Announcing GoAbroad’s 20 Year Anniversary!

GoAbroad has been a cornerstone of the international education field since 1997. Yes, 1997! Can you believe that?

What does it mean to be 20 years old in the field of international education?

We have seen a lot. We’ve seen organizations come and some go. We’ve seen universities embrace the idea of study abroad and internationalize their campuses. We’ve seen “experiential travel” go from more than a buzzword to an actual life philosophy, with experiences trumping materialism and the need for meaningful travel becoming a new-age rite of passage to adulthood. We’ve seen parents go from skeptics to supporters.

We’ve seen England, Italy, Spain, Australia, and France’s continual fandom from students, but we’ve seen new study destinations, like China, Brazil, India, Costa Rica, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, and Peru become first-choices. We’ve seen new formats of programs gain a stronger foothold, like short-term faculty-led and service-learning programs.

GoAbroad.com website
An early version of GoAbroad.com

We were there for the birth and growth of new ways to travel, like internships and volunteer programs. From this, we’ve been blessed to witness thousands of lives being changed and transformed from the mere power of stepping out of your comfort zone and giving travel a chance.

We’ve seen that, for millennials and generation Z, going abroad once isn’t enough. The flourishing of the teach abroad and jobs abroad markets have shown us just that. We’ve seen the stigma of gap years start to crumble and the possibility of earning an entire degree abroad gain strength.

We’ve attended two decades of NAFSAs, hosted six Innovation Awards ceremonies to highlight the best-of-the-best in international education, traveled thousands of miles between our Asia and U.S. offices, been welcomed by hundreds of universities in the US and abroad, have provided inspiration for tens of millions of aspiring travelers to our sites, and have had more heart-felt conversations with students than we can count. The future is truly in their hands and we’re humbled to be a part of their journeys.

We were once a field of catalogs, coiled-corded phones, and ledger books, but we’ve helped nudge it towards cutting edge digital marketing, increased accessibility for underrepresented travelers, and improved student satisfaction. At one time, we were some organizations’ only online presence (but now are constantly challenged to better our website because theirs are so great). With there being more program choices than ever — and more knowledge about those options than ever — we take the responsibility of helping travelers navigate those decisions seriously.

Troy Peden on Computer Chronicles
Our President, Troy Peden, describing GoAbroad.com on Computer Chronicles in 2002.

It hasn’t been easy. Worthy competitors have sprouted and faded, a major typhoon knocked us off our feet, a redactive political landscape has threatened our collective belief in global citizenry, and bars have run out of Limoncello. But through it all, we’ve built a community of meaningful travelers, are constantly seeking to better ourselves and our field, and will keep fighting the good fight to implore more people to learn about themselves, their communities, and the world-at-large through travel.

We’re proud of where we are, where we were, and what we will become. Thank you for joining us on this crazy path so far!

The Impact We’ve Had on Meaningful Travel

We have helped tens of millions — literally many millions — of individuals find the travel programs and advice they are looking for. Though we started originally as an online directory for meaningful travel programs, we’ve become so much more than that. We are now the defacto resource for finding comprehensive, sincere, and accurate insight into the world of meaningful travel — from studying, to volunteering, to teaching ESL, and more.

We don’t advocate for just any type of travel. We’ve given life to this idea of doing more as you travel. To make your travels meaningful; we’re willing to take a stand for what that means, and aim to be a constant source of inspiration for travel that does more than the seeing of sights.

GoAbroads 2014 Innovation Awards
Part of the GoAbroad Team at our 2014 Innovation Awards Reception.

A Note from Troy Peden, the Founder of GoAbroad.com:

“Twenty years ago we weren’t sure if the internet would last, but we saw a need and took a chance. Council Travel was getting out of the publishing business and some of the best print resources were disappearing. In those two decades since, we sat around a table reserving URLs like VolunteerAbroad.com, TeachAbroad.com, InternAbroad.com and GoAbroad.com, we have seen the world of travel change dramatically.

Travel with a purpose is no longer a fringe adventure. Meaningful travel is a universal aspiration among international educators and experiential travelers. Through it all, one thing has remained consistent at GoAbroad — we are people dedicated to the mission, we have all had life-changing travel experiences, and we understand that one way to change the world for the better is by being a small catalyst connecting travelers to amazing global opportunities.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us and championed meaningful travel throughout the years.”

How are we celebrating the big 2-0?

Stay tuned for exciting announcements. We’ll update this piece accordingly as more initiatives are rolled out. Trust us — it’s goooood!