Amplifying impact, embracing the world

CAS Curriculum

Elevate your CAS curriculum with one of GVI’s high school group programs — an adventure that ignites global engagement and fuels social impact. Joining one of our global programs is an opportunity to cultivate compassion, resilience and leadership skills while addressing pressing global challenges. With GVI, students can become catalysts for change and advocates for a better world.

Critical science

Critical science

You'll contribute to vital conservation research targeted at protecting the earth's most valuable ecosystems.
Ethical engagement

Ethical engagement

Using the UN's SDGs as a framework, we've made a commitment to positive, constructive and sustainable impact.
Beautiful adventures

Beautiful adventures

You'll spend your days exploring some of the world's most breathtaking, exhilarating and remote wildernesses.

Teachers and parents

GVI’s school group programs seamlessly align with the CAS curriculum, elevating its core values of creativity, activity and service. Students have the opportunity to contribute to meaningful programs around the world, experiencing first-hand the interconnectedness of cultures, environments and social issues. This transformative experience not only deepens their understanding of the world but also nurtures their compassion, resilience and leadership skills. Through GVI’s expertly crafted programs, students have the chance to collaborate with local communities, tackle pressing global challenges, and contribute to sustainable development efforts. These immersive experiences provide a unique platform for students to apply their CAS learning in real-world settings, fostering a sense of responsibility, empathy and cultural competence that will shape their future as global citizens.

Our school trips abroad typically last 1–3 weeks and include:

  • Volunteer work abroad.
  • A bespoke itinerary.
  • 360-degree support, before and after the trip.
  • Travel with a trusted teacher and a highly qualified expedition leader who will accompany each group.
  • An expedition leader to student ratio of 1:12.
  • Adventure and exploration activities such as kayaking, hiking, surfing, abseiling or a zip-line canopy tour.
  • Cultural activities such as cooking classes, learning phrases in the local language or watching traditional dance demonstrations. 
  • An introduction to the concept of international sustainable development and talks by local subject area experts in areas such as wildlife conservation and community development.
  • Accommodation and three meals a day.
  • Transport to and from the airport, and during the rest of the trip.

GVI’s mission in action

Our goal is to create a global community of like-minded people driven by their passion to make a positive impact. To achieve this, we work in collaboration with local partner organisations, such as the Royal Thai Navy Sea Turtle Conservation Centre in Thailand and Teno-Rasca Marine Reserve  in Spain. Our mission is to bring about lasting change, and our alumni, community partners and staff continue to make positive impacts long after the program ends.

Our school trips abroad are designed for high school students seeking global adventures in countries like Thailand, Greece, Spain and Costa Rica. Teaming up with professional conservationists, students work on projects that focus on sustainability and long-term impact. They’ll get up close and personal with wildlife and marine conservation, making a real difference in protecting our planet. These trips are the perfect blend of adventure, learning and service, aligning perfectly with the CAS curriculum’s spirit of creativity, activity and service.

CAS options for high school students

Phang Nga, Thailand

Thailand is a sought-after destination for school trips abroad, particularly during summer holidays. GVI’s research station is situated in Ban Nam Khem, a beachside town within Phang Nga province. 

Here, on our conservation program, high schoolers can participate in conservation and environmental awareness projects that contribute to the United Nations Development Goals, specifically UN SDG 14: Life Below Water, and UN SDG 15: Life on Land.

Working on real projects with measurable impact, this could involve learning about endangered sea turtles and assisting at a local turtle conservation centre. Students could also collect data that contributes to citizen science datasets and conduct beach cleans to address plastic pollution. 

Joining a group program in Phang Nga is a chance for students to take in the beauty of this incredible destination and experience the local culture – from vibrant markets to delicious street food and ancient temples.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

When you travel to Thailand’s northern region, students on our elephant conservation program have the opportunity to support essential conservation project work in the traditional Karen community of Huay Pakoot, while surrounded by breathtaking mountainous scenery. Guided by qualified impact directors, students will focus on promoting ethical elephant tourism while gaining insight into regional conservation issues.

High school students have the opportunity to visit temples, indulge in street food, and experience the vibrant atmosphere of Chiang Mai. They can also go hiking through lush mountains, discover hidden waterfalls, or take part in adventurous activities like zip-lining.

The Canary Islands, Spain

The Canary Islands, a volcanic archipelago, is a top choice for school trips abroad, offering captivating marine life in its surrounding waters. In Tenerife we work with a number of partners, including Teno-Rasca Marine Reserve, a protected area dedicated to preserving vulnerable species and habitats. Through the RedPROMAR and eOceans platforms, we register and collect sightings of marine megafauna. We also use the Clean Swell app to record beach cleanup data, contributing to global efforts to combat ocean pollution.

On GVI’s marine conservation 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. 

When not busy with project work, students have the opportunity to explore this incredible island. From surfing to hiking through volcanic trails, including the famous Mount Teide. 

Kefalonia, Greece

Welcome to Kefalonia, a stunning island nestled in the Ionian Sea, famous for its breathtaking beaches and charming towns. From here our coastal conservation program focuses on protecting and conserving the incredible loggerhead turtles that nest in this area. Students will get to live and work right alongside these amazing creatures, making a real difference.

Students will assist with leading daily surveys, both in the morning and at night, to keep track of nesting activity. Our dedicated team will guide students in conducting daily morning and night surveys to record nesting activity, ensuring the safety and preservation of turtle nests from predation and potential damage caused by seawater. This hands-on conservation experience will not only deepen students’ understanding of marine ecosystems but also develop a sense of responsibility towards the environment.

We know you’ll want some free time to enjoy the island, so we’ve built that into the schedule. Plus, we’ve got optional excursions for those who want to take their adventure to the next level. We’ll tailor the program to fit your school’s wishes and make sure you have an unforgettable experience.

Gandoca, Costa Rica

Our conservation experience in Gandoca is an excellent choice for high school students with an interest in wildlife and environmental conservation. Gandoca is the southernmost Caribbean coastal town of Costa Rica, and is surrounded by the Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge an incredible educational experience for students. Here they can explore lush rainforests, encounter diverse wildlife like howler monkeys, sloths and colourful toucans, witness sea turtle nesting, and learn about the importance of mangrove forests. The area is like a giant outdoor classroom where students can learn all about conservation, ecology, and the importance of protecting our planet’s ecosystems.

With a focus on sustainable projects with long-term impact, high school students can assist with collecting data. This will involve conducting research for a mangrove reforestation project, monitoring sea turtle nests, and conducting beach cleans which helps keep turtle nesting beaches free of pollution and any potential dangers to the turtles and their nests. 

During their time in Costa Rica, students can also enjoy a range of exciting activities like trekking through Cahuita National Park, learning how to make tamales, visiting a local cacao farm, and hiking to nearby beaches and waterfalls. 

Community programs

Our school trips abroad also include programs that focus on community development in the following countries:

Speak to your enrolment manager for more information on further destinations available.

Making a sustainable impact

With GVI, students can be part of transformative experiences that make a lasting difference. Our commitment to sustainable impact is reflected in our permanent hubs and dedicated staff present at all our bases, ensuring year-round project work alongside the partners we work in collaboration with. By focusing on sustainability and fostering long-term relationships, GVI is committed to creating a positive, lasting impact. 

A progressive approach

We’re not just about textbook learning – we help students develop skills that are important in our ever-changing world. Our programs focus on personal growth, turning students into future leaders who are ready to take on the world mentally, emotionally and socially. Our impact directors have PhD qualifications and our masterclasses are taught by experienced conservationists. Aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, our projects make a real impact that can be measured, and we back it up with science and trusted sources like Google Scholar.

More than good intentions

We take ethics seriously, which means we always strive to do the right thing. Our Impact Directors make sure our projects are carried out with integrity and respect for local communities. We team up with local community organisations because they’re the real experts who understand their needs best. We believe in collaboration and making a lasting impact that truly matters. We also provide extensive pre-departure support, offering guidance from qualified professionals and program experts. With over 20 years of experience working with youth, we understand the importance of maintaining open and transparent communication throughout the journey.

Safety comes first

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 participants 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. 

Supporting teachers every step of the way

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 twelve participants.

We also offer three complimentary spots 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.

To support teachers and students preparing for their expedition, we have an online hub which provides essential information, resources, and opportunities for connection and progress tracking, all within a flexible time frame of 8-10 hours over five months.

Peace of mind from arrival to accommodation

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.

Setting the standard for excellence

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 group programs programs possible, in order to provide a unique and memorable learning experience for young students. 

Hear from students and educators

“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

“Working in a large group of 16 people I learned leadership, patience, and how to contribute positively in a 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 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.

See what other parents & participants say

Read reviews and recommendations from all over the world.

Our ultimate guide to group programs

Group programs brochure

Over the last two decades, GVI has established itself as the world-leader in purpose-driven group expeditions. We have three GVI Expedition itinerary types to choose from that have been carefully developed to meet certain goals and learning outcomes. We’re building a global network of people, united by their passion to make a difference. Find out everything you need to know to start your group adventure.