Developing global citizenship through travel

Since 2015, the Leadership Collective has fully funded high school students from the US to engage with India through an immersive, international experience that fosters global citizenship and builds leadership skills. In 2017, we expanded further, opening the Leadership Collective to students from across India. In 2018,  we grew to include students from South Africa and Nepal as well, and we focused on using Learning Management Technologies to increase engagement, learning outcomes, and collaboration through technology. In 2019, we launched our biggest program yet adding participants from Syria, Lebanon, Bulgaria, Mexico, Madagascar, and students from the USA that grew up in various countries. The diversity of perspectives was impressive. In 2020 we added students from Afghanistan and Kenya.

Every year the Leadership Collective focuses on a unique theme relating to global connectivity and youth leadership, particularly with a climate change aspect. We believe that if youth are empowered early in life with the freedom and ability to take action and make decisions regarding the world around them, they can be active and powerful citizens, with the confidence and skills to change the world.

To understand a student’s experience on the Leadership Collective, check out some of our Student Profile videos.

Explore + Experience + Express

Leadership Collective itineraries are immersive. They are designed and built by a team with deep roots in local communities and a multi-dimensional understanding of the places visited and from which we learn. Bringing together homestays, cultural sites, community, businesses, and civic leaders, we work in a peer-based setting to explore, understand, and challenge students place in the world. We use a model of study, serve, share to engage students, enabling them as critical thinkers and engaged global citizens.

What does it entail?

There are three parts to the Leadership Collective:

  1. Pre-Departure Classroom — a four-month virtual prep period that focuses on remotely engaging the student cohort in conversation and collaboration as well as building a common foundation for the trip theme and time in India.
  2. In-Country Experiential Trip— a period of experiential learning in India where students learn hands-on skills, interact with host families and youth, and study various facets of youth citizenship and leadership over the course of three plus weeks.
  3. Post-Trip Engagement — beyond the five month formal engagement, students share their learnings with their home communities, connecting their experiences in the Leadership Collective with their lives at home, and continue alumni connections.

Impact Report

In 2019, Dr. Tera Meerkins accompanied the Leadership Collective to India as part of a study in counseling psychology at Boston College. Additionally, her team analyzed data from previous trips and created: Leadership Collective Outcomes and
Facilitators of Change for Learners: An Evaluative Report for Cohorts 2016 to 2018

Who should participate?

A Leadership Collective student is a leader. They are curious. They are critical thinkers. They are frequently persevering boldly. They are creators. They are explorers. They are excited about their role in the future. Leadership Collective students are burgeoning change agents.

The Leadership Collective is geared toward students who otherwise face restrictive barriers to experiential education and international travel. Whether it be financial, social, or personal, we create support systems necessary to help a student thrive in an international experience, preparing them for a lifetime of global leadership. The program is fully-funded for all students participating.