Nobis World: Travel and Culture for K-12 Teachers

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
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Sep 13, 2013 / 0 comments

Nobis Project, an educational non-profit organization, has launched Nobis World, a new professional development program for K-12 teachers which offers the exciting opportunity for teachers to travel domestically or abroad to experience cultures different from their own. The goal of the Nobis World program is to expand teachers' knowledge and experiences and, in turn, enrich their students' learning and global awareness. As part of these group excursions, teachers will be immersed in another culture, engaged in service-learning with a local organization, and trained by Nobis Project on how to integrate their experience into globally relevant lessons for their classrooms.


Dominican Republic


We talked with Christen Clougherty, PhD, Founder and Executive Director of Nobis Project, Inc., about Nobis World…


Please tell me how Nobis World originated…

Well, to answer that, I need to first tell you about our parent organization. I founded Nobis Project in 2008 after many years of working as an educator and then completing my PhD research on service-learning and global citizenship education. Since our founding, Nobis Project has primarily offered workshops for schools on our global service-learning model, the Nobis Global Action Model, which allows teachers to conduct global service-learning projects from their classroom.

The idea for Nobis World originated from a need that emerged during our work with schools. Teachers were eager to develop global service-learning projects in their classrooms, but there were two things that often held them back. The first was nervousness, or a sense of unpreparedness, to talk about global issues. Secondly was a desire to establish a direct connection with a specific global community.

Nobis World is designed to meet these two goals. Teachers travel to communities very different from their own, and build relationships while there that they can then continue with their students as they all work together throughout the academic year. Teachers also receive training in the Nobis Global Action Model.


What Nobis World programs will be offered in 2014?

In Summer 2014, Nobis World participants can learn how to create more culturally responsive and globally relevant classrooms by traveling to the Dominican Republic or Savannah, GA & The Lowcountry.


Savannah, Ga. & The Lowcountry
Preserving African-American & Gullah History in the Lowcountry
July 13-17, 2014

During the Savannah, Ga. five-day program, participants explore the preservation of African-American history and culture in historic Savannah and Georgia's coastal islands. Through a service-learning project and cultural immersion, teachers explore how different museums and heritage organizations preserve the history of African-Americans in the Lowcountry. Focusing on the themes of race, slavery, and the education of African-Americans, this program considers two different experiences: the urban environment of Savannah and the rural Gullah culture on Sapelo Island, a barrier island off the coast of Georgia.


Savannah, GA


Dominican Republic 
Building Global Relationships, Understanding Global Poverty
July 24-31, 2014

During the Dominican Republic eight-day excursion, participants travel to the small, Caribbean beach village of Cabarete. Here they will experience another culture, learn about its history, and build relationships with people from the community. Teachers will engage in community service with organizations whose work centers on the education, health, and welfare of Dominican and Haitian immigrant families living in poverty. Teachers will establish reciprocal partnerships with these organizations and the international community for future collaboration with their classrooms.


Dominican Republic


Why were the Dominican Republic and Savannah, Ga. selected as your first locations?

Both sites were selected for a number of different reasons, including pre-existing contacts in the areas. Nobis Project is based out of Savannah, Ga., and one of Nobis’ advisory council members has lived and conducted her PhD research in the DR. Affordability was also a factor. We try very hard to find ways to keep the costs as low as possible for teachers, and flights to the DR and Savannah (or driving to Savannah) are fairly affordable. Lastly, and most importantly, both locations offer an amazing opportunity for teachers to experience cultures and histories that are linked to our shared US history--from the Caribbean and US slave trades, to issues of immigration, as well as the interesting history of education in both locations.


Savannah, GA


Will there be new locations next year?

Each year a new program will be added, so check back on our website each September for full details.


What does the professional development portion of the program consist of?

In all Nobis World programs, teachers receive professional development training in using technology as a tool for global civic engagement, as well as training in the Nobis Global Action service-learning model. This model provides a researched and teacher-tested framework for teachers to integrate their experience and the newly formed relationships back into their classroom. Participants start their service-learning during the pre-departure elearning activities that focuses on Nobis Big Ideas of history, power, relationships, global citizenship, and cultural responsiveness. The elearning activities include, but are not limited to, short readings and activities, videos, and interactive web content all related to the location participants are about to visit. These activities allow for a deeper understanding of the historical and cultural context about to be experienced . The post-travel elearning is a structured platform to allow teachers to support one another, with the help of Nobis Project, as they translate their experiences in to projects in their classrooms.


Why should an educator choose Nobis World?

Experience and Careful Planning: Nobis World program leaders are selected based on their experience leading groups on overseas travel and their commitment to the work Nobis Project aims to achieve. In advance of each trip, Nobis Project staff personally visits the host country program site, and then continues to work with the host community partners who assist in carrying out the site visit. By creating a partnership with host community members, we are better prepared to handle the unexpected and make the trip as safe and meaningful as possible. 


Quality of experience: Nobis World programs offer three elements to the experience: cultural immersion, service-learning, and professional development. Nobis Project is committed to experiential education and we know that sitting through lectures is not the best way to learn. Accordingly, we teach what we preach. All professional development is designed to be as hands-on and interactive as possible and incorporated into service-learning. 


Pre-departure and post-travel elearning activities: As noted earlier, participants start their service-learning during the pre-departure elearning activities and then have access to post-travel elearning to allow teachers to support one another, with the help of Nobis Project, as they translate their experiences into projects in their classrooms.


Travel with Teachers/Team building: Through the pre-departure elearning activities, teachers will begin to get to know one another before travel commences. And Nobis World’s experiential learning model allows for valuable time for team-building and bonding between the trip participants. The goal is to work as a cohort throughout the process so that upon returning  home, teachers may support one another as they each develop global service-learning projects in their classrooms. 


Building Global Relationships: One goal of Nobis World programs is for teachers to develop relationships with individuals, community members, and organizations that they can continue working with once they return to their classrooms. With these established global relationships, teachers can then guide their students to implement Nobis Global Action projects. 


Professional Development Certificate: Each participant who completes the program receives a professional development certificate at no additional cost. Because of Nobis World’s professional development focus, participants may be able to find grants and funding to subsidize their program expenses. 


Are there any special discounts our readers should be aware of?

We are committed to working hard to make participation in Nobis World programs as affordable as possible. There are a limited number of scholarships available for teachers. And we offer an early registration discount of 5% for registration before October 5 as well as group discounts of up to 10% when teachers book together.

Additionally, there are a tremendous amount of small grants available for educators. With a little bit of time and energy you maybe able to have a part to your whole trip funded. Nobis Project has prepared Grant Writing Tips for teachers to use. And we have complied a list of grants we have come across that could be used towards a Nobis World program. Visit our Funding Opportunities page on our website to view the list.


Savannah, GA


How do teachers register and find out more about Nobis World programs?

Full details regarding our programs (including draft itineraries) are available on our website, Registration is currently open for these programs and ends February 1, 2014. Space is limited to apply early. Anyone with questions is welcome to contact us at 912.403.4113. You can also email me at christen[at]


Any final words?

In our increasingly globalized society, young people have a right to an education that prepares them to become informed, active, responsible and contributing global citizens. Nobis World prepares educators to meet these goals and we hope many of your readers will travel with Nobis World!


To learn more:




All photos courtesy and copyright Nobis Project




Nobis World expands teachers' knowledge and experiences and, in turn, enrich their students' learning and global awareness

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