Frequently Asked Questions

General

What Is Worldschooling?


In the most general terms, it means to use the world around you as a classroom. You can worldschool right in your own neighbourhood but most often it involves short or long term travel. Worldschooling can be added to a traditional curriculum or in some families, a travel lifestyle takes the place of formal instruction altogether.




What Are The Benefits Of Experiential Learning?


When all of a student's senses are actively engaged and they are applying learning principles to real life situations (ie: using critical thinking to make decisons and solve problems) understanding and retention rates are signifcantly higher than those of students who are simply reading text or listening to lectures. This form of education not only offers accelerated learning but more importantly, it inspires a passion for learning new things that is rarely seen in traditional school settings, whether at home or in an institution. Worldschooling also allows participants to learn things that can't be taught in a classroom. For example, leadership, compassion, strong personal connections, philanthropy etc. are things that result from meaningful experiences. This mind expanding activity impacts the way students view the world and others.




How Is GWS Different From Other Travel-Ed/Gap Year Programs?


GoWorldschool is inclusive of every student from every background who wants to particpate in our programs. There is no "good fit" to try and mold yourself into, no age or academic acheivement restrictions. We have designed trips for everyone. Safe, busy intros to travel/worldschooling for younger participants and longer, more challenging experiences for gap year and adult adventurers with a healthy mix in between for families and more diverse groups. We welcome students with learning disabilities and those who just don't love school. In the spirit of true unschooling/worldschooling, we remain strongly focused on engagement & enjoyment of the experience and let the learning occur naturally. Most of our adventures are very laid back and purposely designed with flexibility in mind to give participants more control over their experience.




Do You Offer Financing, Incentives, Discounts or Promotions?


We are very passionate about sharing the worldschooling experience with all students. Because of our passion, we often run social media contests and giveaways to allow students from all backgrounds to participate in these life changing trips. We want to give back not just in the communities that we visit but to youth everywhere. In addition to our own contributions, we sometimes partner with other businesses who sponsor spots on our trips or airfare to our host countries. You can follow GoWorldschool on social media or sign up for email updates where we will announce those opportunities. There are also tons of resources out there to help students finance their own trips, including our own handy resource.




Do You Have An Affiliate or Referral Program?


You can earn discounts on our worldschool programs for yourself or your kids by referring friends. If cash is more your thing, we can arrange that as well. Perfect for bloggers! <here></here> *Affiliate page coming soon. If you'd like to get started spreading the word now, just email rep@goworldschool.com for details.




How Can I Sponsor A Student?


We love that you share our degree of passion for progressive education. Please check out our Sponsorship page for different options and FAQ’s. We’d love to highlight you, your family or business as a GoWorldschool sponsor. *Sponsorship page coming soon. In the meantime, email your interest to sponsor@goworldschool.com




Is GoWorldschool LGBTQ friendly?


One love :)




What Are Your Policies Around Behaviour… Drugs/Alcohol/Smoking?


These concerns have never been an issue for youth on our trips since it's a group setting and we’re engaged in some pretty awesome things. With that said, there is a zero tolerance policy around breaking any laws while on a GWS trip. Smoking is prohibited on or in any GoWorldschool accommodations, activities and vehicles. Adults who are not breaking any laws are free to engage in whatever activites they see fit to engage in. If that's enjoying a cold Belikin or mojito, who are we to judge? We also have participants from time to time who use precription cannabis products. At home, by law, we cannot discriminate (as libertarians we would never do that anyway) but when in Rome... we respect & adhere to all local laws regarding recreational as well as medicinal use of cannabis. In destinations where such use is legal, it is generally administered in a very discreet fashion, usually in the form of an oil, tincture or topical ointment so it has never really been an issue or something that we've had to intentionally "hide" from other participants. With that said, visible intoxication or engagement in adult-oriented activites, whether legal or illegal in our host country in the presence of minors will definitely be cause for a conversation. We're all in this for the life-changing experience. Our best advice, don’t ruin it by getting shit faced, you can do that at home.




Is GWS Affiliated With Any Religion?


Although we welcome and respect explorers from all faiths, GoWorldschool is not affiliated with any specific religion.




What Is The Minimum Age To Participate Solo?


Since we are all individuals with different backgrounds and levels of life experience, there is no set age to participate solo in a GWS trip. Check the recommended age range for each trip but it’s ultimately up to the student, parents & GWS facilitators to decide what they’re comfortable with. Although we spend most of our time as a group, participants are required to be fairly self-sufficient & able to follow house rules etc. We can arrange a telephone or video chat with you and your child to discuss since this is a very individual decision.




How Much Supervision Is There?


We use the same common sense that we would with our own children in terms of venturing out alone etc. We encourage a buddy system even with adult participants. We advise everyone on local safety info/tips etc. upon arrival in our host country and require all students to complete a travel safety review before their trip.
Although there is a reasonable amount of supervision, it’s still very important that parents have an age-appropriate degree of trust in their child.




What Type Of Accomodations Do You Stay In?


In most cases, participants will be housed in a local style home with us and/or our facilitators and trip leaders. As part of some trips we will camp outdoors for a night or two but will always have access to running water, flush toilets, hot showers etc.




Where Is The Meeting Point?


We will be waiting at the designated international airport for you or your child on Day 1 of the trip. In the case of younger students, a domestic meeting point can be arranged if you’d prefer they travel with us to the host country. Please indicate this asap so we can confirm availability of seating on our international flight.




What's Included In The Cost Of A GWS Trip?


GoWorldschool’s edventure prices will include all ground transportation, accommodations, meals and activities. *Airfare to our destination as well as spending money for shopping/souvenirs or optional restaurant meals etc are not included.




Can Special Needs Be Accommodated? (Dietary, Behavioural, Health)


In most cases, yes however please fill out the health portion of the registration form as completely as possible to be sure. We will contact you asap if we have any concerns and in all cases, any deposits will be refunded if it is determined that we cannot accommodate your needs.




Do You Offer Leadership Programs?


All of our student travel programs are packed full of opportunities to develop leadership skills. Due to the self-directed nature of most GWS trips, students are exposed to many real life situations that require critical thinking and decision making. To the greatest degree possible, participants ARE the leaders. Through observation and participation, they are learning outdoor & general travel safety, confidence, accountability, diversity, philanthropy, self-control, critical thinking, risk management, delegation, negotiation, time management, opportunity cost and how to gain the respect of a group. They're learning about what motivates and inspires them and how they can live a happier life. These are all great leadership skills to have both in business and in life. *Students whose leadship skills stand out will be invited to apply as a leader on future GWS trips. To learn more, send an email to adventure@goworldschool.com




Does GWS Have Insurance Against Liability?


Yes, although participants (or legal guardians) are required to sign liability waivers, we are a registered business with full liability insurance.




Do You Incorporate Volunteering In GWS Trips?


On most edventures we do lend a hand and give back to the communities we visit in an ethical, sustainable way. We occasionally offer shorter, "just for fun", themed trips that will not involve any volunteer work. (Eg. Haunted America)




Who will be on my trip?


We try to be present as a family but you may find one of us missing from time to time. Even when she is there, our mom got pretty banged up in a car accident a few years ago so we don't make her do anything. We've got her covered with specially trained, qualified trip leaders to help guide and oversee our daily activities. In terms of your fellow participants, they are students just like you in many ways and hopefully quite different in others. Diversity is important to us so we try to incorporate a good mix of students on each adventure. We can definitely arrange a pre-meeting for everyone via video chat. *See question on leader qualifications and screening for more info.





Educators

What Academic Subjects Are Learned On GoWorldschool Trips?


Worldschooling involves real life and real life doesn't present itself in neat categories so defining individual subject material can be a bit difficult. With that in mind, if we look closely at a typical day in the life of a worldschooler we'd see a blurry mess of "subjects" being learned that not only include all the required core subjects that make up our traditional school curriculum but we'd see so much more. On an average GoWorldschool trip students of all ages would be exposed to numerous topics such as economics, international relations, cultural & social anthropology, mathematics, numismatics, ichthyology and other forms of marine biology, zoology, speleology, sociology, geography, topography, cartography, linguistics, ethnomusicology and the list goes on... *Most importantly is that the subjects are transformed from mere abstract thoughts and ideas into meaningful understanding and application through these living lessons.




As A Teacher, How Can I Best Support My Student Before/After A GoWorldschool Trip?


We're so glad that you're curious about worldschooling and how you can support your student through the life-changing experience they're about to embark on. Our best advice would be to use the K.I.S.S. method. Condense any pertinent material that will be missed into a simple review and offer it well in advance of the trip. Leave out anything that isn't absolutely necesary to their progression so the student can focus on the learning at hand during their trip rather than stress over falling behind on class work. What some teachers have done in the past for our adventurers is give credit for an oral, written or video presentation on their travel experience in lieu of a missed classroom module. Keep an open mind, stay flexible and work with students and families to come up with a plan that works for everyone. Our shared goal is student success and teacher support can make all the difference!





Parents

What About Safety? Who Are Your Trip Leaders & What Kind of Background Checks/Certifications Do They Have?


Eek! The World Is A Scary Place For Kids! Actually it’s not really. Despite what the 5:00 news may want you to think, it’s the safest time to be alive on planet earth.
All of our administrators, facilitators and trip leaders are required to have police clearances including a “vulnerable sector” background check. At least one trip leader on any given adventure will also be a certified Wilderness First Responder, just in case of emergency. All certifications and background checks are updated as required for the safety of our explorers. As well, participants will be housed, paired up and supervised according to GWS best practices to minimize risk while allowing maximum freedom to explore and make democratic decisions regarding activities, free time etc. In addition, our leaders and facilitators are trained and certified in travel safety and hostile situations. Not that we ever anticipate needing to apply the latter!




What If My Child Gets Sick During A Trip?


Although we take precautions to avoid unnecessary illness while abroad, unfortunately it can still happen to even the most diligent traveler. If your child becomes ill during a GoWorldschool adventure, we will make every accommodation to help them with a speedy recovery so they can get back to the fun! This includes administering OTC meds (with your prior consent), visiting a local clinic or doc if necessary, filling/administering any prescribed medication (also with your prior consent) and in the worst case scenario, we will attend the nearest emergency room promptly for treatment. In the case that your child needs to return home mid-trip, we will assist in transport to the nearest international airport and see them safely to their flight. (Hasn't happened to date.)




Wil We Be Able To Stay In Touch With Our Child?


In most destinations cellular & wifi service is good, participants will not be restricted on mobile phone use. You can also contact our staff on location via our Canadian line or Skype/FaceTime at any time. *(If we’re in the jungle at the time of your call, you may not reach us but we will get back to you as soon as we return to our base.) *Don't forget to add a long distance plan before the date of travel. Most providers already include US, Canada & Mexico as local calling and offer fairly inexpensive add-ons for other countries.




What Kind Of Emotional Support Is There For Homesickness?


GoWorldschool is a family organization, your children will be treated like family with us. We understand the stress of being away from home for the first time and if this is your child’s first solo adventure, we will offer as much emotional support as is needed. Explorers are free to call home as often as they like, we do not restrict cell phones or other personal communication devices. If a participant shows signs of excessive stress and anxiety (i.e.: asking to go home, trouble sleeping that lasts more than the first few days etc.) we will discuss with parents the best course of action. *Parents are free to fly in at any point during an edventure. We’ll do our best to assist with nearby accommodations. Trips are non-refundable at that point so we try to encourage the participant and offer as much support as we can. So far we haven’t had anyone leave a trip early but as a last resort we will be happy to see your young explorer safely onto an early flight home.




How Do I Handle My Child's Extended Absence From School?


In most cases, when teachers are fully aware of the program your child will be participating in, they are quite excited and willing to work with you to make the absence as painless as possible. We offer resources to assist with this, just ask! Tips and suggestions for discussing your child’s GWS edventure with their school/teacher: * Be sure to provide them with a copy of your child’s "edventure" outline (emailed upon registration, hard copy available by request) This will explain all of the hands-on learning opportunities students will face as well as a brief summary of “subjects” that will be studied
* Let them know about the absence well in advance to avoid any scheduling conflicts with important school events
* Ask your child’s teacher(s) to excuse him/her from homework during their time away. This is huge for the student as they can then fully immerse themselves in the studies at hand without worrying about their classroom responsibilities
* If homework exemption isn’t a possibility, try to have it reduced or modified to accommodate the incredible educational & life experience the student will be receiving during their absence. (For example, some teachers will accept a written, oral or pp/video presentation of the highlights of the worldschool trip in place of regularly assigned homework)
* Create a plan with teacher(s) to have your child briefed on any important material they’ll miss while away. *Having a classmate take notes for them is fine but if teachers are willing to prepare a summary before the departure date it helps the student avoid the stress and anxiety of needing to “catch up” when they return. We often incorporate this material into our group discussions and have made many real-life connections between our activities, surroundings etc and the things being missed back in the classroom. Makes for some cool aha moments!
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Students

Can I Connect With Other Participants Before Our Trip?


Yes, we'll set up a virtual meeting ahead of time so you can say a quick hello to the others on your trip. There is a private fb group as well where you can ask questions/get advice from us, your trip mates and other GWS alumni.




What If There's An Activity I Don't Want To Try?


No worries! We’re all about freedom here. We will never force an explorer to participate in any activity if they are not comfortable. We do however encourage everyone to face their fears. Past explorers have found courage where they didn’t think they had it because of the incredible peer support in our groups. (We’re all human, even trip leaders have fears!)




How Do I Register For A Trip?


When you’re past the hard part (deciding on an adventure), simply click the book now button and follow the instructions. Although there may be rare instances where certain medical condition or physical limitations might not be best suited for a particular activity, we do not filter our applicants. We believe in mind expanding experiences for young people and that doesn’t always happen when groups are chosen based on like-mindedness. Adventure selection alone gives you plenty of common ground from which to connect with your trip mates. (We arrange at least one virtual ice-breaker meeting before our departure date.) *You can choose to pay in full or hold your place with a deposit.




What Should I Pack?


You’ll receive an email shortly after registration with packing tips specific to your selected adventure so you have plenty of time to purchase things if necessary.




Do I Need Travel Insurance?


Absolutely! We will need to see proof of your travel insurance at least 90 days before departure. We hear great things about Travel Nomads (haven’t used them personally) but in Canada, our best experience has been with Kanetix, where you can customize and compare coverage.




What Is The Cell Phone Policy?


In the spirit of self-direction, we do leave this up to the participant’s discretion. If we have activities planned where electronic devices are prohibited, explorers will be advised in advance and a bodega or other secure place will be provided to lock up valuables. On that note, these items are valuable and participants are solely responsible for their own property during the entire course of a trip. Otherwise, we absolutely encourage our students to capture moments, stay in touch and utilize their tech while staying present. Mastering this balancing act can be a great challenge, even for most adults!





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