GROUND’s journeys are developed with the objective of transforming young travelers through positive experiences. Building leadership skills, resilience, and cross-cultural connections are the foundation of this transformation.
They say that travel is the best form of education – and it’s easy to see why. You have to get accustomed to every new environment. Every challenging scenario weathered and every decision made is a reflection of the skills we need in everyday life. It’s a lesson in how to communicate, tolerate and innovate; all skills that great leaders share.
For a young person, being involved in a local community project is an incredibly powerful experience and an opportunity to look for leadership within themselves. Whether it be helping to construct a new toilet block, building a playground for school children or teaching basic English lessons, the time spent on project has the ability to not only build confidence in one’s abilities, but it can change one’s outlook on life for many years to come.
Resilience comes from adapting successfully to profound change, especially involving hardship or difficulty in things we normally take for granted. Stepping out of one’s comfort zone can be very stressful and stimulates not only shock, frustration, and fatigue, but also self-reflection, inspiration, and triumph a cycle of reactions that can go forward and backward, up and down, fast and slow. Building resilience is a challenge to our emotional, intellectual, moral and cultural values, and it all starts with change.
While participating in one of GROUND’s journeys, travelers are likely to find themselves immersed in unfamiliar or difficult circumstances because of cultural differences and lifestyle changes. However, the most satisfying personal growth is often achieved by positively dealing with a host of stressful situations while adapting to a larger world-view of cultural norms. Building resilience means developing a reservoir of personal strength based on self-reflection, an attitude of flexibility and tolerance, and remaining open to the challenges and positive effects of change.
GROUND’s journeys blend together countless aspects of cross-cultural relationships by encouraging travelers to cooperate both within and outside of the team. Travelers will overcome language barriers, establish strong personal relationships and open their minds to new possibilities by being guests in a completely unknown environment. As they progress through their journey both cultural and socio-economic boundaries fade away, leaving space for collaboration, understanding, and empathy.
These factors open opportunities for students to develop their interpersonal skills through cross-cultural communication, which can later be applied to various aspects of life, and also help understand different cultural contexts and the way they can influence people’s attitudes, beliefs, and values.