Empowering young minds

STEM Curriculum

Our school group programs perfectly complement the STEM curriculum, particularly in the fields of life sciences and biodiversity. Through hands-on research, students contribute to long-term projects grounded in science. From exploring coral reefs to studying elusive rainforest species, students can apply their STEM knowledge through conducting scientific surveys, collecting data and contributing to real-life conservation initiatives.

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

At GVI, we understand the importance of educational experiences that captivate students’ curiosity and ignite their passion for learning. Our school group programs go above and beyond by incorporating STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) into our programs, with a special emphasis on life sciences and biodiversity. Students will engage in hands-on projects that bring scientific concepts to life, allowing them to explore ecosystems, conduct research and identify species first-hand. Through interactive workshops and discussions led by PhD-qualified impact directors and scientific experts, students develop thinking skills and problem-solving abilities, while also developing an appreciation for the incredible diversity of life on our planet. Students not only gain a solid foundation in scientific principles but also cultivate a genuine passion for environmental conservation.

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.

Positive impact and lasting change

At GVI, our goal is to create a global community of like-minded people driven by their passion for positive impact. We work with local partners, like the Royal Thai Navy Sea Turtle Conservation Centre in Thailand and Teno-Rasca Marine Reserve in Spain. Our mission brings lasting change, and our alumni, partners and staff continue to make an impact long after the program ends.

Our global school trips are designed for high school students seeking life-changing adventures in beautiful destinations like Thailand, Greece, Spain and Costa Rica. Working alongside conservation experts and PhD-qualified impact directors, students actively participate in scientific projects that make a long-term impact on our planet. They’ll dive into hands-on work that contributes to wildlife conservation and marine ecosystems, gaining valuable practical knowledge while connecting with nature. GVI’s high school trips offer a perfect mix of adventure, experiential learning, and meaningful engagement, aligning seamlessly with the STEM curriculum.

STEM options for high school students

Phang Nga, Thailand

Thailand is a popular choice for school trips abroad, especially during the summer break, and GVI’s research station is in Ban Nam Khem, a beachside town located in Phang Nga province.

On our conservation program, high schoolers have the opportunity to actively engage in projects that promote environmental awareness and contribute to the United Nations Development Goals. Specifically, our initiatives align with UN SDG 14: Life Below Water and UN SDG 15: Life on Land.

Working on real projects with tangible outcomes, students can learn about endangered sea turtles while supporting a local turtle conservation centre. Students will have the opportunity to gather data for citizen science datasets and organise beach cleanups to combat the issue of plastic pollution. Through these hands-on experiences, students can make a meaningful difference and actively contribute to conservation efforts.

Phang Nga offers students a unique opportunity to take in the beauty of this destination and experience the local culture. From exploring vibrant markets and savouring delicious street food to discovering ancient temples, travelling to Phang Nga provides an unforgettable experience.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

In Thailand’s northern region, students participating in our elephant conservation program can support essential conservation project work in the traditional Karen community of Huay Pakoot. Led by experienced Impact Directors, students will actively contribute to vital conservation projects while promoting ethical elephant tourism and gaining a deeper understanding of local conservation challenges. It’s a remarkable opportunity to combine breathtaking scenery with hands-on involvement in measurable conservation efforts.

High school students can experience Chiang Mai’s vibrant culture, from temple visits and street food to exhilarating hikes in lush mountains and zip-lining adventures.

The Canary Islands, Spain

The Canary Islands, a volcanic archipelago, is a prime destination for school trips abroad, boasting mesmerising marine life in its surrounding waters. In Tenerife, we collaborate with numerous partners, including the Teno-Rasca Marine Reserve, a protected area committed to safeguarding vulnerable species and habitats. Through the RedPROMAR and eOceans platforms, we document and gather sightings of marine megafauna. We also use the Clean Swell app to record beach cleanup data, playing a part in global endeavours 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. They will also get involved in organising beach cleans and delivering educational presentations to raise awareness about marine conservation.

Between project work, students have the opportunity to explore this incredible island, whether it’s catching waves while surfing or hiking through volcanic trails, including the renowned Mount Teide.

Kefalonia, Greece

Experience the beauty of Kefalonia, an island located in the Ionian Sea, known for its awe-inspiring beaches and captivating towns. From here our coastal conservation program is dedicated to safeguarding and preserving the remarkable loggerhead turtles that inhabit the surrounding waters. Students will have the unique opportunity to work alongside these magnificent creatures, actively contributing to long-term conservation efforts.

Under the guidance of conservation experts, students will take part in morning and evening surveys, meticulously recording nesting patterns to safeguard turtle nests against threats like predators and potential damage from seawater. This hands-on conservation opportunity will not only enhance students’ comprehension of marine ecosystems but also cultivate a sense of environmental responsibility.

We understand your need for free time to explore the island, so we’ve built that into the schedule. Optional excursions are also available for those seeking more adventure. We’ll customise the program to make it an experience tailored to your school’s requirements.

Gandoca, Costa Rica

For high school students who are passionate about wildlife and environmental conservation, our conservation experience in Gandoca is an ideal choice. Nestled in the southernmost Caribbean coastal town of Costa Rica, and surrounded by the Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge, this destination offers an educational experience like no other.

In Gandoca, students can encounter a rich variety of wildlife, including howler monkeys, sloths and tropical birds. They’ll witness sea turtle nesting and gain insights into the significance of mangrove forests. This region acts as a huge outdoor classroom, allowing students to deepen their understanding of conservation, ecology and the critical role we play in safeguarding our planet’s ecosystems.

High school students contribute to sustainable projects with lasting impact by collecting data. They’ll conduct research for mangrove reforestation, monitor sea turtle nests, and conduct beach cleans to protect turtles and their habitats. 

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

We also offer school trips abroad with community-focused programs in the following countries:

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

Sustainable impact

With GVI, students have the chance to participate in life-changing experiences that have a lasting, meaningful impact. Our dedication to sustainable outcomes is evident through our permanent hubs and dedicated staff at all our locations, ensuring continuous project engagement in collaboration with our partners. Through our emphasis on sustainability and nurturing enduring relationships, GVI is committed to creating a positive and long-lasting influence.

A forward-thinking approach

We go beyond traditional textbook learning and prioritise the development of skills that are needed in our rapidly evolving world. Our programs have a strong emphasis on personal growth, empowering students to become future leaders who are equipped to navigate the mental, emotional and social challenges of the world. Led by impact directors holding qualifications, and with masterclasses delivered by experienced conservationists, our programs are designed to align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. We ensure that our projects make a tangible and measurable impact, supported by scientific research and trusted sources such as Google Scholar.

More than just good intentions

Ethics are at the core of everything we do. We are dedicated to always doing the right thing. Our impact directors ensure that our projects are executed with integrity and a deep respect for local communities. We prioritise partnerships with local community organisations because they possess invaluable expertise and a profound understanding of their own needs. Collaboration is fundamental to us, as we strive to create a lasting impact that truly makes a difference. We provide comprehensive pre-departure support, offering guidance from qualified professionals and program experts. With over 20 years of experience working with youth, we recognise the significance of maintaining open and transparent communication throughout the entire journey.

Safety is our top priority

We place utmost importance on health and safety, which is why we have stringent measures in place. This includes conducting background checks for all participants and staff, as well as providing comprehensive training in emergency first aid and the implementation of our Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy. To further ensure safety, we have developed thorough Emergency Action Plans, crisis management protocols, and situational risk assessments that encompass various potential scenarios on our bases. Additionally, our expertise in managing young participants in international destinations has led us to achieve compliance with the rigorous British Standards 8848

We offer 24-hour support in-country, as well as a 24-hour emergency desk, which is also available to parents. 

Supporting teachers each step of the way

Recognising the pivotal role teachers play in the success of our school trips abroad, we prioritise their involvement by ensuring an agreed-upon expedition leader, teacher, and student ratio. This provides an extra layer of reassurance and peace of mind. Typically, we maintain a minimum ratio of one experienced expedition leader assigned to a group of twelve participants, guaranteeing optimal support and supervision throughout the journey.

We also offer three complimentary spots for a teacher for every twelve high school students attending the program. We understand that smooth travel logistics and proper preparation are key for school groups. That’s why we provide valuable assistance in coordinating travel logistics and offering comprehensive information about the program well in advance. We organise engaging teacher webinars where you, along with parents, guardians and chaperones, can freely ask questions and receive helpful feedback from our support coordinators. We’re committed to ensuring a seamless and well-informed experience for everyone involved.

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.

We’ve got your transportation covered

Throughout the project, our expedition leaders will take care of all transportation needs, including the final drop-off at the airport. To ensure smooth airport arrivals for our groups, we set up instant messaging groups that facilitate communication between students, teachers, parents and expedition leaders. Uniformed GVI leaders will be waiting for the group at the airport upon arrival, and they will arrange transportation to the accommodation. Once the students have settled in, we’ll send out an email to all parents, 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 school group 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.