Chinese school expeditionBlog

Student led expeditions

"Student led" or "pre-organised" expeditions:

The "student led" approach delivered by expedition providers offers an excellent personal development programme. However, there are also unique and great benefits in arranging travel in a more "conventional" way.

Many of the best adventure tour operators do not, usually, offer the student led approach. However, it is often these very companies that have been experts in a region or activity the longest. Using their services means accessing a wealth of specialist knowledge and expertise that can add an extra dimension to a trip and enable pupils to gain more from the country being visited. Take China as an example:

China is a relatively new offering within the student led expedition world, with most expedition providers offering a maximum of 3 or 4 seasons experience. In contrast, one of our tour operators for China is a real specialist. They have been taking thousands of clients to remote corners of China for nearly 25 years; providing unique trekking opportunities, meaningful project work, expert local guides and a thorough immersion into Chinese culture - all planned with the benefit of decades of experience.

Even when taking the tour operator approach, pupils can get involved in much of the planning and execution of the trip: daily budgets, visas, inoculations and fundraising need to be arranged, individual roles and expedition rules need to be established, as well as fitness programmes, communication networks and kit all thoroughly planned. Where required, pre-trip training (adventurous and/or team-building) can also be provided through our Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (AALA) regulated partners.

The question "Why go on an expedition?" should also be asked: If it is to experience foreign cultures and taste adventure, to meet the locals, challenge your pre-conceptions, test you physically, emotionally and mentally, to see extraordinary landscapes and to push your comfort zones, as well as to develop teamwork, friendships and maturity, then this is all possible with a specialist operator.

So, is the extra expense associated with a student led/expedition provider approach matched by an increase in the benefits gained? Some argue yes, others no. The benefits are not always directly comparable.

Contact us to discuss the pros and cons of what is best for your school or college.