Some of the students who join our various teams for each teen summer program abroad are returning VISIONS participants. It is not uncommon for a student to participate in two programs with us. We welcome returning participants because they bring a wealth of experience and understanding about life on a VISIONS program and in learning about a different culture.

We have long talked about creating programs for veteran participants who are looking to take that next step, or for any students just looking to really dive deeply into another culture. So, this year we have created such program experiences:  the Intense Culture programs.

Summer 2004 will launch the Intense Culture canopy. One summer program will be offered in Ecuador and one in Trinidad – and as time goes by, we intend to add more.

While all VISIONS programs incorporate a strong cross-cultural component, the Intense Culture programs offer deeper more broad-based immersion. These programs will include an extended home stay component and offer more independence to explore local life within the VISIONS framework.

Apart from the central construction project or projects, students will participate directly in the day-to-day work of community members and local families through internships and assisting with daily tasks. We may work with farmers, fishermen, bakers, artisans, micro-businesses, social development and eco-tourist organizations, and more. Participants will have a greater hand in shaping their own experiences through these small group interactions on a local level.

The days in Trinidad or Ecuador will not be all work, however. Enjoying and exploring the sites will be a priority in both places. As on all VISIONS programs, we will take full advantage of our surroundings. Our activities and excursions will offer yet another opportunity to discover the culture and round out our experience. We will be accompanied by local guides and will receive a plethora of information about the history, environment, and way of life.

Intense Culture programs were created for those students who know they want a deep encounter with a place and its people. If this sounds like you, please check out our website, and call the office to be sure you are on the mailing list for the 2004 brochure. We can also put you directly in touch with the director of each program.

VISIONS in The New York Times