THINK Global School, the world’s first traveling high school, is pleased to announce some important logistical changes for the upcoming 2019-20 school year. These adjustments are expected to dramatically improve the school’s overall student experience while staying true to its unique approach to global education.
“The travel aspect of our program requires us to be fluid in our decision making. These logistical shifts are based on extensive research and our own experiences in country, and we’re confident that they will prove beneficial to our current and incoming students.” Lee Carlton, THINK Global School’s marketing director, said in regard to the changes.
The following changes will go into effect at the start of the new academic year, beginning on July 15, 2019:
1. Transition the Term 1 Rite of Passage initiation into a standalone experience
2. Australia will be moved forward from Term 3 to Term 2
3.. Chile will replace Peru in our travel cycle
4. The Term 4 calendar will undergo minor adjustments
Below you can find THINK Global School’s rationale for each decision.
A New Rite of Passage Experience
CM2 students in Botswana. Credit: Isabela M.
For the past two years, Botswana has represented the starting point for our Changemaker cohorts (CM1 in 2017-18 and CM2 in 2018-19, respectively). This is notable as many of our CM1 students were new to THINK Global School during their term in Botswana, and all of our CM2 students were. Due to this, we place a heavy focus on culture building at the start of the year, and we use our Rite of Passage to break down cultural barriers and highlight the common humanity shared among our students. Every activity has a purpose, and students grow in the areas of teamwork, trust, and communication as they become familiar with one another and their surroundings.
In 2019-20, however, Botswana, along with India, Japan, and Spain, will not be visited by either of our cohorts (with twelve countries in our travel cycle and two cohorts traveling to four different countries per year, there will always be four countries that are not traveled to each school year). Due to this, and knowing the importance of the Rite of Passage to our school’s culture, we decided to continue the practice by moving it to a remote section of Northwestern England, where the natural setting that makes Botswana so ideal can be replicated.
With our location decided, moving forward, in the 2019-20 school year and beyond, we will be working with the Outward Bound Trust to create a defined expedition that’s challenging for our students, one that embodies the same sense of spirit and community as those held previously in Botswana.
This new Northern England Rite of Passage experience will provide an opportunity for our students from both cohorts to mix together and forge friendships — a boon for our entire community. Additionally, 2-4 returning students will serve as leaders during the experience, as we anticipate their insights on academics and student life at THINK Global School will make them a highly useful resource for new attendees.
Following the Rite of Passage experience, students will proceed on to the first country in their travel cycle. For students joining us in 2019-20, they will fly to Bosnia and Herzegovina. For students joining us in 2020-21, when we are recruiting for both cohorts, students will fly from Northern England to either Bosnia and Herzegovina or Botswana.
Changes to Australia and Peru Terms
TGS students in Cusco, Peru. Credit: Joann McPike
Australia will be incredibly hot during our Term 3 time frame (mid January – mid April) with temperatures ranging from 35°C – 45°C (95°F – 114°F). These kinds of temperatures preclude long sustained outdoor activities, a hallmark of our place- and project-based approach to learning.
Additionally, during our Peru term in 2016, students arrived in September and had five weeks to acclimatize before hiking the Inca Trail in mid-October. Term 2 is currently scheduled to begin on October 22nd, so by the time students arrive and acclimatize (mid-November) the Inca Trail will no longer be feasible to hike due to heavy rains and snow accumulating at altitude. In addition, homestays have proven to be complicated in Peru’s Sacred Valley, the region in Peru’s Andean highlands that we find most suitable as a host location.
Our solution to both of these climate-centric issues is to move the planned Australia term from Term 3 to Term 2 (mid-October to mid-December) when temperatures are cooler, ranging from 18-25°C (64°F – 77°C). Corresponding with that move, Peru will be taken off the travel cycle. In its place, we will be incorporating fellow South American country Chile into our rotation.
According to the Global Peace Index, Chile ranks as the most peaceful country in South America, a factor that weighed heavily in our decision to switch locations. Additionally, Santiago is a versatile enough city to provide homestays, service learning experiences, and a wide range of opportunities for students to practice their Spanish-speaking skills with locals. And due to Chile’s geographic location, putting together a similar expedition to Peru’s Inca Trail at the end of the term is ideal from a climate perspective, as the Southern Hemisphere’s autumn temperatures will be agreeable for an extended outdoor excursion, potentially in the Patagonia region.
Adjustment to Term Four
The final logistical change taking place during our 2019-20 school year and onwards is a minor adjustment in the period of time before and after Term 4, the final term of the school year. Term 4 is proving to be a challenge currently due to the constraints of the AP testing requirement and THINK Global School’s graduation taking place shortly after. To solve this problem, there will be a reduction in the break between Term 3 and Term 4 from five weeks to four, with the fourth week being the online learning week, and an extension of the break between Term 4 and Term 1 of the following school year from six weeks to eight, with the eighth week being the online learning week. The total number of learning days in Term 4 will not be reduced.
Doing so will allow THINK Global School to maximize the time spent by each cohort in their respective countries, and significantly increase the amount of time shared between cohorts. The hope is that by having both cohorts spend time together, with students from both groups reflecting upon the similarities and differences in their educational experiences, a greater sense of camaraderie and community will be born.
The Term 4 calendar is anticipated to look like this:
|Dates||CM1 Location||CM2 Location||Days|
|April 5- May 5||Italy||Greece||28|
|May 2-17||Transition to Greece||Remain in Greece||12|
|AP Testing in Greece, non-testing students work on personal projects and prepare for Symposium|
|May 16-18||Prepare for combined Final Showcase in Greece|| 3|
|May 19||Combined Final Showcase||1|
|May 20|| Prepare for Graduation||1|
|May 24||All Students Depart||1|
Have questions about the logistical changes taking place at THINK Global School? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to address your concerns or further elaborate on any aspect of our shift.