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About National Geographic Student Expeditions

About Our Trips

We invite the next generation of explorers to get out in the field and follow in the footsteps of National Geographic’s photographers, writers, and scientists. You might snorkel with marine biologists in Belize, go on photo shoots in Paris with a National Geographic photographer or help out with a community project in Nepal.

It only takes a little digging to find that there is wonder—big and small—all around the world. Come discover it with us.

Eligibility

Students completing 9th through 12th grades are eligible to participate in National Geographic Student Expeditions.

Innovative Programs

The same spirit of adventure that has driven National Geographic explorers since our earliest days also shapes each of our trips. We tap into our vast network of researchers and explorers across the globe to design our programs, and select seasoned trip leaders who are pursuing careers in science, storytelling, and exploration and are passionate about sharing their love of travel with high school students.

To make these unique trips possible, we have partnered with Putney Student Travel—a highly respected student travel organization that has offered quality student expeditions for more than 60 years.

Read more about our five types of programs- expeditions, conservation in action trips, photo workshops, community service programs and our new On Campus program.

Access to the Experts

A National Geographic expert—a photographer, writer, researcher or explorer—joins a portion of each expedition and conservation in action trip. On our photography workshops, a National Geographic photographer accompanies the entire program. Two or more experts join our on campus program for presentations about their work and a related hands-on workshop.

Education + Adventure

On each program, get immersed in the local culture, interacting directly with community members and learning about their daily life. Then set out to discover the area on outdoor excursions. To help you prepare, we’ll send you National Geographic books, magazines, or maps about your destination so you can get the most from your trip. You’ll also receive a complimentary one-year subscription to a National Geographic magazine of your choice.

Make a Difference

Roll up your sleeves and pitch in by participating in community service projects that allow you to become more engaged with the place you’re exploring. Many of our trips offer an opportunity for you to make a useful contribution, working on small-scale construction, tutoring students in English, cleaning up a park, or supporting a local conservation effort, depending on the location and the community’s needs. Or, focus on service work throughout the trip on one of our community service programs.

Learn more about our trips that include a community service project

Authentic and Sustainable Experiences

National Geographic is committed to sustaining the character and integrity of each place we visit—its environment, culture, heritage, and the well being of its residents. In providing authentic travel experiences for students, we strive to protect the sites we visit, support local economies in our choice of accommodations and services, and increase students’ understanding and appreciation of other peoples and customs through meaningful friendships and cultural exchange.

National Geographic strives to minimize environmental impact and invests in offset projects for the carbon emissions associated with all activities and travel once you’re at your destination.

Transportation Details

International and domestic U.S. airfares and any in-country internal flights are not included in the cost of the tuition. We have arranged for an escorted round-trip group flight for each of our international (and Alaska) programs, and will provide applicants with information about these flights. Group flights for each program begin and end at a meeting point at a major U.S. airport. For the Pacific Northwest, Yellowstone, and Colorado programs, students arriving and departing by plane are met by a trip leader at the arrival/departure airport. On all programs, parents are responsible for making arrangements for students to get to and from the U.S. departure/return meeting points.

Airlines require that we reserve space far in advance, but do not set a final price until shortly before departure when tickets are issued in each traveler’s name. Until the time individual tickets are issued, airlines reserve the right to increase fees (e.g. fuel surcharges) and additional government fees may be assessed. The airfares we quote to you represent the figure that the airline has given us when we booked in the fall, and is subject to increase (which we will pass along to you) if the airline or a government agency assesses additional fees prior to final ticketing.

Photography and Filmmaking

Students who choose the Photography On Assignment project on an expedition must bring their own digital camera. There is a supplemental fee of $150 to cover additional supplies and on-site computing facilities for this On Assignment project.* For students who choose the Film & Video On Assignment project, we provide video cameras, camera stock, and computers for editing. There is a $250 supplemental fee to cover additional equipment and facilities necessary for on-site editing for this On Assignment project. Students on photography workshops must bring their own digital SLR camera, external hard drive, and laptop computer. More information about what equipment to bring on each program will be provided in the pre-trip materials.

*There is no supplemental fee for Photography Workshops.

Expectations

We expect student participants to maintain high standards of personal behavior. Because they are encouraged, within the context of our programs, to take leadership roles and to make some of their own discoveries, students whose parents require them to be under constant surveillance or who are likely to act irresponsibly; use drugs, alcohol, or tobacco; or behave in a disruptive manner should not apply. Students who violate our few rules are subject to dismissal at our sole discretion. Parents are responsible for making arrangements for, bearing the cost of, and providing supervision for dismissed students’ immediate travel home, even in situations that require extended international travel. No refund of the tuition is given. Students dismissed from our programs will not receive credit for community service hours completed prior to their dismissal.

Application Process

Applications are carefully reviewed by our Admissions Committee, and students are selected on the basis of their maturity, enthusiasm, motivation, and willingness to live and participate constructively in a supportive community environment. Find out more about our application process or apply now.

Your participation in a National Geographic Student Expedition provides support to National Geographic's mission of increasing global understanding through exploration, geography education, and research.
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