Travel Stories of far

An insight into the STC Expeditions of summer 2018. Lessons learned and food for thought...

It's almost the end of the holidays and with our summer teams all safely home, we at STC Expeditions are enjoying a bit of down time. In this 'calm before the storm' before the madness of the return to school and our 2020 adventures are launched, we look back on what our clients have achieved so far this year and what we, as a company, can learn from those who travel with us.

See what the teams have been up to below!

Achievements so far:

In no particular order, quick figures from STC Expeditions so far this year...

  • 9.74/10 average rating  for our fantastic STC Leaders, as judged by teachers and students
  • 322 responsible travellers  exploring the world
  • 637 km trekked  on mountain, jungle & desert trails
  • 60% of students  fundraised for their expedition
  • 1 TraveLife Certification  achieved
  • 40 teachers  introduced to the magic of Morocco on a funded FAM trip in February
  • 17 PADI divers  newly qualified
  • 5,812m Himalayan peak summited  by 9 students and 2 teachers
  • 2 water tanks  built for villages in Borneo
  • 12 elephants bathed, cared for & not ridden
  • £3,200 donated  to carbon offsetting
  • 1560 cups  of Chai tea drank in India

A Students' Perspective

Thoughts from students recently returned from an unforgettable India Expedition:

Would you recommend this to a friend? ''It's an unbelievable, incredibly interesting experience, which you would be a fool to miss.''

Trip highlight? ''The community project was an amazing experience and is something everyone should do.'' 

What surprised you most? ''Pemba's amazingness'' (Pemba was their awesome Indian STC Leader!)

What did you like least about the destination? ''Having to leave Pemba.''

What have you learnt? ''Nothing in my life has changed at the moment except I have a better understanding of the life outside England and Buddhism. I hope my lifestyle will change when I get home.''

Are you a more responsible traveller? ''I want to start living with less plastic and I would like to start training to go hiking overseas in a few years. This trip has definitely made me more adventurous.''

Have you been inspired to travel? ''I was very nervous before the trip as I wasn't sure what to expect, however, I experienced things I'd never normally do and feel this style of travel has opened many doors for my travels in the future.''

Teacher Thoughts

Another 2-3 weeks with students in your holiday... is it worth it? The teachers we work with think it is.

''Fantastic expedition! Really challenged the students both physically and mentally. It was amazing watching the students bond and mature over the course of the expedition. This is my second expedition with STC and again I feel I've had the opportunity to watch the students I teach develop into compassionate and supportive world travellers.'' M.W. Alcester Grammar, Borneo.

''After the wild camp night, one girl said 'I will never be scared of anything ever again'! Fantastic trip - seeing wild orangutans was incredible.'' D.W. SGGS, Borneo.

''Overwhelmingly it was a fantastic trip, well organised and a superb experience.'' I.Y. Alcester Grammar, Borneo.

''Friendly, organised, ethical, caring, good fun, realistic, honest, safe, enthusiastic, humble, knowledgeable, respectful... I could go on and on.'' D.S. Abbotsholme, India.

''Tiring but a very good trip which will provide lasting & wonderful memories in the girls.'' J.M. Withington Girls School, China.

''The students gained so much from it, experiencing three contrasting cities and visiting all of the highlights of China. Our in country leader was flexible and attentive to the needs of the group.'' D.B. Withington Girls School, China.

''Thank you for a fantastic experience. We had a wonderful time and have been highly impressed with the STC.'' K.W. Kings High Warwick, Azores.

''Our local leader was exemplary in every way; friendly, knowledgeable and helpful.'' D.B. Wellington College, Rwanda.

You spoke - we listened.

The season's not yet over and we've already made improvements to our services following suggestions from clients, for example:

More specific kit advice (each school is now provided with both a Kit List specific to their trip and a Kit Guide with general advice to outdoor kit)

Stricter rules on avoiding plastic (in some countries it is hard to break the practice of dishing out single use plastic water bottles to groups. We are stepping up our Travellers Against Plastic policies in country and changed the way we deliver advice about using water purification bottles like Water-to-Go, Lifestraw and AquaPure. 

Fresh itineraries (with a growing group of loyal teachers keen to offer their students new and exciting destinations to visit, we have been busy creating new itineraries. Check out our new Thailand trip - the Crazy Horse Elephant Adventure!)

Up for Discussion

We'd love to hear your thoughts on these topical issues that popped up over the summer.

  • Construction projects - are we (school groups) a help or hindrance to local builders/tradesmen on these projects? 
  • Cultural sensitivity - how else can we encourage students to dress appropriately? 
  • Tipping - each year we ask our in country agents for updated tipping advice for guides, porters, cooks and drivers. This is often the centre of much debate in country - how have you managed these conservations and turned them into learning opportunities for your students?

Thank you to all our clients who have travelled with us this summer - both teachers and students - it's been a pleasure.