Round-the-World 2022

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April 2021 Update: The Round-the-World trip has been cancelled due to ongoing uncertainty in global travel restrictions. Thanks for your interest, and we hope to resurrect this trip again concept again some day!

Six countries. Seven weeks. One adventure of a lifetime.

How much of your life is actually under your control, and how much is a result of time, place, and culture?

If you’re from North America, then you’ve grown up in an exceptionally good place to be a homeschooler, unschooler, or alternative school student. But what if you were born somewhere else in the world? What would your life and education look like? Would you be the same person you are today?

We’ll explore these questions by traveling—quite literally—around the world. Welcome to the most ambitious trip that Unschool Adventures has ever offered: Round-the-World 2022.

Note: This trip was previously scheduled for 2021. We pushed it back an entire year due to the pandemic.


7 weeks from mid-January to early March 2022


Thailand, India, Israel, Germany, Brazil, USA


9-13 participants (ages 14-19, flexible)


Ari Kosel & Jack Copland


$7,750 plus flights & lunches (see FAQ)

Applications Closed

Dang Covid :(

Unschool Adventures with a school in Nepal, 2014

Trip Purposes

Every Unschool Adventures trip is created with specific purposes in mind. Here’s what we’ll set out to accomplish.

Looking through other people’s eyes

What’s it like to grow up in Thailand, India, Israel, Germany, and Brazil? What’s expected of kids and teenagers there? How much freedom do they have? What kinds of opportunities await them as adults? What kinds of school alternatives exist? And how, exactly, do these cultures define education?

The term “education” may sound boring, but don’t be fooled. This trip is a chance to dive into fascinating questions like:

  • What does unschooling mean in countries like India or Thailand where many people still struggle to access quality primary schooling?
  • How much can self-directed learning be integrated into the public school system, as Israel has attempted?
  • When homeschooling is illegal, like in Germany, what are your options if you truly dislike school?

We’ll answer these questions by meeting young people—both inside and outside of schools—and by talking with educators (both traditional and alternative) in each country.

Sometimes these meetings will be scheduled and formal (like when we interview someone as a group), and sometimes they will be unscheduled and informal (like when we see some friendly-looking young people in the in a public place and start chatting with them). Sometimes you may be called upon to talk about your own education and upbringing, either formally (like a scheduled presentation about unschooling that we give to a school) or informally (like when a teenager asks you, “so you don’t go to school?”). Almost always, you won’t be having these conversations alone—your fellow teens and trip leaders will be there to back you up.

Make no mistake: this will be an intensive amount of learning in short amount of time! To help make sense of it all, we’ll debrief and share our experiences each evening with trip leader-facilitated discussions. We’ll ask each other hard questions, respectfully challenge each other’s beliefs, and push toward the truth.

By the end of this adventure, you’ll return home with a strong understanding of what “education” means and how you fit into the global picture. By looking through other people’s eyes, you will change how you see the world—and therefore how you see yourself.

Making new friends

On this adventure we will prioritize meeting other teenagers, both conventionally and unconventionally educated. This is a chance to make new friends all across the world: friends you might stay in touch with, friends who might visit one day, or friends who might invite you to visit!

The trip leaders’ job will be to find good social opportunities, and your job will be to make the most of them. If you have some social anxiety, don’t worry, because this is a team effort. It also helps to remember: You are super interesting to foreign teenagers! Why? Because you are a teen who doesn’t go to regular school, who’s traveling around the world, and who is curious about them. With a setup like this, you’re bound to make positive connections!

We will also strive to offer a few homestay experiences on this trip, in which you’ll get to spend a few nights with the families of the new people we meet. Short-term homestays are tricky to setup for large groups—and we always want to keep everyone within a safe distance so that trip leaders remain accessible—so we can’t guarantee homestays, but we’ll try hard to make them happen.

Unschool Adventures with high schooler students in Salta, Argentina, 2012

Doing A Bit of Touristy Stuff

On this adventure we’ll be visiting some famous capital cities, and while we will do a little bit of touristy sight-seeing, our primary mission will be to meet teenagers and explore systems of education. Mentally prepare yourself to not see everything that the guidebook tells you to see—because we’re on a mission!

Honing your independent travel skills

Every Unschool Adventure is designed to build independent travel skills by giving its participants more freedom and responsibility than the typical organized teen travel program. On this trip you’ll enjoy lots of time to wander around cities (only the safe parts, of course) with fellow participants, attempt to communicate in unfamiliar languages, and get to know new people of all ages. You’ll walk from this trip as a more knowledgeable, confident, and savvy traveler: someone ready to embark upon your own adventures in the not-too-distant future.

Where We’ll Go

We’ll spend one full week in each of the following cities or the surrounding area. We won’t finalize the schools and organizations we’ll be visiting until a few months before departure, but here are a few representative possibilities.

Bangkok, Thailand – Moo Ban Dek
New Delhi, India – Butterflies
Tel Aviv, Israel – Democratic School of Hadera
Berlin, Germany – Demokratische Schule X
Sao Paulo, Brazil – Projeto Âncora
Boston, USA – Bay State Learning Center

Everyday Activities

Here’s what a typical day on this trip will look like:

  • Breakfast provided by UA & morning check-in
  • All-group activity (e.g., school visit)
  • Lunch (your choice)
  • Free time for exploring, sight-seeing, etc.
  • Dinner provided by UA
  • Evening group check-in, meeting, and discussion
  • Evening free time for relaxing, socializing, etc.

Unschool Adventures in Chile, 2011

Affording This Adventure

This is the most ambitious trip that we’ve ever offered, and it’s also the most expensive (considering both the program fee and airfare). Here are a few tips for affording this trip:

  • Start saving now! We’re purposefully advertising this trip far ahead of time in order to give you time to save for a large investment. Teens: the time to get a job is now :)
  • Plan a fundraising campaign. U.A. director Blake Boles wrote a short guidebook (here) about raising money for travel through crowdfunding. Following this advice, previous U.A. teens have raised multiple thousands of dollars toward their adventures! If you take a similar path, Blake will personally help you fine-tune your campaign for maximum success.
  • Apply for a $1000 work-trade. We’re offering two work-trade positions on this trip: one for a photographer, another for a videographer. Your mission will be to document the trip. If you have experience with taking high-quality photos or producing short videos, you can ask for one of these positions after getting accepted to the trip. Each work-trade offers a $1000 program fee reduction.

Former U.A. participant Oscar, cheering you on

Frequently Asked Questions

Hey, there’s a pandemic! What are your thoughts about that?

This trip was originally scheduled to depart in January 2021. In April 2020 we made the decision to postpone the trip an entire year in order to better understand and mitigate the risks of travel, which will continue to evolve alongside the Covid-19 pandemic. We are hopeful that we will have a better picture of the feasibility of this trip by Spring 2021. We encourage you to apply and boldly move forward with us!

How much is the airfare? What are the additional costs?

The $7750 Unschool Adventures program fee includes:

  • Breakfasts and dinners
  • All accommodation and ground transport
  • All UA-sponsored group activities
  • Laundry (once a week)
  • Trip t-shirt

In addition to the $7750 program fee, participant costs include:

  • Group airfare purchased through the U.A. travel specialist, estimated at $2900-$3400 (subject to fluctuation until we lock in our group contract, around summer 2021)
  • Domestic airfare (purchased independently) to Los Angeles and from Boston (for the start and end of the trip)
  • An international mobile data plan for your phone, so you can stay in touch with the group via Whatsapp
  • Personal budget for lunches and snacks (we suggest $5-$10 per day)
  • Personal budget for souvenirs, toiletries, and activities that are not sponsored by UA (your discretion)
  • International entrance visa fees (anticipated to be a few hundred dollars maximum)

Who are the trip leaders?

Ari Kosel and Jack Copland are the trip leaders. Learn more about them here.

Blake Boles intends to join one leg of the trip as a guest.

Why are you visiting these specific countries? Might they change?

We chose our route through Thailand, India, Israel, Germany, Brazil, and the US for a number of different reasons. First, safety. We only choose destinations that are approved by the US State Department. Second, round-the-world airfare is expensive. By sticking to the busiest airports, we’re keeping our travels costs as low as possible.

Third, we want to offer a full diversity of languages, cultures, income levels, and educational systems. The countries selected do that quite well.

Fourth, we’re focusing on destinations with established alternative education organizations that would be open to meeting with us. When designing this trip, Blake consulted with Jerry Mintz of AERO to form the itinerary.

Finally, we chose places that will have decent—maybe even great!—winter weather. Okay, Germany and Boston will be cold… but the others may be lovely!

It is possible that we may change 1-2 of the destinations if airfare costy, safety conditions, or other significant factors arise between now and when we secure our group airfare contract in early 2020. (That is also when we will finalize the trip dates.)

How will everyone stay rested and avoid burn-out?

If you’re asking yourself, Will I be exhausted and jet-lagged all the time?—we share your concern! And we have a plan.

This trip will be a marathon, not a sprint. To manage our energy levels and avoid burn-out, we will:

  • take one sacred rest day in each country: no school visits, no obligations: just eating, sleeping, and hanging out (but if you do have lots of energy, you’re free to go out!)
  • let you opt out of all-group activities if you’re feeling especially tired
  • take it easy on travel days; we won’t “hit the ground running” right after a long flight
  • check-in every night about our energy levels and modify our itinerary as necessary to avoid burn-out

Jet-lag will undoubtedly be a challenge when we cross the Pacific and Atlantic (which are 7-10 hour time zone shifts), but aside from those flights, our time zone changes will be more manageable (1-4 hours each).

The bottom-line is: Yes, this will be an intensive amount of travel. Yes, you may develop a newfound love for coffee. No, we won’t drive each other mad with exhaustion. Yes, it will be worth it.

How will my child stay in touch with loved ones at home?

The world is a very connected place now. We will have wifi access in virtually every location, although it may not always be fast. Participants can expect to be able to to send messages and emails everywhere we go, unless we’re visiting a more rural school for the day. Additionally, we ask that everyone brings a phone with an international mobile data plan, so that’s even more coverage—even if you may sometimes not have reception.

What will the accommodations be like?

We’ll typically stay in youth hostels with bunk rooms (4-6 beds per room) and shared bathrooms. Teen participants may share rooms with participants of other genders or with trip leaders, but they never share rooms with strangers. We only stay in well-reviewed youth hostels.

We will also strive to offer a few homestay experiences on this trip, in which you’ll get to spend a few nights with the families of the new people we meet. Short-term homestays are tricky to setup for large groups—and we always want to keep everyone within a safe distance so that trip leaders remain accessible—so we can’t guarantee homestays, but we’ll try hard to make them happen.

Can the teen participants go anywhere and do anything in their free time?

Unschool Adventures gives its participants more freedom, responsibility, and opportunities for self-direction than the typical trip-leading company. We’re also still responsible for their safety, which is why we have a few non-negotiable guidelines for unsupervised time:

  • When you go out, we ask you to stay in groups of 3 or larger. No solo wandering, sorry! (We do make an exception for very short trips around the block.)
  • We require you to spend the night in UA-sponsored residences, and we sometimes won’t let you go out in small groups after dark if we feel it’s too risky.
  • While we don’t have formal bedtimes, we do ask that you act like responsible young adults. If we see that you’re not getting enough sleep to participate in our group activities, we’ll firmly request that you get your act together.
  • We have zero-tolerance rules about alcohol and drug consumption or possession.
  • Potentially dangerous free-time activities (including seemingly harmless activities like bike-riding and swimming) always require trip leader approval, and we don’t always say yes.

How does U.A. manage the risks of letting teenagers independently explore large cities?

If you’re nervous about the thought of letting your child wander around New Delhi, Bangkok, Tel Aviv, Berlin, or Sao Paulo—we understand! And please know that we have more than a decade of experience in safely facilitating this kind of exploration, in cities such as Buenos Aires, Barcelona, Bangkok, and Kathmandu.

First of all, your child will never be walking around cities totally on their own—see the “Can I go anywhere and do anything during my free time?” FAQ above. We require that all participants stay in groups of 3+ and have at least one phone with them. (We do make an exception for the “one person / one block” rule which allows a participant to quickly run down to a corner grocery store, for example, which is on the same block as our residence.)

Secondly, we’re not doing this blindly. We only allow participants to independently explore areas that are known to be tourist-friendly, and only during the day. The majority of uncomfortable incidents happen at night, in the wrong neighborhoods—so that’s what we avoid. (To know which areas are okay, we rely upon local contacts as well as time-tested guidebooks.)

Finally, we encourage you to consider the risk of letting your teen independently explore any large city, whether in North America or abroad. There are always risks involved with such travel; we believe the biggest ones can be mitigated with clear rules and consistent communication. The personal growth and empowerment that comes from this kind of independent exploration is huge—we’ve seen it over and over again. That growth comes with normal risks.

If you have further concerns, we’ll happily address them: write to anytime.

What’s the shower, bathroom, and drinking water situation?

We’ll have warm showers and western-style toilets available everywhere we stay. In countries where tap water isn’t safe to drink (Thailand, India, maybe elsewhere), Unschool Adventures will provide purified drinking water.

Do I need any special visas or vaccinations?

Our group travel specialist will take care of visas, although you might need to fill out a few forms. There may be some small fees associated with obtaining visitor’s visas.

Regarding vaccinations, we strongly recommend that you follow CDC guidelines and will require that every participant has all basic vaccinations.

What gear do I need to bring?

We’ll provide a full packing list upon registration. You won’t need anything special for this trip—just clothes, toiletries, and electronics. If you’re think about bringing larger electronics (such as a laptop) or musical instruments, please check with trip leaders first.

Can I receive academic credit for this trip?

While Unschool Adventures does not issue academic credits, we can help you frame your trip experience in a way that will look good on a homeschooling transcript or make sense to a college admissions official. Our photo and video documentation will also help in this regard.

For those who would like to use this trip as an excuse to dive deeply into academics, we’ll happily suggest a few books and documentaries that you can start reading and watching before the trip. Trip leaders will also support (but not require) any documentation that a participant chooses to do, such as blogging.

Can you accommodate my special diet?

We can accommodate vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-free (but not celiac) diets. Please remember that while traveling, it’s not always easy to cater to special diets—the more restrictive your diet, the more flexibility and patience you’ll need to have a successful trip. Don’t worry, we’ll make sure you always get enough to eat!

What happens if my child needs medical attention?

Unschool Adventures will compile a full list of well-rated medical facilities for each destination (which you can browse if you’d like). We’ll be sticking to major metropolitan areas that have Western-grade medical facilities. If a participant requires medical attention, a trip leader will accompany them to the nearest facility and immediately contact their parents/guardians. Safety is Unschool Adventures’ top priority, and our company has maintained a perfect safety record (i.e., no one has every gone to a hospital) ever since our first trip to Argentina in 2008.

When is the program fee due? How about the international flight?

A security deposit of $2000 is due March 1, 2021. Another $2000 payment is on July 1, and the $3750 final payment is due October 1, 2021.

The program fee is payable by check or money order; you may also pay by credit card with a 3% surcharge.

The international plane tickets purchase happens 2-4 months before departure date, facilitated by our group travel specialist. Plane tickets are payable via credit card.

If you require a payment plan to make this trip feasible, please write to Please note that all payments must be made before departure date, without exception.

Is there a possibility that this trip won’t happen?

While the majority of Unschool Adventures trips do end up running, sometimes a trip fails to meet minimum applicant numbers by the priority application deadline and we must cancel it. (We would hate to disappoint you, but we also don’t want to waste your time if a trip is clearly not going to meet minimum numbers!)

I’m ready to do this! How do I apply?

Go apply! :)

More Questions?

Email Blake anytime at

Unschool Adventures in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2012

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