What experience does Alexander Dawson School have leading student trips?

Dawson Global Adventures is a natural outgrowth of the work that we have been doing in experiential and global education over the course of our 40 years as a school. We have led hundreds of student trips—regional, national, and international—during the school year. We also have led language and cultural immersion programs from five to ten weeks in countries such as Spain, France, and Switzerland. In 2012, we led DGA summer trips to Ecuador and Botswana.

Many of Dawson’s faculty members have extensive experience leading student trips. In addition, many of our faculty members have either lived abroad, traveled abroad, or were born in another country. DGA is the fusion of our passions for global education and experiential education.

Who is eligible to go on trips?

DGA trips are open to current eighth through twelfth graders—from any school—who meet program and trip requirements. Non-Dawson students will need to go through a short application process – see our registration process for more details. Because the Ecuador trip has a language focus, Ecuador applicants are required to have studied at least two years of Spanish (in middle school or high school) or the equivalent.

What will you do to ensure student safety?

Safety is a priority for DGA. Building on Dawson’s track record of running student trips during the school year, DGA will follow many of the same guidelines, such as having one male trip leader and one female trip leader with a small group of students. Dawson trip leaders have experience leading student groups and are certified in both First Aid and CPR. Dawson is also a member of the Global Education Benchmark Group and works collaboratively with other independent schools to share and implement best practices for leading international student trips.

In the case of an emergency, Dawson trip leaders will have cell phones and a Dawson administrator in Colorado will be available 24 hours a day to facilitate communication between families and trip leaders.

In addition to our trip leaders, our in-country guides and partners will have cell phones, access to transportation, and lists of the best and nearest hospitals.

Included in the cost of each trip is additional international emergency medical and evacuation insurance. Each participant will automatically receive this coverage in addition to his or her family’s regular health insurance plan. Trip cancellation insurance will be optional and available for families to purchase.

Though blogs will not improve a student’s safety, they can give parents peace of mind. Trip leaders will try as often as possible—likely every other day—to post trip news and photos. This way family members can follow along and track the progress of the trip.

Will students need immunizations?

The answer to this question will be different for each trip. We will recommend health care professionals in Colorado with whom you can consult. Trip leaders will be happy to answer any specific questions you may have.

What is and isn’t included in the trip cost?

The trip cost includes all lodging, transportation, food, and activities once students arrive in the country. It also includes additional international medical and evacuation insurance. Airfare is listed separately as “estimated” because fuel charges and aviation taxes will fluctuate until we make the final payment on our group tickets.

Items that are not included in the trip cost are immunizations, passport fees, potential visa fees, airport meals, and spending money for snacks, phone calls, etc. Trip cancellation insurance is optional and is not included in the trip cost.

Students may want to bring additional spending money for things like souvenirs. Each trip leader will make specific recommendations on this matter during orientation.

Are there scholarships available?

Dawson upper school students who have completed at least freshman year are eligible to apply for international summer travel funds through the school’s Charles Wolf, Jr. Global Scholars Program. A Wolf Scholarship could fund a portion of your DGA trip. More information will be coming soon. If you have questions on this matter, please contact Arnold Lewis, Wolf Scholars Program Coordinator, by email at alewis@dawsonschool.org or by phone at (303) 665-6679 x428.

What should students pack?

Though it is always important to be prepared, travel is more enjoyable and less stressful when you are nimble and your pack is light. As the trip dates approach, we will provide you with specific packing lists and suggestions for each trip.

How often will parents and students be able to communicate during the trip?

Students will have opportunities to call or email home, though it likely will be every five to seven days. We understand the desire to be in close touch with friends and family back home but we strongly encourage students to be fully present while they are on their trips. There will be plenty of time to show photos and share stories in person upon their  return.

In the event of an emergency, DGA staff will be available 24 hours a day to facilitate communication as quickly as possible with trip leaders.

What happens during trip orientations?

Each group will meet multiple times in the spring prior to departure to prepare for the trip. Orientation sessions will cover topics such as history, culture, language, packing tips, and safety precautions.

Each trip’s orientation sessions will be unique. More detailed information about orientation sessions will be available in the spring. Out-of-town students may participate in orientations via Skype, when possible.