Ready to commit to a new wave of travel?

You don’t strive to be any ol’ traveler. You want to travel with purpose, and recognize that the decisions you make while visiting foreign places not only impact you, but the surrounding communities and our global family at large. You are ready to publicly commit to engaging in a type of travel that you feel good about.

You are ready to become a meaningful traveler.

I want to see the world. I want to see the world for what it truly is – complex, exciting, and worth a second (or third) glance. I want to explore, discover, and engage mindfully with different environments and people. I am here to take the oath of meaningful travelers.

  • Before I travel to a new country, I will make a conscious effort to:

    • Research in-depth about the country’s culture
    • Familiarize myself with their recent history, including their political system, leaders, and economic prowess
    • Memorize how to say common greetings and social niceties (i.e. “Thank you”) in the local language
    • Consider the planet, including an awareness of my carbon footprint (and attempts to lessen it)
    • Peruse the website of a national newspaper or media resource of my destination
    • Get to know my country’s historical ties and relationships with this country
    • Read reviews of programs prior to selection in order to make the most wise choice
  • While in country, I will proactively:

    • Streeeeeeeeeeeeeetch myself out of the comfort zone
    • Look at everything as a learning opportunity
    • Wear clothing appropriate to the local culture despite my comfort levels
    • Use public transport, bike, or walk whenever possible, because <3 earth <3
    • Challenge myself to learn more words and phrases in the local language
    • Seek authentic experiences with real people from the country I’m visiting
    • Support grassroots businesses, versus international conglomerates, whenever possible
    • Befriend those whom don’t share my nationality – locals and foreigners alike
    • Explore small towns and get off the beaten path
    • Be humble
  • When participating in an international program, there are certain program-specific behaviors that will mark me as a meaningful traveler:

    • When I study abroad, I pledge to…
      • Put my smart phone away
      • Utilize my surroundings to add depth to what I’m learning
      • Ask questions and be thoughtful, inquisitive, and curious
      • Get involved with study sessions with local students
      • Be willing to change study/work styles
      • Tie all content into the bigger picture of the culture/country
      • Not jetset to a new country every weekend in order to enjoy my study abroad destination more fully
    • When I volunteer abroad, I pledge to…
      • Keep the organization and local community’s needs at the forefront
      • Dedicate my time, strengths, and work to the task at hand
      • Proactively identify new areas that could benefit from my skills
      • Be energetic and stay optimistic
      • Demonstrate flexibility; focus on my strengths, but try new things
      • Take initiative
      • Be a team player (cooperate, listen, collaborate)
      • Stay true to my commitment (and not run away early when the going gets tough... people are depending on me!)
    • When I teach abroad, I pledge to…
      • Make lesson plans in advance, and make them culturally relevant
      • Spend my free time talking with my students and getting to know my colleagues
      • Offer outside-of-the-classroom help
      • Focus just as much on LISTENING to students as on educating/speaking to them
      • Be punctual, professional, and never settle for “good enough”
      • Think of creative ways to get students involved
      • Encourage participation and recognize individual accomplishments from students
      • Never assume I know everything (AKA learn every day!)
    • When I intern abroad, I pledge to…
      • Be enthusiastic and eager to learn
      • Complete my tasks fully and without complaint
      • Learn from every project (how can you do EVEN BETTER next time?)
      • Get to know my colleagues
      • Be timely, professional, and courteous
      • Communicate everything clearly (including my doubts!)
      • Accept that messing up and taking time to adjust is part of the process
      • Take initiative, think critically, contribute ideas/new styles of doing things, but also accept nuances and go with the flow
  • AFTER my travels, I will enthusiastically:

    • Continue to invest in relationships made with friends and contacts abroad
    • Stay curious about different cultures of the world
    • Seize opportunities, whether formal or informal, to educate others about the realities of others’ lives abroad
    • Avoid diminishing my experience to a couple lines or generic stereotypes about others
    • Inspire others to go have the same experience
    • Be honest about my experiences, both good and bad
    • Try to incorporate what I learned abroad (culture, etc.) into life back home
    • Approach tasks/events with a global perspective
    • Find new ways to channel my passions for travel, including involvement in local, national, or international efforts that support responsible travel

No matter what type of travel I pursue, I vow to always consider the impacts of my behaviors and decisions on others. I will travel with integrity, fully aware of my responsibility to be a positive representation of my country in my every action, interaction, and reaction.

Never will I forget the privilege it is to enter another country. I will respect the cultures, travel full of humility and kindness, and be curious and bold. My comfort zone won’t know what hit it, and I’ll be better for it. I’ll aim to leave a footprint on the world and a thumbprint on someone's heart.

I will see the world. I am a meaningful traveler.