How to Travel from Your Couch

If you’re anything like us, staying at home – though necessary – is taking a toll on your inner wanderer. Trips have been canceled for the foreseeable future, but getting on a plane isn’t the only way to explore cities and cultures. There’s ways to travel that don’t even involve getting off your couch. So if you’re itching for a new experiences but you’re unsure how to have them, you’re in luck: we’ve rounded up the best resources for the phenomenon known as “armchair travel.” Let’s get exploring!

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Ivan checking out the view | Photo By: Maria O’Neal

Nature

National Parks

In need of a dose of the great outdoors? The National Park Service is offering 360-degree exploration of National Parks across the country. See the beautiful views and learn about the plants and animals that reside in places like Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Canyon.

Scuba Diving

For wrecks or species you’ve always wanted to discover around the world, this site allows you to go deep underwater without getting wet or worrying about your air tank. Choose one of the marine sanctuaries and dive in.winterline, gap year, scuba, virtual travel

Museums

The Louvre

The Mona Lisa is right at your fingertips! Let your browser take you to the famous Louvre Museum in Paris, and click through their beautiful galleries to examine art spanning ages and cultures.

National Museum of Natural History

Work your way through this Smithsonian museum to see past, current, and permanent exhibits like the Hall of Fossils, to Objects of Wonder, to the timely Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World.

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Photo By: The National Museum of Natural History

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

One of New York City (and the world)’s most famous museums, the Met has 26 virtual exhibits for you to explore. Of course, you can’t leave this museum without ogling the fashion-forward looks from the last Met Gala!

The Van Gogh Museum

Whether you’re already a fan of Van Gogh or you’re looking to learn more about this painter, this Amsterdam museum is the place to go. Go ahead and view over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and 750 personal letters. There’s even exhibits on the books Van Gogh read and on his love life.

Monuments and Heritage Sites

Machu Picchu

Hiking the Inca Trail is a bucket-list worthy adventure, but you don’t have to fly to Peru to see Machu Picchu anymore. These ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a spectacular backdrop, and a virtual narrator has all the historical information you need to know.

Acropolis of Athens

These Greek ruins are a must-see for any history lover. The buildings at the Acropolis of Athens include the world-famous Parthenon and the Temple of Athena Nike. Head over to examine these monuments and learn about their origins.

The Vatican 

You don’t have to be an artist to appreciate the iconic Sistine Chapel – and you don’t have to be in Vatican City to see it! The Vatican Museums are offering virtual tours for visitors to see the artwork amassed by the Roman Catholic Church and the Papacy. Heads up: this site requires a VR headset to view the images properly.

Taj Mahal

See this spectacular cultural landmark in India without bumping into other visitors. The mausoleum, another UNESCO World Heritage site, is considered of the most magnificent architectural achievements. You’ll definitely want to see it for yourself.

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Justin at the Taj Mahal | Photo By: Liam McIlwain

Easter Island

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an island located off Chile and is famous for its enormous statues called moai. Easter Island is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world, so this virtual tour is a great opportunity to see an unbelievable historical attraction that you might otherwise never visit.

The Great Wall of China

Walk the longest structure ever built by humans in just a few minutes, and see it all in perspective. You can’t visit China without seeing the Great Wall, but thanks to technology, you can now see the Great Wall without visiting China.

Out of this World

Even Hogwarts?

Harry Potter fans, rejoice. There are 360-degree virtual tours available for some of the filming locations used in the Harry Potter films, specifically Gloucester Cathedral in England and the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. Go ahead and immerse yourself in these magical places to pass a little time in the home of your favorite wizards.

And Mars!

How about a trip you can’t take from anywhere else? Mars may not be accessible yet for humans, but NASA’s letting you see what a trip is like through the eyes of the Curiosity Rover. Get ready for blast off!

And so much more…winterline, gap year, virtual travel

If you’re still looking for more or need some inspiration on where to “travel” next, check out this comprehensive guide from Condé Nast Traveler. You’re sure to find someplace new to explore! Thinking of somewhere in particular? Try searching for the name of the location + “virtual tour” to see if it exists.

Photos of the Week 3/6

In honor of Winterline’s first program in Africa, we’ve decided to focus this week’s blog exclusively on the incredible photos from Rwanda! Squad 3 has been having an incredible time exploring the town and bonding with the locals through their homestays. This week, the students used some of their free time to go on safari and see beautiful animals up close and personal. See for yourself!

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Safari selfie
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Squad 3 on safari
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Giraffe in Rwanda
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Safari ready
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Elephant close up
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Zebras, too | Photo By: Whitfield Smith
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Leon and James on safari
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Whit and James on safari
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A cow full of love | Photo By: Emma Macfayden
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Rwandan homestay | Photo By: Emma Macfayden
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Emma with her host family and FA Hillevi
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Walks in Rwanda
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Emma and FA Hillevi with host mother
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Ashley and Lauren with Rwandan hosts
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Lauren hanging out with the kids
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Bonding with the kids
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Lauren in Rwanda
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Carter in Rwanda | Photo By: Micah Zimmerman
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Strolling through town
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James and Micah preparing dinner
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Streets of Rwanda | Photo By: Leon Louw
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City views | Photo By: Leon Louw
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Learning from the locals | Photo By: Emmie Daswani
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Sherly, Alexandra, and Emmie in Rwanda
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Making friends | Photo By: Emmie Daswani
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FA James with Carter, Eli, and their desserts
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Group photo!
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A local dressmaker at the market | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Dinner duty | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Time for washing | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Homestay in Rwanda | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Alexandra with her weaving

If you’re interested in living this journey for yourself, apply now for our 2020-2021 gap year. Want the experience, but unable to dedicate a whole year for travel? Then join our Latin America semester this fall! It’s never too early to start thinking about your future.

Photos of the Week 2/28

Happy Friday! This week, Squad 1 is off the grid trekking the foothills of the Himalayas in Northern India. Before taking off on this adventure, the students got a course in disaster medicine from the Hanifl Centre. Last week, Squad 2 went through this course, so we’re excited to share photos from their experience. Check out the gorgeous mountain views and examples of life-saving techniques!

Meanwhile, we’re thrilled that, for the first time ever, our students are in Rwanda! Squad 3 is onto the Africa portion of their gap year; after Rwanda, they’re headed to South Africa. For now, the students are living in homestays and exploring the culture of Kigali through artisan skills like cooking and baking, dance, and farming. Stay tuned to keep up with their adventures!

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Zoe, Alyssa, and Lauren in Bangkok
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A biker in India | Photo By: Liam McIlwain
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Squad 3 boys playing soccer in Rwanda | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Rwandan village | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Views in Rwanda | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Views in Rwanda | Photo By: Sherly Budiman
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Rwanda at dusk | Photo By: Sherly Budiman
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Sightseeing in Rwanda | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Bikers in Rwanda | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Street views in Rwanda | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Pablo and Eli at the Taj Mahal | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Jared, Justin, Liam and Veronica at the Old Delhi Food Walk | Photo By: Devin Duffy
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Howling monkey | Photo By: Lucas Massolo
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Liam at the Taj Mahal
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Lauren with her marble inlay project | Photo By: Devin Duffy
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Lauren with her decorated cake | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Justin at the Taj Mahal | Photo By: Liam McIlwain
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Jason, Lauren, and Zoe | Photo By: Jessica Castellan
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Liam, Alyssa, Jessica, and Jason showing off their boots | Photo By: Jessica Castellan
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Views from the Indian Himalaya | Photo By: Jessica Castellan
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Himalayan views | Photo By: Alyssa Copham
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Alyssa in the Himalaya
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Himalayan views | Photo By: Alyssa Copham
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Squad 3 baking dessert | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Disaster medicine training at the Hanifl Centre
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Disaster medicine training at the Hanifl Centre
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Disaster medicine training at the Hanifl Centre
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Disaster medicine training at the Hanifl Centre
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Desserts made by Squad 3 | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Alexandra decorating a cake
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Leon, Eli, Alexandra and James ready to bake
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Bollywood dance class | Photo By: Devin Duffy
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Bollywood dance class | Photo By: Devin Duffy
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Bangkok at night | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson

If you’re interested in living this journey for yourself, apply now for our 2020-2021 gap year. Want the experience, but unable to dedicate a whole year for travel? Then join our Latin America semester this fall! It’s never too early to start thinking about your future.

Photos of the Week 2/14

Our three squads are spread across three different countries this week, and they’re each practicing different skills. Squad 1 is nearing the end of their time in Cambodia, where they took a class in bicycle maintenance before riding to Angkor Wat. They also took a class at Phare Circus School, then split up to pursue advanced skills. Our students had a choice between a 5-day meditation retreat, bicycle touring in Battambang, or getting an Advanced Open Water SCUBA certified off the coast.

Meanwhile, Squad 2 is in Nan, Thailand, where they learned the sport of Muay Thai boxing! The students also got to practice weaving and pottery, and spent some free time exploring the beauty of the countryside. Finally, Squad 3 is in Northern India, where they’ll be trekking the foothills of the Himalayas. Before taking off on this adventure, the students are getting a course in disaster medicine from the Hanifl Centre. It sure has been a busy and exciting week: see for yourself through the eyes (and photos) of our students!

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Zoe learning bike maintenance | Photo By: Liam McIlwain
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Streets of Thailand | Photo By: Alyssa Copham
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Jason and Alyssa practice Muay Thai
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City views in Bangkok | Photo By: Alyssa Copham
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Temple ruins | Photo By: Liam McIlwain
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Liam learns to weave
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Lauren weaves textiles | Photo By: Liam McIlwain
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Justin and Liam learn bike maintenance
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Moriah, Josh, and Jacob go for a ride on a bamboo train
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Jared learns bike maintenance | Photo By: Liam McIlwain
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Jacob and Moriah learn Khmer dancing
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Jackson weaves textiles | Photo By: Liam McIlwain
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James and Leon at the Taj Mahal
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Taking in views of India | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Disaster medicine training at the Hanifl Centre
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Disaster medicine training at the Hanifl Centre
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Disaster medicine training at the Hanifl Centre
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Emma in India
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Lauren and Lucas at Ecole Paul Dubrule
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Cooking at Ecole Paul Dubrule
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Squad 2 at Ecole Paul Dubrule
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Squad 1 at Angkor Wat
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Josh, James, and Peyton at Angkor Wat
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Josh and Moriah at the temples
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Squad 1 at Phare Circus School
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Josh and Jacob at Phare Circus School
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Weaving in Thailand | Photo By: Liam McIlwain
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Alyssa and Veronica at Muay Thai practice
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Squad 2 at Muay Thai practice
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Squad 2 biking in Bangkok

If you’re interested in living this journey for yourself, apply now for our 2020-2021 gap year. Want the experience, but unable to dedicate a whole year for travel? Then join our Latin America semester this fall! It’s never too early to start thinking about your future.

Photos of the Week 2/7

This week, our students have been taking in the jaw-dropping beauty of the Taj Mahal and the grandiosity of the Angkor Wat temple complex. But they’ve been learning, too: creating marble inlays and vision boards, practicing advanced scuba diving, and cooking up a storm. The diversity of skills and culture across Southeast Asia and India are sure to be lifechanging for our students – see for yourself!

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Vision boards created by our students
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Glorious Taj Mahal | Photo By: Whitfield Smith
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Squad 3 at the Taj Mahal
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Lauren at the Taj Mahal
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Justin in Cambodia
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Carter and Micah at the Taj Mahal
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Indian flag
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Carter and Eli at the Taj Mahal
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Pablo and Eli at the Taj Mahal | Photo By: Micah Zimmerman
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Lauren in India
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Sleepy kitty | Photo By: Leon Louw
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Advanced scuba | Photo By: Alyssa Copham
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Swinging in the sun
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Chef’s selfie | Photo By: Justin Newman
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Justin cooking
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Squad 2 boys
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Jason getting ready for scuba
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Squad 2 in the kitchen
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Cooking lessons
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Jared and Liam prepping ingredients
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Jackson and Zoe
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Cambodian dive shop | Photo By: Jason Thomas
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Adventures at Angkor Wat
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Jason on the road
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Temple hideouts
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Angkor Wat | Photo By: Jason Thomas
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Nighttime views in Cambodia | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Jackson at a waterfall
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Golden Buddhas | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Angkor Wat | Photo By: Jason Thomas
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Cambodian beaches | Photo By: Jason Thomas
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Lauren swinging

If you’re interested in living this journey for yourself, apply now for our 2020-2021 gap year. Want the experience, but unable to dedicate a whole year for travel? Then join our Latin America semester this fall! It’s never too early to start thinking about your future.