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It All Started With “What If?”

Behind every great school is a great story.

THINK Global School founder Joann McPike has travel in her blood. At the age of 18 she left her native New Zealand to explore the world, and her boots haven’t left the ground since. She now holds passports to two nations, speaks three languages, and has photographed over 100 countries, collecting some of her most arresting international images in a coffee table book entitled THINK.

She encouraged her son, Alex, to keep a journal about his family’s extensive travels as soon as he was old enough to hold a pen, instilling in him the value of experiencing the world as an engaged citizen and thinker. By the age of 14 Alex had traveled alongside his parents, Joann and Harry McPike, to more than 70 countries, and he showed no interest in slowing down. The family began searching for a high school that would embrace world travel as much as they did – but every inquiry came up short.

That’s when Joann and Harry had their “what if?” moment: if no school existed that could serve their son’s needs and their unique educational philosophy, why not start one themselves? With Alex’s input, Joann and Harry set out to create a new type of school in which travel, cultural immersion, and empathy served as its core values.


The Class of 2014 visit The Great Wall of China

In September of 2010, THINK Global School began its first semester in Sweden with 15 students hailing from 11 countries. The traveling high school has since visited every continent except Antarctica, hosted dozens of influential guest speakers, campaigned for human and environmental rights, mounted art exhibitions, created thousands of essays, blog posts, and videos, sent graduating students to top universities, and fostered lifelong friendships between students from around the globe.

A foundation established by Joann McPike provides long-term funding for THINK Global School and allows for broad cultural and economic diversity within the student body, ensuring that promising global citizens from all walks of life will have the opportunity make the THINK Global School experience their own.

But the THINK Global School vision goes beyond serving its students. With an emphasis on education through experience, service as citizenship, and sharing best practices with other educational institutions worldwide, the THINK Global School aims to not only shape students who are informed, engaged, and inspired, but also to leave a positive impact on both the world of education and the world at large.

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