Learning AFAR: Making Travel a Reality for Underserved Students

When our founders Greg Sullivan and Joe Diaz started AFAR magazine in 2009, they simultaneously created the AFAR Foundation as a way of giving back to the communities where our offices are based: New York and San Francisco. From the onset, they had a vision to build a community of people who believe that travel is the best form of education, so that together we could provide young people with life-changing travel opportunities to explore our world and their place in it.

Learning AFAR sponsors international travel for high-school students who cannot otherwise afford to experience another part of the world. Since 2009, with the support of sponsors, we have expanded the program to also include Chicago, Houston, and Seattle. Each year, we put out a call for school and educator applications in these cities, and once a school and an educator are selected, we promote the program to the whole student body. Any student who is interested can apply. We then choose 10 students who demonstrate financial need, academic merit, leadership potential, lack of previous travel experience, and a desire to explore our world and share their experiences with their communities when they return home.

To date, we’ve sent nearly 200 students to countries like Cambodia, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Peru. The trips are in the summer and last 10 days to two weeks, but the program is a year-long commitment. During the six months leading up to the trip, students participate in a curriculum that focuses on science, culture, leadership, and service. And for six months after the expedition, we ask students to bring what they have learned home to their local community through acts of service. The students are also asked to create a mini version of AFAR magazine, and for us at AFAR, the results are always so gratifying to see.

Want to get involved with the AFAR Foundation or Learning AFAR?

We welcome involvement from all who share the belief that travel is the best form of education. Right now, there are two main ways to help.

1. Donate to the scholarship fund at afar.com/foundation.
2. Share information about the program with others who have been personally touched by travel. We want to expand the community supporting this work, and we cannot do it alone.

For more information, please visit our website, email us, or call Jordan Robbins at 970-484-3633.