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A Guide to Summer Camps Abroad

With more options for your summer camp adventure than gelato flavors in Rome, you’ll find plenty of ways to add check marks to your bucket list. Offering the perfect amalgamation of adult-oriented adrenaline-fueled adventures, exotic cultures, and awesome travel buddies, participating in summer camps abroad will make your friends glean with envy as they scroll through your Instagram profile. Think complete cultural immersion, activities you didn’t know were possible, and visits to corners of the country that most other tourists don’t even know exist. Better yet, summer camp organizers are out there specifically to help you have the an adventure of a lifetime!

Locations

They say variety is the spice of life, and if that’s true, then when it comes to location, adventure summer camps come with a health warning and a plethora of options! The challenge certainly won’t lie in finding something that whets your appetite, but more in choosing which stamps you want in your passport first. A good starting point is definitely to consider your priorities, whether it is an activity you wish to complete, a climate, geographical region, or specific language or culture you want to experience, begin narrowing the field for your summer camp abroad with some key foci. 

If wildlife is high on your list, check out summer camp opportunities that include whale watching in Iceland. Or for something even fishier, explore the crystal-blue ocean depths whilst assisting with marine conservation projects in Belize. Home to the world’s second largest barrier reef, you won’t only have a chance to see over 500 species of incredible marine life, but also to contribute to its’ protection at a time when climate change is having a huge impact on marine ecosystems.

In contrast, if you’re craving cultural and community interactions, maximize those opportunities through summer camps that involve assisting at life-saving health clinics in Nicaragua or coaching sports to low-income communities in South Africa. A destination not to be missed, South Africa has more than one thing for everyone! From the incredible Table Mountain and beaches swarming with penguins on the Western Cape to the densely-populated (with amazing wildlife no less) Kruger National Park on the North-Eastern side. South Africa plays host to a unique range of traditional, tribal, and modern cultures, world-famous wildlife, stunning coastlines, and awesome mountain trails to boot.

Feeling the need for to get outdoors and active? Try working with rescued elephants in Northern Thailand. As awareness around elephant tourism grows, so does support for ethical projects working to combat the damage that years of shows and elephant rides have caused. Participating in one of these adventure summer camps will allow you to get up close and personal with these majestic creatures, something that you’ll surely remember forever!

Summer Camps Abroad

Joining a summer camp adventure is like diving into the deep end of a vibrant cultural swimming pool. Where other travelers gloss over the real veins of the culture, eating in restaurants designed for tourists, and interacting with other travelers but not local residents, a summer camp will allow you to tap into the heart of a country. This means finding attractions unbeknownst to the travel guide and experiencing life as the locals do from food to lodgings, transportation to markets, cooking classes to language schools, and more. With a summer camp adventure you will reap the benefits of the camp organizers’ local knowledge and connections—turns out, summer camps aren’t just for kids, there’s heaps of fun for adults as well!

The array of summer camp options available will allow you to design a trip that meets all of your deepest desires, whether that means trekking across snow-capped mountains, assisting with environmental conservation projects, or attending a foreign language school. It’s not only putting the right stamp in your passport though, summer camps allow you to grow, develop, and learn as part of your experience. The hard skills you collect along the way will not only allow you to maximize the experience by further integrating you into local life, but also provide core skills for your resume that you can implement when you come home.

As if that’s not reason enough to hit “reserve” on the experience of your dreams right now, there’s also the amazing collective of like-minded travel companions with whom you’ll share the trip and no doubt develop lasting friendships for years to come. Traveling solo can be a daunting prospect, so having the support of the other travelers will help you navigate the experience, and will also offer you great networking opportunities, just like when you were a kid with a heap of new friends at the end of the summer!

Of course, you will also have someone to laugh with over a glass of wine when you accidentally order an extra spicy fried scorpion for dinner. Add that to all of the softer skill development like cross-cultural communication (something you’ll really practice after the scorpion incident), teamwork, leadership and adaptability—resume boosters to send your employability rating through the roof when you get back home and need to work to save up for your next adventure abroad!

Tips & Advice for Summer Camps Abroad

You know when a bug gets stuck on its back and lies helplessly flailing its legs because it can’t get upright without help? Don’t be that person as your 50-pound backpack throws off your balance, pack light! You aren’t going to care whether your shirt matches your pants when there are far more interesting ways to occupy your mind, and remember, they use soap and shampoo in most places, so unless you’re going completely off the radar, you should be able to stock up along the way! 

When it comes to funds, budget realistically and keep in mind what your expenses are likely to be on the ground. Discuss with your summer camp organizer what they advise before you travel, after all, you don’t want to miss out on those once-in-a-lifetime unique opportunities for adventure because of your dwindling bank balance! If you need help to boost your savings before you travel check out FundMyTravel, a crowdfunding platform designed to support meaningful adventures, and look into scholarship opportunities through your summer camp abroad. 

Most importantly of all, keep in mind that joining a summer camp is a unique experience. You’ll reap the immensely rewarding benefits in action, and the more effort you expend on contributing to the goals at hand, the more you will take home with you. It may not always be easy or comfortable, but the biggest challenges will become the stories that drive your friends back home crazy with envy with for months to follow!

Benefits & Challenges

As well as boosting your resume with career relevant skills and experience, you will add to it all those bonus competencies like resourcefulness when learning how to build a bonfire and communication skills as you gel with people whom you would never have otherwise encountered. These kinds of experiences build employability from more than just the obvious angle: think confidence, understanding, problem solving, and creativity!

It’s not all hard work either: you will also be fulfilling your dreams and seeing places you may never have otherwise had the opportunity to visit, like hiking Macchu Picchu or learning to salsa dance in Buenos Aires. You’ll have the added bonus of a readily-recruited team of travel buddies to share the experience with, supporting each other during the challenges and celebrating the triumphs.

On the flip-side, you will have to work hard and prepare yourself for unexpected challenges during your summer camp abroad. Being immersed so completely in another culture is eye-opening and amazing but also deeply confronting, as it forces you to re-shape your beliefs and ideology to integrate all of the new things you have seen and learned. You’ll also have to be prepared to work hard and contribute to the camp.

Adventure summer camps offer both a geographical and metaphorical world of opportunity for personal development and meaningful travel. Ideal for both less-seasoned travelers and providing opportunities for unique and diverse trips for experienced-global explorers, there is something for everyone and the result is almost certain to be a mind filled with memories that last a lifetime!

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A Guide To
Summer Camps Abroad

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