Our international travel seminars take learning adults around the world, introducing them to the peoples and situations of Mexico, Central America, Southern Africa and other places. The Center’s one-to three-week travel seminars bring participants face-to-face with people of other cultures, people working for justice and struggling for human dignity.
No matter where in the world CGE takes you, you’ll be challenged and enlightened as you witness another people’s hopes, sorrows and joys. Through firsthand encounters, you’ll have a unique opportunity to examine the root causes of poverty and oppression, explore the dynamics of development, and discover the spirit of hope lived out by people working for social change.
CGE’s travel seminars are powerful learning experiences that will broaden your horizons, challenge your perceptions and expand your worldview. Since 1982, we have coordinated over 1,000 seminars for more than 9,000 participants. Many tell us that their travel with the Center has truly been a life-changing experience.
Most packaged tours focus on traditional attractions— historic buildings, museums, and curio shops. Our travel seminars emphasize life stories of people and communities. Center for Global Education seminars are designed to acquaint you with the realities of another society, connect you with local people, and assist you in learning about the issues they face, so that you begin to see the world through another’s eyes. The style of a travel seminar is intensive—stimulating for the seasoned traveler, yet accessible to those who have never experienced life in another country.
Two aspects make the Center’s seminars unique:
- The commitment to hear the perspectives of those working on the grassroots level for social change — voices that are not often heard on other travel programs or in the mass media.
- CGE’s learning philosophy, which emphasizes group learning and reflection. Through regularly scheduled group sessions, you will be able to share observations, reactions and analysis with the other participants on the seminar.
Who Will I Meet and What Will I Learn?
You’ll appreciate meeting an exciting variety of resource people in a travel seminar. Most travel seminars include the following components:
- Meeting with government officials and members of opposition political parties
- Dialogue with local business leaders
- Visit a school and talk to students and teachers
- Visit with doctors or community health care workers at a local clinic
- Learn about the role of the church in promoting social change and development
- Dialogue with people working at the grassroots and community level
- Meet with people representing different cultural and ethnic groups
- Tour a farm and discuss challenges with peasant farmers
- Visit a rural and/or urban community to discuss emigration patterns to the U.S. (in Latin America)
- Hear from human rights advocates and representatives of international non-governmental organizations
- Meet with the U.S. Embassy
- Tour a nature reserve and/or an area affected by ecological degradation
- Visit key historical and/or archeological sites
- Shop at fair trade or local artisan cooperatives
Some seminars also include Spanish language study, family stays and opportunities for hands-on community engagement.
Who Goes on a Travel Seminar?
Most travel seminars are geared toward independent adult learners or undergraduate students traveling as part of a course. Our brochures can give you a sense of the audience for which each seminar is geared. Most travel seminars require a high level of emotional and physical stamina. We will make every effort to accommodate special needs pertaining to medical conditions and dietary restrictions. Given local realities, however, it is not always possible to accommodate every need. We ask that you communicate specific concerns you might have about this with us before your seminar.
In recent years, we have also designed a number of travel seminars for high school youth. Young adults under the age of 18 are welcome to participate on a travel seminar provided they and their parents and/or legal guardians have completed a travel permission form and two notarized certificate of consent forms and checked with the Center for Global Education in advance. There are some travel seminars whose programming allows for the limited participation of children traveling with parents. Requests for children to accompany adult travel seminar participants are considered on a case-by-case basis. All participants under 18 years of age are required to carry along two notarized letters or consent forms with their passport when traveling outside of the United States.
While some seminars are initiated by the Center for Global Education, many of our travel seminars are sponsored by other organizations — educational institutions, churches, professional groups, human rights or political interest organizations. Many of these trips are open to the public and often welcome people not associated with the sponsoring organization.