Students at Nantucket High School are being offered a special opportunity this year: the Global World Challenge trip to Ecuador. NHS math teacher Mark Rice will accompany the group of NHS students.
A unique feature of this expedition is that it is entirely student-led. The student participants plan the itinerary, manage their budget, experience group leadership, and create a journey of challenge and discovery. According to the organization’s website, “students will get the opportunity to experience life in the developing world by engaging in sustainable community projects, tackling trekking in rural areas and immersing themselves in local culture.” Global World Challenge claims that this method allows “students to develop resilience and become educated global citizens… [develop] leadership skills, empathy, [broaden] horizons through new experiences, and [enhance] university applications and employability.”
Global World Challenge is not new to NHS. In recent years, English teacher Paige Martineau and history teacher Steve Laredo chaperoned trips to Ecuador and Tanzania.
The program doesn’t give students complete freedom, but they can choose among many different options and tailor the trip to their own taste. Rice acknowledged the importance of the student-run aspect. “It’s more empowering, and students become leaders - not just in choosing their own activities, but managing their budget, and performing community service in a foreign country,” he said.
The Global World Challenge gives students the opportunity to to try new things and gain confidence through leadership. A particularly unique aspect is the management of money in a third-world country; the challenge is designed so that for some parts of the trip, the budget is especially low, and travelers will have the chance to see just how far they can make their money go. “Technically, I would be able to interfere [if things started to get out of hand],” Rice speculated, “but I doubt I’ll need to.”
Although it was presented at a school assembly, Global World Challenge is not a school trip, nor is it funded by the school - participants pay for their own travel and other expenses. Theoretically, someone in Canada could travel with the group from Nantucket - and if less than 20 people from Nantucket sign up, they will end up being paired with a group from another district. Thus far, seven NHS students plan on participating.
The expedition itself is divided into four different phases: acclimatisation, in which students can choose to immerse themselves in the local culture or take a hike in preparation for the main challenge; the project phase, where students can choose which project interests them (typically this consists of working in a community or a school); the trekking phase, where students can choose the intensity of their hike (which varies from high altitude journeys to treks in the jungle); and rest and relaxation, where students can relax with cultural sight-seeing and Global World Challenge-approved activities.
The trip will take place in July and students will be in Ecuador for two weeks. The group will leave anywhere from July 6th through the 9th, depending on the travel arrangements. Technically, the registration deadline has passed, but any student who wishes to learn more about this unique opportunity can join the Google Classroom using the code 645nu6.