world, including Thailand, Greece, the Canary Islands and Costa Rica. But it’s not just about exploration. By working alongside professional conservationists on projects that focus on sustainability and long-term impact, students make a valuable contribution to wildlife and marine conservation initiatives.
Thailand is a popular choice for school trips abroad as it is a destination many teens wish to visit during their summer holidays. GVI’s research station and community hub is located in Phang Nga province, in the beachside town of Ban Nam Khem.
This could involve helping to raise baby sea turtles and assisting with the cleaning and maintenance of a turtle nursery, as well as conducting beach cleans to address plastic pollution or helping to improve learning facilities in the local schools.
Volunteering in Phang Nga is a chance for students to take in the beauty of this incredible destination. From pristine beaches for swimming and snorkelling to boat tours of the famous James Bond Island, the adventure never stops. And let’s not forget about experiencing the local culture – from vibrant markets to delicious street food and ancient temples.
Visit Thailand’s northern region on our Elephant Conservation Global Citizens program. Here high school students will have the opportunity to support essential conservation project work in the traditional Karen community of Huay Pakoot, while surrounded by breathtaking mountainous scenery.
In Chiang Mai, high school students have a world of adventures at their fingertips. Take in the local culture by visiting stunning temples, sampling delicious street food, and soaking up the lively atmosphere. Hike through lush mountains, seek out hidden waterfalls and wander through charming streets. Looking for a thrill? Get your adrenaline pumping with activities like zip-lining.
The volcanic archipelago of the Canary Islands is a favourite location for school trips abroad and the waters surrounding it are host to some of the most interesting marine life in the oceans. Students have the chance to collaborate with the Atlantic Whale and Dolphin Foundation (AWdF), who are focused on cetacean conservation. AWdF conducts research, education and volunteer programs that promote sustainable ecotourism and whale watching.
On the Marine Conservation Global Citizens program, students work as a team to assist with collecting data and photographing whales and dolphins, as well as conducting beach cleans and education and awareness presentations on marine conservation.
Free time is all about exploring this incredible island – chilling on sun-drenched beaches, catching some waves and taking in the breathtaking views. Hike through volcanic trails, including the famous Mount Teide, and be rewarded with mind-blowing views. Lastly, don’t forget to soak up the local vibes, try delicious Canarian food, and catch those jaw-dropping sunsets.
High school students interested in a career in rainforest conservation can take part in our volunteer program in Costa Rica’s Kekoldi Indigenous Reserve. The reserve is home to a remarkable array of wildlife, including birds of prey, howler monkeys, sloths and around a hundred species of frogs and reptiles.
It is here that high school students can assist in collecting research data on our Conservation Experience program. Their research will involve hiking jungle trails, conducting biodiversity surveys, checking camera traps for wild cat footage, monitoring sea turtle nests and documenting important bird species in the rainforest-covered mountains.
Participants also get to enjoy a range of exciting activities. Hike through stunning rainforests and take part in adventures like zip-lining and river rafting. When it’s time to unwind, head to the nearby beaches where you can swim in turquoise waters. Kekoldi is your gateway to unforgettable experiences and lifelong memories. Let the adventure begin!
We also offer a range of school trips abroad in locations that are focused on community development:
Speak to your enrolment manager for more information on further destinations available.
GVI has over two decades of experience in running tailor-made group programs. And our commitment to excellence has earned us numerous awards in the field of international experiential education. We offer 360-degree support and work to create the best high school volunteer programs possible, in order to provide a unique and memorable learning experience for young students.
Health and safety is our top priority, which is why we insist on background checks for all of our participants and staff, as well as training in emergency first aid and in the implementation of our Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy. We have also established extensive Emergency Action Plans, crisis management plans and situational risk assessments. These cater for all manner of events that might occur on base. Our expertise in managing young volunteers in international destinations has also secured us British Standards 8848 compliance.
We offer 24-hour support in-country, as well as a 24-hour emergency desk, which is also available to parents.
As teachers play such an important role in the success of our school trips abroad, we agree in advance to an expedition leader, teacher and student ratio to give additional peace of mind. This is usually a minimum of one expedition leader assigned to a group of six participants.
We also offer one complimentary spot for a teacher for every twelve high school students attending the program. We also offer pre-departure support with travel logistics and to make sure school groups know what to expect upon arrival and during the program. We conduct a teacher webinar where teachers, parents, guardians and chaperones can ask questions and receive feedback from our support coordinators.
All transport during the project, as well as the final airport drop-off, is provided by GVI expedition leaders. In order to manage airport arrivals for our groups, we set up instant messaging groups that allow communication between students, teachers, parents and expedition leaders. Uniformed GVI expedition leaders meet the group at the airport upon arrival and they are then transported to their accommodation. After this point, all parents receive an email letting them know that their child has arrived safely.
For parents and educators looking for more information, visit our parent page to download our Parent Information Pack.
“We enjoyed and appreciated the generosity and professionalism in GVI staff from the early stage about communication to the farewell. Everything has been well coordinated and clearly communicated. We sure feel part of the family.”
– Dorothe, educator at Odsherreds Efterskole
“It was very educational and fun but also impactful.”
– Jessika, student at Odsherreds Efterskole
“I thoroughly recommend GVI to anyone; whether you are an educator looking to take a group away, or an individual looking for a career break or some volunteering experience, GVI will cater for you.”
– Matthew, educator at Newton International School
“Since I was working in a large group of sixteen people I also learned leadership, patience, and how to contribute positively to the team, abilities that will all be useful in future employment. But aside from having a positive impact on my future employability, this program left a positive impact on the world around me.”
– Rhiannon, student at Duke University
“Having spent 10 years planning and leading school adventures for young people I have experienced first-hand the benefits and valuable life skills that group travel brings. I have confidence that by taking your students out of their comfort zone, by challenging them and allowing them to explore, meet people, work as a team and experience a different culture we can enhance their education and understanding. By enabling your students – our next generation – to see and experience the world for themselves we can help them become active global citizens. Our Mission is to increase cultural understanding and awareness of global issues within our alumni and to equip our alumni with the knowledge and ability to further contribute towards key global and local issues.”
– Tim, educator
“I can’t thank this organisation enough for helping me grow and giving me an incredible experience I won’t forget.”
– Abagail, student at Endicott College
“After eight weeks of participating in a wide variety of activities as a service learning volunteer, I have learned the value of stepping outside my comfort zone and exploring areas besides animals and science. I used to think my science classes and animal-related extracurriculars at school were sufficient preparation for my future career. Now, I recognize the power of interdisciplinary studies in discerning the connections between seemingly unrelated topics, such as the use of microplastics and marine life conservation. A multidisciplinary approach like this is critical to problem solving in any profession. As such, the refined critical thinking skills and global awareness I acquired this summer will serve me well in the future. I am grateful to GVI for providing the education, resources, and support I needed to learn and grow over the past eight weeks.”
– Emma, student at Duke University
“The students who participated have been thrilled at the amazing results from their efforts!”
– Susan, educator
“I’ve learned more than I ever imagined I would. I most definitely would recommend GVI because the organisation of projects, accommodation and resources were exceptional.”
– Harshel, student at Duke University
To read more testimonials from educators and students, visit our groups testimonials page.