Check out 9 essential tips for keeping costs down when organizing your next educational trip for your students.
By Kagumu Staff
STUDENT TRAVEL | 4-MINUTE READ
Choose your destination carefully
This may seem obvious but the cost of a trip will depend heavily on the destination you want to visit. Look for upcoming destinations that fall away from the main tourist track. These destinations will not only give your students a less touristy experience but you will doubtless get more bang for your buck. You have all heard of the term: tourist prices haven’t you? Well, this can double or even treble your overall costs.
Decide on the best time of year
if possible choose to travel outside of peak vacation times. In South America, for example, try to avoid Easter (semana santa) and the main vacation period from mid-December to mid-January. Prices will inflate during these peak weeks, adding to your costs or increasing travel operator prices. If in doubt, ask a local operator what time of year is best to travel
Book your flights wisely
If you are booking your own flights, check these tips out before you do:
If you are using a travel agent, make sure you book in advance and ask them for quotes for different days. You will be surprised how much the cost of a flight changes from one day to the next. Don’t be afraid of negotiating too. Even airlines are able to offer discounts!
Use a reliable local operator
it may sound counterintuitive to pay an operator to organize your trip. I mean, you can book everything yourself, right? Well, local operators are experts in their area. They will save you time and money and you’ll end up with a cheaper trip than if you organized it yourself. Here’s why:
The more students you can gather for the trip, the better. Local operators should offer group discounts as their costs will be reduced when more students join a trip. Kagumu offers discounts for groups of 10, 15, 20 plus students
Plan in advance
This may seem obvious but planning in advance will save you a lot of money. Firstly, local operators will be glad to organize a trip months, maybe even a year in advance as this gives them time to arrange discounts and book early and thus avoiding any inflated prices. Arranging a trip in advance will also give you the chance to find a good deal on flights.
Many colleges and universities already incorporate fundraising into their travel programs. This gives students a great opportunity of feeling the worth of their trip by contributing to the costs. It will also give them good fundraising skills that may be useful in the future. Encourage your students to have fun and creative with this. In the past we have seen students run around their town centre in a bear outfit, host a dance marathon and get family members to do facebook karaoke.
Be cheeky and ask for discounts
Don’t hesitate to ask your local operator for discounts and money-saving offers. In the past Kagumu Adventures has given early-bird discounts for colleges and universities that have booked well in advance. We have also offered discounts for large groups as stated above and we offer discounts for colleges and universities that return the following year. Kagumu also offers free faculty member places for groups of 10 and above. Remember, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Colombia’s mega diversity offers the ideal opportunity for students to enjoy a memorable study abroad program.
Colombia boasts the second highest biodiversity in the world. It merges a wide variety of cultures and traditions emerging from Africa to Europe and North America. And its people are often regarded as among the friendliest in the world. In essence, Colombia is an ideal place to spend a study abroad program; the only issue is where to go.
We offer six excellent options to inspire students.
By Kagumu Staff
Posted on 18/4/2020
Colombia’s second biggest city has undergone quite a transformation over the past decade. It has gone from one of the most dangerous cities on earth to one of the most desired places to visit in South America. Students learn about this remarkable change by visiting and working alongside social initiatives and innovative communities movements in Comuna 13, Moravia and the city centre.
Click here to see Kagumu’s 4-week program. This experience will encourage you to work alongside local artists in creating impactful murals that will help you understand how art can transform neighbourhoods and foster pride in the community. Students enjoy hands-on activities with inspirational local projects - such as reforestation, organic farming, urban gardening - all the time learning about pressing global issues such as climate change and equality. As well as developing a wider knowledge of sustainable development, students will connect with an ultra-friendly culture, experience one of the most innovative cities in the world and bask in its glorious spring-like climate.
Providing the main thrust of Colombia’s resurgence as a developing economy in South America is its sprawling capital Bogota. Located in the centre of the country, this chic city offers a variety of areas within its compass, including its birthplace: La Candelaria. Here, Spanish colonial walls and buildings are emblazoned with world-class street art, telling stories of Colombia’s violent past, extensive peace process and hopeful future.
Students wanting to delve deeper into the civil conflict that blighted the country for over 50 years, can join the Human Rights & Peace Building program by Global Youth Connect. The program includes visits to the National Center for Historical Memory, Center for Peace, Memory, and Reconciliation and the promoters of Human Rights organization - Dejusticia. Students spending a study abroad program in Bogotá will enjoy a more international experience with excellent day trip opportunities to the unique Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá, the stunning Chingaza National Natural Park and one of the most beautiful colonial towns - Villa de Leyva.
Noted for its salsa traditions and welcoming residents, Cali’s sultry infectious nature reverberates among visitors immediately. Like Medellin, this vibrant Colombian city has had to resurrect itself from previous violence and now offers a great study abroad option for students.
One of the most popular programs to enjoy is a Spanish language immersion program of which there are many to choose from. CET Colombia offers an 11-week course that immerses students in the language with daily lessons focused on race, ethnicity and identity. Cali holds a large Afro-Colombian population and students discover how this plays an essential role in the social makeup of Colombia. When students are not salsa dancing in Cali, they can explore one of many parks located in the city and take weekend trips to the Pacific Coast, where a whole new world of biodiversity exists.
Blessed with Caribbean beaches, thick monkey-strewn jungle and the highest mountain range on earth, Santa Marta enthralls all those who visit. The historical old town is beautifully preserved with yellow and rose-washed Spanish colonial architecture. The real draw, however, lies in La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta - a region declared the most irreplaceable natural reserve on earth.
Here, students delve into the world of human development and anthropology by visiting ancient archeological sites, taking part in cross-cultural learning opportunities with Kagumu’s partners in the Arhuaco and Wiwa indigenous communities and learning from expert anthropologists (click here to view our workshops). Students discover the positive and negative social impacts tourism has on native communities and they will work alongside foundations and projects that are helping preserve traditions that date back to the 7th century. Of course, no visit to Santa Marta would be the same without visiting the Lost City - a 4 day adventure through the jungle, crossing waist-high rivers and eventually reaching an archaeological site dating back several hundred years.
Cartagena is one of Colombia’s most iconic cities with its strong Afro-Caribbean population and intriguing history creating a vibrant, coloful, and music-infused atmosphere. It also boasts stunning Spanish colonial architecture inside its city wall; a place so beautiful and rich in history that UNESCO declared it a world heritage site.
Thanks to a clear, easy-to-understand accent, Colombian Spanish is often highly desired by new or lower level learners and Cartagena holds some excellent language institutes. Nueva Lengua, which is located within the Old Town, offers Spanish courses merged with a variety of activities like scuba diving, sailing and dance. Another option would be Centro Catalina that offers Spanish lessons for all levels and the chance to immerse yourself into the culture by staying with a local family.
Colombia’s cities range from the historically rich to the uber cool and from hubs of innovation to places of dance, music and rhythm. Add to this towering Andes peaks, jungle-skirted beaches and unique ecosystems teeming with animal species, and you’ll understand why extensive exploration is a must.
Luckily, Kagumu’s programs include various adventure opportunities, merging the colorful and innovative culture in Medellin to the unique ecosystems adorning the Los Nevados National Park landscape. Students will also get the chance to extend their stay and visit La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, discovering an ancient Lost City and enjoying socially-responsible workshops with our partners in the Arhuaco indigenous community.
Fancy exploring the world’s second most biodiverse country on a study abroad program? Then click here to find out more.
Immersive cultural experiences, breaking down social barriers and being able to apologize for terrible dance skills: a few reasons to choose a Spanish study abroad program.
By Kagumu Adventures Staff
Posted on 13/12/2019
We chat with London-born Jake Macmillian, who enjoyed three different study abroad programs during his Spanish degree at Newcastle University in the UK. Jake currently lives in Medellin, Colombia with his partner and works as the Educational Services Manager at the British Council.
Here are Jake’s top five reasons for studying Spanish abroad.
Full immersion in the local culture
The major advantage of studying Spanish abroad is that you are thinking about the language every day. You start by observing and listening, then you go out and interact with people in the food markets, talk with fellow students on the university campus and go for beers with new friends at night. From breakfast to dinner you are immersed in the language and the progress you can make is huge. I studied in Jerez and Salamanca in Spain and Guadalajara in Mexico. I took classes for 4 hours in the morning then used the language during my free time in the city and on travel adventures.
Break down social barriers
Being able to talk with people in their own language allows you to break down social barriers and understand their lives. You learn that people from different countries and cultures think very similarly to you. Talking with local Mexicans allowed me to become real friends with them. I also got to explain in the British culture, we weren't the bumbling, comedic characters portrayed in TV shows like Fawlty Towers.
Traveling to lesser-known destinations
When you go to a country as a tourist you don’t have time to uncover the lesser-visited places. During my time abroad, I was able to meet local people and explore places that weren’t in the guidebook like local’s houses in rural areas surrounding Oaxaca, where they make traditional mole (a Mexican sauce). The most unique experiences included being invited into a new friend’s house in Guadalajara and learning how to prepare traditional ceviche with his grandma.
I still talk to my friends in Mexico, even though it has been over eight years since I was there! I have been to weddings and stag parties in Mexico and I even met my partner while studying there. So you could say that I made some good connections. Being on a university campus was great to meet other like-minded people and I discovered some really great community projects this way. And of course, every conversation was in Spanish. I remember being immensely proud when I was able to ask my friend’s grandma to dance at a wedding and then being able to apologize to her in Spanish afterwards.
Improving your language skills, quickly!
It’s obvious to say but when you study language at home, you just learn the theory. You learn what to say in the supermarket but you don’t practise until you go on a summer holiday to Tenerife. During my study abroad program I would learn the practical language in the classroom and then use it that same day, whether it was asking for directions or telling a story. You also learn to make mistakes and laugh at the mistakes. This makes you improve and it’s really good fun. I would learn a local phrase and then see how everyone loved it when I slipped it into a conversation. For example, I would answer the phone and say mande which is like saying “come again” in English. Coming from a foreigner they found this most amusing. But, they LOVED it.
Jake’s top tip for studying abroad: my top piece of advice for making the most out of a study abroad program would be to say yes to things you’d not usually accept. If someone invites you to dinner at their house, don’t think about it, just say yes. You never know what will happen. That changed everything for me. You realize the generosity of people and find yourself in the middle of a family Christmas celebration without even realizing it.