Outlook expeditions and World Challenge

(21 Posts)
ElizabethMary Wed 16-Nov-16 11:27:12

My dd's school is considering arranging a trip with Outlook or World Challenge next year. Has anyone any experience of trips for teenagers with these two companies? Do teenagers come back having benefitted from the experience and how much of the cost of the trip do you think goes to charity in the country visited or is it just an expensive holiday that they fundraise for?

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 16-Nov-16 13:14:12

I would do your own online researches on voluntourism before your DD commits to something like this. Such voluntourism projects are not without their problems. What are the intentions of such trips for both the young people going there and the local populace?. These companies are a business after all and there is a lot of money to be made out of it. It is really an expensive trip they fundraise for.

My friend's child went on such a thing organised by WC and it was not all that. Its a holiday with a bit of volunteering tagged onto it. Her trip was not all that well organised and importantly it made no impact or real difference to the people already living there. Young people generally speaking do not have the necessary skill sets to make any real long term difference to the communities they visit.

SugarMiceInTheRain Wed 16-Nov-16 13:20:08

I did a World Challenge expedition when I was at school and it was sold to us as a volunteering thing with expeditions into the rainforest etc when in fact it was much more an expedition with a small amount of volunteering whilst staying with pretty well-off families who lived near poor areas. It was fun, but I was really disappointed that there was very little volunteering involved and I really didn't feel like we made a difference. I got far more out of the Duke of Edinburgh Award in terms of volunteering and that had the expedition element too.

MrsWobble3 Wed 16-Nov-16 13:44:40

my dd did world challenge and her experience is similar to others here. if you do want to go ahead i would advise checking that the location/itinerary is one that world challenge have run before. dd's group were the first to do the one they did and it was badly organised - they had to abandon the trek element because they ran out of firewood for example, something that should have been easily avoided when you've paid for professional project management. Like previous posters i think they got far more out of DoE where they had to take responsibility for it. our experience of world challenge was a badly run expensive adventure holiday.

nannyafrica Wed 16-Nov-16 16:07:51

I do not like the bigger organizations as so much money goes in wages and offices in the U.
I know of smaller ones in Africa like this one where all money goes to the charity and you experience the real deal staying in villages. They run school trips.
www.africaexpeditionsupport.com/napenda-solar-community/

specialsubject Wed 16-Nov-16 16:53:52

privileged UK kids (because compared to these countries, ALL UK kids are privileged) staying for a couple of weeks are generally bugger all use as volunteers. It makes far more sense for the kids to stay in the UK and do the work that is needed here, and send MONEY to reputable organisations helping abroad.

yes, I know, less of a suntan.

also, these trips are very expensive ways of going on holiday. So if your kid does want to go, no fundraising. He/She needs to get a JOB and save up.

NicknameUsed Wed 16-Nov-16 22:32:50

It is an expensive holiday. Some of DD's friends went to India this year. They spent two and a half weeks trekking and doing fun stuff and a few days painting a school. It cost about £4.5k to £5k.

The students have to do as much fund raising as possible - generally selling their own baking, bag packing at the supermarket etc.

I feel a little uncomfortable about paying towards some over privileged teenager's exotic holiday.

specialsubject Thu 17-Nov-16 09:44:14

This is really cynical, but I wonder how often that school gets painted? hmm

ElizabethMary Fri 18-Nov-16 14:14:31

Thanks to all of you.

Your replies have confirmed my gut feeling, I feel uncomfortable with her fundraising for what is essentially an exciting(if not luxury) holiday. If she signed up payment would have to be from getting a job. That in itself may actually be the most worthwhile part of the experience!

ShanghaiDiva Sat 19-Nov-16 15:42:42

Also, IMO painting the school takes work away from local people. Get the kids to use the skills they have to make a difference eg allowing local school kids to practise their spoken English.

mouldycheesefan Mon 21-Nov-16 09:17:42

One thing the developing work is not short of is unskilled labour.

ssavins Mon 13-Feb-17 13:02:43

My daughters school has organised a trip to Peru next summer with Outlook Expeditions. She signed up for this but has recently withdrawn along with several others as they have found out just how little volunteering work is to be done. I asked an independent accountancy company who specialise in dealing with charities to look into them as a company and they said that their reputation is not good. Certainly the organisation & communication is very poor.
Best avoided

Iamastonished Mon 13-Feb-17 13:30:00

I am going to sound like a right old hypocrite now, but DD wants to do a World Challenge trip in 2018. At least it isn't being sold as something that will benefit the local community, more as character building for the students.

They will be collecting environmental data which ticks the right box for DD as she shares my views about how much these trips benefit poorer countries.

In my view this trip will challenge DD more than anything else, and she will be taken out of her comfort zone. If she overcomes these challenges it will benefit her more than anything else she has tried to deal with her anxiety problems.

I have a question though. The trip was sold as something that will immensely benefit a university application. The cynic in me thinks not. Any views anyone?

specialsubject Mon 13-Feb-17 16:31:19

Views? Kiddy gap holiday under supervision. Doesnt demonstrate anything beyond too much money.

Plenty to be done in the UK. For a challenge, do a walking or sporting holiday as an adult - once she is past 18 it all gets cheaper. Or learn new skills close to homr!.

wohmum Mon 13-Feb-17 16:39:52

My DS did a world challenge trip last year , and we were under no illusions that it was sold as a bit of an adventure, plus some character building . He git a huge amount out of it - they took it in turns to be leaders fir a few dats and handled whatever was needed. He said there were some boring unexciting bits but overall, he had am amazing experience. He paid for some from work/ savings and we paid the rest. It's definitely given him something to talk about and include in his personal statement.

Prior to that he did NCS just after his GCSEs , which was certainly better value for money and v good character building.

Iamastonished Mon 13-Feb-17 17:45:13

We didn't get enough notice about NCS last year and had already got holidays and weekends away booked so DD couldn't fit it in. Also, she just didn't want to do it.

She suffers from anxiety and extremely low self esteem and I think this trip will be good for her. She doesn't have the confidence to do this type of challenge without the umbrella of something like World Challenge, but doing this might provide her with the resources for when she is older.

I am under no illusion that this is going to benefit the countries they are planning to go to, but it might help with DD's self esteem at a time when she will need more self confidence when she goes away to university.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 13-Feb-17 19:38:20

Have you established what the root causes of her anxiety and low self esteem are?.

Do you really think a trip abroad like this will help her at all let alone in the long run?

Iamastonished Mon 13-Feb-17 20:49:06

Yes. I know exactly what triggered them. A really nasty bout of bullying in year 10. The girl targeted DD throughout nearly all of year 10 and made her feel so worthless and isolated that she started self harming and became very depressed. She got through that awful time with the help of a very good friend.

However, the long term effect has been a complete lack of confidence, anxiety and self esteem for which she is now receiving CBT. The fact that she is even contemplating taking on something like this is a massive step forward. However, she has some health issues that may prevent her from going anyway.

wohmum Tue 14-Feb-17 10:24:43

From our experience , world challenge do give good support and it is ime a good stepping stone to get that confidence, in a supported but challenging environment
I'd go for it if you can afford it

mummymeister Tue 14-Feb-17 11:12:56

In terms of uni applications, it would look far better if your dd did something for her local community in the way of volunteering. Unis know that these sort of trips are expensive junkets for over privileged kids.

I admit that I am totally not a fan of these sorts of trips. environmentally not good as they involve flying there and travelling around so hardly a light touch footprint. plus for the communities involved it must be a pretty horrible experience to have kids parachuting in for a week or so, doing something that makes them feel worthy and then they disappear. far better are the schools, colleges and individuals that form long term relationships with communities. I would suggest she make contact with her local church mission and see if she could go out and do something with them. she doesn't have to be Christian to do it and it would be within a community with a long term relationship.

sorry, I know I sound really anti them and I am sure they have some benefit. just cannot help having visions from the in betweeners film of the gap year wankers sketch.

Iamastonished Tue 14-Feb-17 11:56:16

"In terms of uni applications, it would look far better if your dd did something for her local community in the way of volunteering"

She already helps out at brownies. I agree with your sentiments mummy though, which is why I said that I felt like a hypocrite. The "worthy" bit is collecting data on some marine life rather than painting a school, which is what appealed to DD. Given her health issues I doubt that she would be able to go anyway.

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