It’s a big decision, going abroad. There’s a lot to consider. We’ve consolidated answers to common questions about our program below. Want to talk to us directly? Contact us, we’d love to hear from you.
Every day on a Peace Works Travel tour offers a unique adventure with local heroes. Witness the sunrise above the ancient, jungle-entwined monuments of Angkor Wat. Take dancing lessons with Hutu and Tutsi musicians of Rwandan unity. Trek mist-woven mountains to hill-tribe villages scarcely touched by technology. Enjoy French fusion gourmet cooking lessons taught by former street children trained in Saigon’s fine culinary arts. Play baseball with Che Guevara’s relatives and understand “Revolucion!” through Cuban history. Construct an organic orchard for the victims of Agent Orange poisoning at the Vietnam Peace Works Travel Village in Hanoi. Each destination and excursion has a lesson, a purpose and unforgettable people with whom we connect and humanize. Our curriculum fosters consciousness of scale, firsthand knowledge of how international foreign policies impact communities, then and now.
It’s democracy at its finest. We vote with our money, and choose products which serve our values. Our tour revenue invests in programs and providers committed to local prosperity. We patronize restaurants serving authentic, restorative meals for good health, farm to table. We overnight in historical landmark hotels, boutique resorts and Homestays with “triple bottom line” business practices: People, Planet and Profits. We’re decreasing barriers to connectivity, teaching students how to walk the talk.
Active travel requires physical energy of our travelers; we stay in places which are both restorative and comfortable. All hotels provide convenient buffet breakfast for group flexibility in the mornings. Same-gender students room together in pairs, sharing a private bath.
Students and teachers utilize facilities of the hotel to foster individual reflection and study time. Access to Internet, light snacks, exercise rooms and life-guarded swimming pools are typical amenities. Most of our itineraries offer a balance of overnights in boutique, four-star hotels and in Homestay accommodations.
Homestay is best described as a rustic Bed & Breakfast with a family. In Homestay, students experience the authenticity of cooking, eating and sleeping in the local cultural style. All Homestays are licensed by the local government and audited annually for quality, integrity and safety. In the Mekong Delta, groups can Homestay on the tropical properties of former Vietcong generals, turned orchid farmers. In Cambodia, groups Homestay at a Jesuit Center dedicated to teaching visitors to empathize with war refugees, landmine victims and the poor. In Laos, students may Homestay at an old monastery, rising at dawn to live like a monk for a day. In Cuba, students Homestay at “Casas Particulares” where matriarchs treat all guests like family. Each Homestay option is unique and offers an unscripted snapshot of ordinary life. For lodging, same-gender students share rooms with personal beds under insect repellent netting. Group restroom facilities are modest and clean. No student is ever alone in a Homestay unsupervised.
All travelers appreciate delicious and authentic meals throughout their Peace Works Travel program. Vegetarian diets are easily accommodated. Kosher menus can be requested for the group in advance. While we aim to offer cuisine options for a variety of food tastes, Peace Works Travel cannot guarantee that all food choices will be without allergens and those with food allergies are encouraged to take any necessary precautions to ensure their safety and comfort.
Our Emergency Action Plan establishes clear decision-making processes to support travelers’ health and well-being in cooperation with all stakeholders. Distinguishing between a “crisis” and an “urgent action” our EAP assigns emergency management roles to U.S. staff and local partners abroad, to resolve unforeseen issues affecting individual travelers or the entire group. Actions requiring the temporary or permanent evacuation of a single traveler from the program, (for example, due to health or behavior), are mapped differently than actions affecting program modification for the whole group (for example, due to weather or transportation.) In each case, staff and host managerial partners are trained annually in risk management scenarios and resolutions. While rare, evacuations of single or groups of travelers are handled with the utmost professionalism to support a positive overall experience upon the resolution of the issue. Peace Works Travel operates in compliance with the school or group institution communications policies and channels as defined pre-departure. We are committed to supporting all stakeholders – schools, teachers, parents and our partners — with integrity, principles of open communication, proactive and efficient care.
One of the primary objectives of our trips is experiential learning—actively interacting with a foreign culture through service work and travel. Use of portable electronics are permitted during appropriate times on the trip, such as bus rides, digital storytelling and quiet reflection time. Students must comply with Program Leader directives regarding their devices: use and storage.
Our tours are all-inclusive programs: supervision, transportation, lodging and meals– but not drinks other than water. There will be opportunities to shop for souvenirs and support socially-conscious artists. We suggest $80 to $200.00 USD per week for elective personal expenses.
The Internet is the most convenient way to stay in touch and will be available at most of our destinations, except Cuba. During our daily reflection time, students utilize Wifi to upload pictures, blog and email back home. In case of emergency, each chaperone carries an international cell phone and can be contacted at any time. Program Leaders will communicate safe arrival to new cities post-transit. We request that parents limit contact with their children to urgent matters, as expectations of constant connectivity unnecessarily increases anxiety for all parties.
Absolutely. Please contact us and we’ll connect with you the families of our alumni travelers. Learning first hand from previous travelers about their everyday experience on our program is a great way to address any additional questions and concerns.
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Bill Morse, Director Cambodian Landmine Museum, Siem Reap
Briggs Boss, Sophomore, Thacher School
Stacy Serrette, Teacher and Dean of Student Life, Emma Willard School
Paul Rusesabagina, Real-life Hotel Rwanda hero who saved over 1200 people during the Rwandan genocide.
Shirley Hahn, Beverly Hills, California
The Santa Barbara Independent
Alex Greer, Junior, Laguna Blanca School
Kelly Bennett, history teacher, Santa Barbara Middle School
Alexandra Kall, Francis Parker School
Spencer Barr, English Teacher, Santa Barbara High School, California
Stacy Serrette, Director of Student Life, Emma Willard School
Eric Taylor, Francis Parker School, San Diego, California