About Our Programs
What makes our programs unique?
FLYTE establishes partnerships with schools in low-income communities which lack the existing resources to provide a global education for their students. We aim to provide schools with the funding to make experiential travel a possibility. Rather than offering the same global destinations each year, we work closely with educators to find the countries that best align with their curriculum. We provide full scholarships to low-income students to participate, so no student will ever be turned away based on their ability to pay.
What are the benefits of studying abroad for high school students?
At FLYTE we believe that the value of travel comes from understanding the human condition through the exploration and first-hand exposure to different cultures, traditions, languages, histories, and geographies. By empowering students to become global citizens and interact with people across borders and boundaries, our students will return to their communities armed with a better understanding of the world in which they live, their own role in it, and their potential to become a local leader and agent of change. By adding actual context to the classroom, it makes the academic subject come alive- expanding comfort zones, teaching students to think critically, and encouraging problem solving. It builds skills that cannot be taught in a book or a classroom, preparing them for their future, both professionally, and personally, whether that is on a college campus or in the career field.
How do you make a lasting impact in two weeks?
Nothing changes the way you view your own life experiences than being able to witness how other people live. It can create a more appreciative outlook, it can be the catalyst to change, it can instill wonder and empathy for other cultures and communities. While our actual in-country programs last only two weeks, that experience is transformative, and there is nothing like being in a new place for the very first time.
These trips are a foundation- one that encourages our students to pursue journeys outside of their norms, one that clearly illustrates that the world is so much bigger than the community or socioeconomic background from which they come. This first-hand opportunity to expand upon that world is transformative, and we believe crucial, to forming the next generation of informed, global leaders.
Why we do what we do?
FLYTE was born to help youth see, experience, and explore their world. Our dedicated team is passionate about travel and its transformative power in enhancing youth education, global leadership, and cultural and civic engagement. Created in 2015 by New York Times Bestselling author and travel professional, Matthew Kepnes, it was founded to help overcome the financial barriers that prohibit so many students from having access to a global education.
Program Requirements and Eligibility
Who do we serve?
We partner with schools in low-income communities; serving high school students aged 14-18.
What are the academic requirements that students need to complete to take part in the programs? What do students do while taking part in the program?
Students begin preparing for their global trip as soon as they are accepted into the program. They will be required to complete a series of projects, including contributing to a student blog, completion of a community service project upon their return, and cultural and geographic research leading up to the program departure. Throughout the term, we will assist teachers in building curriculum that aligns with their program destination.
What is your application process and program eligibility?
We aim to serve schools serving a large population of low-income students. We seek out educators who exemplify a commitment to providing students with global leadership opportunities, a passion for travel, and a curriculum outline that aligns with their destination and academic outcomes. Our project requirements and student commitments must be able to be fulfilled during the course of the academic year (or within the following year). Successful applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have an administration that supports bringing international travel opportunities to their schools.
Our application process begins in the fall, with schools submitting their applications for participation in October. School applications are available on our website, along with a full list of eligibility criteria. Once school partners are selected, student application submission and selection occurs through March. Student applicants will be asked to provide understanding as to how this program will impact both themselves and their communities, and must demonstrate financial need to obtain full scholarship for the program. Partial scholarships may be considered for students that have less financial need.
Travel and Program Logistics
How long are your trips?
Currently, our trip offerings last approximately 2 weeks during the summer term. The program officially begins upon a student’s acceptance, with projects and preparations beginning in January prior to the summer program departure.
Who do students travel with?
The students travel with the school partner’s designated coordinator, whether that is a teacher or a representative from the school. We also require 1 chaperone for every 5 students, so schools may also elect to send other teachers, parents, or school administration along on our programs.
Where do you travel?
Our program destinations differ each year in order to more closely align with where our educators are looking to go! We are excited to work and collaborate with our accepted partner schools to offer specific destinations as needed, and are constantly establishing travel and business networks in different countries. Our goal is to offer programs that align closely with teachers’ curriculum, whether that is studying biology/ecology in Costa Rica or immersive language in Spain. Our application process requires that educators provide several destination requests, and once chosen, we work closely with them to provide a trip destination that best suits their needs.
How safe are your programs?
The safety of our students, educators, and staff is our utmost concern. FLYTE provides industry-standard liability insurance, and student safety and health is a priority with all of our programs. We proactively work with local representatives in-country, and ensure that proper healthcare and emergency services are available and accessible in all locations that we travel to. At least one educator or chaperone traveling with our groups is required to be CPR and First-Aid certified, and first aid kits accompany all of our travelers. Each student must complete health, booking, and liability forms prior to departure. We also closely monitor all State Department travel warnings, and will determine if there is need to cancel a trip due to travel concerns.
What is included in the program?
- All transportation and lodging
- All tours, entry fees, and activities
- All meals and water for trip duration
- Gratuities for services, drivers, and guides
- Staff itinerary and curriculum support before, during, and after program
- Travel insurance
- Airport departure fees
What is NOT included in the program?
- Extra snacks and meals outside of what is provided
- Travel gear- suitcases, bags, etc.
- Spending money for souvenirs and gifts
What does the funding go towards, and how do you account for it?
All funds donated to FLYTE are put towards program and administrative costs such as the purchase of airfare, meals, academic costs associated with a students’ trip, and our annual operating budget. We are governed by a Board of Directors that approves our annual budget.
The school trips, even on a minimal budget, will cost an average of $45,000 to fully fund groups of 15 students and three chaperones. (This means that well over 80% of the money raised goes directly toward funding school programs. This definitely won’t be an organization that spends the majority of its money on raising more money!)
We anticipate that trips will cost on average $2,500- $3,200 per student, depending on the destination of their trip. Here’s how we break that down for a nine-day to two week trip:
- Flight: $500-1,000
- Passport: $120
- Visa fees: $30
- Travel insurance: free (thanks to World Nomads)
- Lodging: $270 ($30 per night)
- Meals: $270 ($30 per day)
- Ground transportation: $250
- Activities: $700
- Contingency and emergency expenses: $200
- Total: $2,340-2,840
- Rounded up: $2,400-2,900
How to Get Involved
There are several ways to get involved with FLYTE. In order to sustain our programs, we rely heavily on the donations of our supporters- people like YOU who are passionate about travel, global citizenship, and youth education. Please consider making a donation today! We also can work with you if you would like to donate frequent flyer miles to our program.
If you are a school looking to apply, please see our school partner application page. We accept program applications starting in October.
If you are a travel industry partner looking to get involved, we would love to explore ways that we can work together to provide services for our programs. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are donations tax-deductible?
Yes, FLYTE is an approved 501(c)(3). Donations are tax deductible.