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Brain Gain

Via a new partnership, National Geographic Expeditions and Exclusive Resorts offer illuminating and inspiring Student Expeditions.

“Powerful imagery doesn’t need to be explained,” says award-winning National Geographic photographer Ronan Donovan. “It exists because that moment, place, and person exists or existed.”   

While on the one hand, a picture may be worth a thousand words, it’s also a priceless, unforgettable experience with National Geographic Expeditions and Exclusive Resorts—especially for students across the country.   

Exclusive Resorts’ new partnership with the renowned experiential travel innovator offers Members highly curated programs for students (ages 13 and older) with one-of-a-kind, immersive experiences. On these ultra-exclusive adventures, students learn from National Geographic’s talented roster of explorers, researchers, and photographers, following in their footsteps for hands-on learning and life-changing exploration.   

This summer, students can choose from a variety of camps held in numerous destinations around the globe, led by highly qualified trip leaders. On most trips, a National Geographic expert also joins the group. Students will learn straight from the field, discovering extraordinary destinations through On Assignment projects. 

With each program, students exchange stories, explore the fascinating world around them, and work with top experts in their respective fields. Each summer, students return home with stories of life-changing experiences that instilled increased confidence, global perspective, independence, and compassion for others. 

“The student trips are a remarkable opportunity to travel and learn from excited and passionate experts,” adds Donovan, whose work has been featured in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. “It’s really an extraordinary vacation experience with all the events that bond people together—amazing sights, foods, and conversations." 

For the past two years, Donovan has taught photography on National Geographic Expeditions in Antarctica as well as during photo camps in equally exotic places. He’s also joining the Yosemite & San Francisco Photo Workshop this summer, a program he’s given photographic insight to in the past. Having spent his career sharing the natural world through images, he says the Student Expeditions allow him to inspire young minds. “Getting to know the students and travel with them as their instructor makes our interactions more impactful,” he says. “It’s a fully immersive experience, for both teacher and student.” 

“We experience the world primarily through our eyes,” adds Donovan. “You can tell someone about an issue or what an animal looks like, but if you show a single powerful image, the viewer is transported immediately to that place.” 

Expanding Horizons

National Geographic Student Expeditions are now available to Members' high school and middle school students ages 13 and older. Snorkel with marine biologists in Belize, go on photo shoots in Yellowstone National Park, help out with a community project in Costa Rica, and more.

High School | Grades 9-12

Expeditions Recommended: Iceland

Discover fascinating bucket-list vacation destinations across the globe through the lens of an On Assignment project. Each expedition offers a choice between two of three areas of focus, such as photography, geology, or wildlife conservation.

Photography Workshops Recommended: Yellowstone National Park

Each day, learn important photography lessons in the classroom and apply them in one of the world’s most photogenic places, shooting alongside a National Geographic photographer.

Community Service Programs Recommended: Costa Rica

Settle into a local community and get involved with collaborative service projects focusing on infrastructure, education, or sustainability. Work alongside local people, and document your experience through photos, journals, and video.

University Workshops Recommended: Engineering and Robotics Workshop, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

From your base at a top university, delve into issues impacting the future of our world, and examine solutions offered by engineering, technology, journalism, and more. Develop a capstone project to address an issue you’ve encountered, and pitch your idea for a chance to receive funding from National Geographic.

Middle School | Grades 7-8

Expeditions Recommended: Belize  

These highly structured, curated trips allow students who are completing grades seven or eight to discover exciting destinations in a fun, engaging, and safe environment. With guidance from trip leaders and a National Geographic expert, students explore a number of themes.