2012-2013 Update from GEEO travel programs for educators
Global Exploration for Educators Organization (GEEO) is an incredible non-profit organization that provides opportunities for educators to travel overseas, learn from these intercultural trips, and share their experiences with their students, after they get home. Truly, this is one of the best international education opportunities for educators that I've ever seen.
We caught up with Founder Jesse Weisz to get some updates!
Can you update our readers on what is new for GEEO since we last spoke?
Our booking deadline of June 1st, 2013 is coming up in the near future so now is a good time to sign up for a GEEO trip. We still have room in most of our trips including Turkey, Uzbekistan, Southern Africa, Thailand, Cambodia, and China.
Are there any special discounts our readers should be aware of?
Often flying overseas is the most expensive component of one of our programs. We try to schedule our programs to allow participants to go on two or even three different programs in a row within the same region. This way you get the most bang for your buck when flying overseas. In order to make those programs more affordable for participants who wish to spend the summer with GEEO, we have created the Multi-Trip Discount. If you book two or more GEEO programs in the same summer, you will receive 10% off of the lesser value program.
GEEO group photo at the Taj Mahal in Agra, India
That looks like a great trip. What do you have planned for 2013?
We are going to be running a total of 22 different programs to 30 countries in 2013. Due to popular demand we will be offering several European programs, including trips to the Iberian Peninsula, Italy, Hungary/Romania/Bulgaria/Turkey and Eastern Europe. We also added Comfort Class programs to Thailand, China and the Amalfi Coast of Italy, giving participants a chance to enjoy 4-star accommodation and upgraded transportation with all the adventure of a GEEO program.
Have you had a chance to go on any of your trips recently?
Our booking deadline of June 1st, 2013 is coming up in the near future so now is a good time to sign up for a GEEO trip. We still have room in most of our trips including Turkey, Uzbekistan, Southern Africa, Thailand, Cambodia and China.
Group photo at the South Gate of Angkor Thom in Cambodia
Our group at a school for monks in Luang Prabang, Laos
I also went to the Galapagos Islands in October. We ran a very popular program there last summer that we are repeating this summer, which is nearly full. I have never been able to interact with wildlife so closely before so it really does stand out for me as a truly unique experience. For me the highlight there was snorkeling with a family of sea turtles while sea lions and penguins were playing nearby.
Group picture on Sullivan's Bay lava field on Santiago Island, Galapagos
Baby Sea Lion on Santiago Island, Galapagos
Sea Turtle in the Galapagos Islands
Can you remind our reader again what makes GEEO different than other tours?
I get this question all the time so I explain this in detail on our website at geeo.org/why-travel-with-geeo/. To quote our website:
“Our mission as a non-profit organization is to make travel for educators affordable, educational, enticing and easy. There are a few differences between a GEEO program and a regular tour operated by a tour company:
•You get to travel with a wonderful group of teachers!
•We typically have school visits on each of our trips. When schools are closed due to a country’s summer vacation we usually eat a meal with a group of local teachers and have a Q and A session.
•We make the trip educational for our participants through experiential learning on the trips. No long classroom lectures! G Adventures provides us with their best, most experienced tour leaders who are prepared to share their knowledge with our participants.
•We give you resources to expand your knowledge about your GEEO destination. Our book club is a way for you to have a shared educational experience with other members of your group. Our Pinterest page is an ever growing source of lesson plans, travel tips and interesting articles. These resources will give you a basic understanding of customs, history, culture, current events, etc. before arriving, which puts everything into context and allows for a deeper experience.
•We provide structure for bringing your travel experience back into your classroom through our easy to implement Education Program. Our lesson plan database is a great and growing collection of examples of classroom action plans from past GEEO participants. You will love the Power Point and Google Earth presentations we share with you!
•Each participant gets a free professional development certificate and there is optional graduate credit available too. This way you can advance your careers while on vacation.
•Each trip is a professional development program specifically for educators and because of this many past participants have been able to find grants and funding to subsidize their program expenses.
• All of our programs are discounted to be 5% to 10% lower than the price of equivalent trips run by our tour operator partner G Adventures. G Adventures arguably offers the best value in the travel industry due to their size, so our prices can’t be beat. GEEO aims to make our programs fall within any teacher’s budget. In fact many of the programs cost little more than domestic travel.
•We handle customer service with a very personal touch. We answer all emails promptly and can be reached by phone 9AM-9PM, 7 days a week. There is no application process for our programs making it easy to join. We can help you book flights, purchase insurance, get visas and vaccinations, etc. We can hold your hand and walk you through the process so that international travel isn’t so intimidating.”
School visit at Deepalaya School in Delhi
How do teacher find out more about your programs?
Full details regarding our programs are available on our website, http://www.geeo.org. If you have any questions feel free to contact us 9AM - 9PM EST, 7 days a week at 1-877-600-0105. You can also email me at jesse [at] geeo.org.
Thanks, Jesse! We highly recommend GEEO to our readers! We love sharing your stories and trips!
All photos courtesy and copyright GEEO