Experience nomadic culture, ancient traditions, and contemporary issues in Mongolia on this high school summer abroad program. Participate in the daily life of a nomadic pastoral community and discover how nomadic traditions inform life in urban areas. Visit important Buddhist pilgrimage sites, take lessons in traditional Mongolian arts, and learn how to live in a ger—a round, felt-lined tent. At the famous Naadam festival, the biggest national festival in Mongolia, observe competitions in horsemanship, wrestling, and archery.
During your orientation in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital, you’ll experience urban Mongolia, take lessons in throat singing and morin khuur playing, and begin your Mongolian language study. In the mountainous Hovsgol province, complete a community service project such as painting or teaching English to local students. Trek on horseback to the ancient, pristine Lake Hovsgol, the second largest freshwater lake in Asia.
Next, the program will take you to Mongolia’s open grasslands to experience rural life during a homestay with a nomadic pastoral herder family. Help your host family tend livestock and learn from them how to cook traditional meals, prepare various dairy products, and ride horseback. Your Mongolia Experiment will draw to a close at the edge of the Gobi Desert, where you’ll see Buddhist temples and meditation caves and learn about Danzan Ravjaa, known as the Lama of the Gobi, at the important pilgrimage site Hamriin Hiid. Venture into the desert on camels and spend the night sleeping in a ger under the desert sky.
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Experience the natural beauty of Argentina through a month of cultural immersion, outdoor activities, and community service. Begin your high school summer abroad in Argentina’s capital, where you and your group will explore the city’s art galleries, theaters, and boulevards and start practicing your Spanish. Sail by catamaran to the city’s surrounding islands to learn about the region’s ecology and biosystems.
From Buenos Aires, travel to colonial Salta La Linda, capital of the Salta province, on Argentina’s northern frontier, where you'll spend two weeks sharing day-to-day life with an Argentine host family. During this period, work on a community service project such as volunteering at a center for children with developmental disabilities or helping to renovate an orphanage or kindergarten. Study Spanish in language classes with other members of your group and learn about local gaucho culture. Go hiking or white-water rafting. Continue on to the small town of Chicoana, just south of the city of Salta, where you'll assist on service learning activities such as painting or landscaping.
Then, embark on a week of outdoor exploration with your group and leaders. Ride horseback, stay on a large ranch, and enjoy traditional barbeque. Travel through the mountains to the city of Cafayate, stopping at famous rock formations. In Cafayate, take a bike tour of the city and then ride to the sand dunes. Return to Buenos Aires for a final day of exploration and reflection.
Orientation: Buenos Aires, 4 days
Homestay: Salta,* 14 days
Other Accommodations: Hotels, campsite, hostels
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Spend a summer abroad experiencing different marine environments and regional cultures as you travel from the coastal city of La Paz — situated between desert mountains and the Gulf of California — to the Yucatán Peninsula on this program for high school students. Meet with marine biologists, researchers, and guides in La Paz. Learn about the history of human and animal habitation in the peninsula. Snorkel among coral reefs, observing sea lions in their natural habitats, on the beautiful island of Espíritu Santo, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. During this period, you live with a Mexican family, which opens up amazing windows into Mexican culture. Take advantage of continuous opportunities for Spanish language study while experiencing the region’s incredible natural environments and regional culture with host family members.
As the program moves to the Yucatán in southeastern Mexico — from desert to jungle — you experience a completely different natural environment. Learn about pearl farming on the island of Cozumel and witness ongoing ecosystem restoration efforts through the installation of artificial reefs. Take a late-night beach walk to watch giant sea turtles laying eggs on the sand. Travel to Akumal beach for a guided snorkel excursion with sea turtles and manta rays. Witness the region’s strong Maya cultural influence, and visit the Maya archaeological ruins at Coba or Tulum.
The program begins and ends in Mexico City, giving you time to deepen your knowledge of Mexico’s culture, history, and food from the vantage point of the country’s expansive capital city. Visit the Zócalo, Catedral Metropolitana de la Asunción de María, or Frida Kahlo Museum, or take a walking tour of the old city.
Orientation: Mexico City, 3–4 days
Homestay: La Paz, 11–12 days
Other Accommodations: Hotels, eco-lodge, ranch