A gap year should be more than just travel or service. Our programs are exciting, supportive, and transformational. Combining homestays, working with inspiring local leaders, and engaging readings and discussions, we've created an opportunity for you to learn about things that matter to you and the world.
- Spanish Language Study & Immersion
- Living with Host Families in Costa Rica and Guatemala
- Fieldwork with Local Experts
- Academic Study
- Visits to Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley and Cusco in Peru
Itinerary – 13 weeks:
- Orientation in Costa Rica– 1 week
- Unit 1: Education that Empowers - Costa Rica – 5 weeks
- Enrichment: Machu Picchu and Cusco - Peru – 1 week
- Unit 2: Food & Sustainability - Guatemala – 5 weeks
- Culmination in Washington, D.C. – 1 week
3 Participant ReviewsWrite a Review
Thinking Beyond Borders transcends any expectations I once had of a Gap Year/travel organization because it gave me the foundation with which I now view the world and lead my life. In all seriousness, my experience with Thinking Beyond Borders in South America gave me a small view into the true 'real world'--before the real world I was expecting to see in college. I still think back on my time with my host family, milking cows, visiting waterfalls, and building a greenhouse. It's these memories, and the breathtaking experiences like the futbol match against Venezuela or climbing Machu Picchu that make TBB such a unique and incredible experience--especially to have before entering college. I am still in touch with the eleven funny and ambitious friends that I met through TBB, and it never seizes to amaze me how much I have in common with them still to this day, and the amazing things they are continuing to do. Thinking Beyond Borders is truly a gem in this world and anyone who is lucky enough to find it will be changed forever.
Thinking Beyond Borders is an incredible and unique program. Students study pressing global issues in a small seminar setting, partner with local nonprofit organizations, and live with families in the community for a completely immersive experience. The Program Leaders are incredibly well equipped to facilitate discussions and ensure everyone's well being for the duration of the program. The seminars are fascinating and thought provoking, the local partners have a great sense of how students can contribute in a meaningful way, and I forged lasting relationships with my peers, mentors, and host families. TBB was the best possible way to spend my gap year and I highly encourage all interested students to apply!
Thinking Beyond Borders helped me have a phenomenal experience in Ecuador and Peru. In Ecuador, I was able to practice my Spanish by living for a full month with an amazing homestay family in an indigenous village. Being a part of their daily lives taught me more about the world than a traditional class ever could have. My group also completed a service project in which we worked to help reforest a riverbank in the area, slowing erosion that damages local health and livelihoods. What sets TBB apart, however, is how it critically engages its students on a moral and intellectual level. While our service project may look similar to 'voluntourism' projects that are common on other programs, TBB worked hard to make sure we understood the context of what we were doing and could connect with the community on a much more fundamental level. We finished our time in South America by visiting Cusco, Peru, and hiking the Inca Trail-an unforgettable end to an unforgettable experience.
The most important thing Zach gained was direction for his dreams.
TBB gave my studies purpose. I am studying economics because I learned how influential economics are in policy making and in business.