Middle and High School Students Embark on Global Journeys Through National Geographic Student Expeditions Program

Jul 6, 2016 7:00 AM ET

What better way to spend a summer than by exploring the world with National Geographic? The legendary institution has spent more than 125 years at the forefront of scientific discovery, and now it's offering middle and high school students the chance to join in on the action.

National Geographic's Student Expeditions program offers educational travel experiences for students all over the world, providing unique learning opportunities at more than 40 locations for budding photographers, writers and scientists. National Geographic also provides scholarship assistance for students in need, awarding nearly two dozen free expeditions this summer to students completing 6th through 12th grades. 21st Century Fox expanded its partnership with the National Geographic Society last fall, with 27% of all current proceeds going toward the society's grant-making pursuits.

"On our student expeditions, we're teaching a number of discrete skills--filming, photography, science, climate change, history, whatever the focus might be--but also, we're teaching self-confidence," said Ford Cochran, Director of Programming for National Geographic Expeditions. "We're trying to give students the sense that what they have to say matters and by the end of the few weeks that we have with them in the field, they leave as leaders."

For each student expedition, National Geographic selects a trip leader from its vast global network of explorers and researchers. The trips can last anywhere from 12 to 21 days and often focus on wildlife conservation and archaeology, as well as how to tell stories about the people and places the students encounter. Many of the trips involve a service component, with opportunities for the students to tutor English, work on a small-scale construction project, or support a local conservation effort.

"This trip is amazing; it's the best thing that's ever happened in my life so far," said Sam M., who embarked on a recent expedition to Iceland. "It gives an opportunity to kids like me to explore their interests further and just seeing that is different than anything I could ever read in a textbook."

Sam is one of several students each year who receive scholarship funds from National Geographic toward participation in the Student Expeditions. Scholarships are generally awarded to students whose parents' combined income is less than $50,000.

"It's also about meeting all sorts of different kinds of people from all sorts of different kinds of backgrounds," Cochran said. "And that's not just about the people in country that we go and meet. It's about the diversity of the students that we include in the program. They're learning from one another and setting examples--becoming role models for each other."

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