Sri Lanka

Plight Of The Elephants

Journey deep into the heart of this magnificent landscape to get up close and personal with the habitat of the world’s largest land animal. You’ll join a multitude of ongoing research, outreach and conservation efforts in the areas around Wasgamuwa National Park to ensure a future for the Sri Lankan Elephant and the people with which they coexist. You’ll also have the chance to immerse yourself in one of the world’s most vibrant cultures by exploring modern cities, remote landscapes, and ancient ruins. Change your outlook and gain real-world experience in this captivatingly authentic opportunity to give back in a big way in this small island nation.

  • Days
  • Service
  • Students
  • Age
  • Availability
  • Tuition (USD)
Session 1 / Jun 21 - Jul 5, 2019
  • 15
  • 50 hours
  • 10
  • 14-18
  • Open
  • $3,870 $3,570
Session 2 / Jul 7 - Jul 21, 2019
  • 15
  • 50 hours
  • 10
  • 14-18
  • Open
  • $3,870 $3,570

Use code ee2019 & save $300 before Dec 31st (prices above reflect saving)

Focus

  • Humanitarian Support
  • Environmental Conservation
  • Wildlife Stewardship

Adventure

  • Cultural Exploration
  • Hiking & Walking Tours
  • Water Sports
  • Land Sports

Environment

  • Urban
  • Rural
  • Mountains
  • Ocean
  • Rainforest

The Journey

Your Adventure Starts Here
Sri Lanka Map

Ayubowan! Departure for Sri Lanka!

2 Days

Our journey begins! Students have the option of flying to Colombo (CMB) via New York (JFK) and Dubai (DXB) on a preferred group itinerary, or students can fly independently. For students flying via JFK, GoBeyond arranges for an airport representative to assist with the transfer. In some cases, this representative is one of the group leaders and flies with the students. In other cases, he/she is a local contact responsible for airport assistance but will not be on the flights. Due to time zone differences, our group flight typically lands in Sri Lanka the day after departure. After arrival in Colombo, students are met at the airport by GoBeyond’s professional staff and transferred to our comfortable and clean hotel. First day activities include a fantastic welcome meal, GoBeyond’s orientation, check-in, and icebreakers.

Elephant Project Summer Trip
Itinerary Activities

Service Days In Wasgamuwa National Park 

7 Days

After a brief stay near Colombo, students journey inland to the heart of Sri Lanka and immerse themselves into the local culture and ecology surrounding Wasgamuwa National Park. As one of the most biodiverse areas in all of Sri Lanka, Wasgamuwa is home to wild Asian elephants, sloth bears, leopards, monkeys and an array of flora. While working alongside scientists, conservationists, educators and local villagers, students lend their minds and hands to a number of meaningful initiatives including an endangered species monitoring program, elephant behavioral data collection, Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC) surveys with local villages, fence erection/maintenance, alternative crop projects and more.

Volunteer Elephant Research
Itinerary Activities

Service Days In Wasgamuwa National Park 

(cont.)

The fight for the future of the Sri Lankan elephant is not in the nation’s many orphanages, but rather in the wild areas that these majestic creatures call home. The core of our program allows students to make a real difference through environmental and conservation research. Students learn to take photographs, check camera traps, and document important behavioral data while observing wild elephants firsthand, ultimately developing an elephant ethogram. Surveying local villagers, students also help document recent conflicts and identify areas for new HEC intervention. Volunteer help is critical for Sri Lanka’s local conservation organizations, as they often lack the people power to execute much-needed programs.

High School Trip Sri Lanka
Itinerary Activities

Service Days In Wasgamuwa National Park 

(cont.)

While the core of our trip entails work with elephants and other endangered species, GoBeyond Sri Lanka students also have the opportunity to interact with children while leading recreational activities and teaching English at local schools. Our ultimate aim is that of cross-cultural learning and environmental education, as students help teach rural kids to value their natural surroundings and to become better stewards of their environment. Bring a smile to Sri Lankan’s many wonderful people during these action-packed service days, while making lifelong memories of your own.

Sigiriya Vista
Itinerary Activities

Cultural Exploration in Sigiriya and Anuradhapura

2 Days

No visit to Sri Lanka would be complete without a visit to the cultural center of Sri Lanka, where ancient cities give travelers a glimpse into the distant past. Arguably the most dramatic archeological site in all of Sri Lanka, students visit the famed Lion’s Rock of Sigiriya for an early morning hike to its spectacular summit. Here, vertical walls raise dramatically from the plains below, forming a flat-top summit that once served as the capital and fortress of the ancient Kassapa kingdom. Often referred to as the “Eighth Wonder of the World” by locals, lush gardens, impressive frescoes, and the “lion’s paws” – mammoth carvings into the bed rock – collectively form a sight not to be missed.

Anuradhapura Excursion
Itinerary Activities

Cultural Exploration in Sigiriya and Anuradhapura

(cont.)

Having reigned over Sri Lanka for over 1,200 years, the former capital city of Anuradhapura is one of South Asia’s most impressive historical sights. Among its many riches, Anuradhapura is home to the second most sacred place in all of Sri Lanka, the Bodhi Tree Temple, which contains the oldest historically authenticated tree in the world – said to have grown from a cutting of the tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment. Students get their fill of culture and history while exploring this ancient city, both on foot and by bike, then journey to the ancient buddhist caves near Dambulla. Sri Lanka’s ancient cities are sure to inspire and delight the most intrepid of travelers.

High School Adventure Trip Sri Lanka
Play
Video
Sri Lanka Elephant Conservation Volunteer
Journey Focus

Conservation of the Sri Lankan Elephant

Imagine a time – merely a century ago – when more than 20,000 wild Asian elephants might have roamed the Sri Lankan countryside. Today, in this island nation, the population of Asia’s largest land animal is estimated at only 4,000.

Listed as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Sri Lankan elephant faces many threats. At the core of the issue is the ever increasing competition for resources between humans and elephants. As rural populations grow and encroach on wild areas, Human-Elephant Conflicts (HEC) arise in the form of mega development projects, habitat loss for agricultural production, poaching for ivory and illegal capture.

For Sri Lankans living in the countryside, close encounters with elephants during their day-to-day activities are commonplace. Annually, elephants cause over $10 million worth of crop and property damage. Farmers whose livelihoods depend on agriculture resort to harsh retaliatory measures, feeding into a vicious cycle of violence. Each year, HEC accounts for an astonishing 50-80 human and 150-200 elephant deaths.

Alarming, yes, yet human/elephant conflicts are tempered by passionate scientists, conservationists, and volunteers seeking novel solutions to the countryside’s problems. Through elephant behavior data collection, villager surveys, fence erection, as well as alternative crop production such as orange groves – undesirable to elephants – various conservation efforts have made it possible for elephants and humans to live together in a region that used to be rife with conflicts. While much progress has been made, the work continues – now it’s not just a matter of “winning the war, but the challenge of keeping the peace.” 

GoBeyond Sri Lanka offers students a unique opportunity – not only to explore an up-and-coming traveler’s paradise – but also to lend a hand to critical conservation initiatives for the island’s extraordinary wildlife. Working with local non-profits, GoBeyond students educate themselves on a complex issue while truly making a difference. Learn more about our service affiliate.

“GoBeyond is very centered around community service, so if you're looking to go on an amazing service trip, it is the perfect program to use. There is a great balance between service work and exploration of the country you are in.”
Maggie B.Burlington, VT
Sri Lanka Trip Brochure

  • Get Our Free Online Brochure

    Full of detailed information about our journeys, staff, and FAQs for you to access anytime
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Closing Activities

1 Day

Students say goodbye to their new friends at GoBeyond. Without fail, there’s a mix of emotions – there is excitement to return home; there’s sadness to leave. On the final day of the service trip to Sri Lanka, students are transferred to the Colombo airport by our professional staff, checked in, then travel on to their respective homes and families. Yet the journey continues for each individual in undefinable ways. The lessons we learn, the friends we make, and the personal growth we gain through GoBeyond Sri Lanka shapes our hearts and minds for many years to come.

Sri Lanka Summer Trip
Volunteer With Elephants
High School Travel Tour Sri Lanka
High School Community Service Projects
Sri Lanka Shopkeeper
Sri Lanka Volunteer With Animals
Sri Lanka Service Trip
Sri Lanka Map

Ayubowan! Departure for Sri Lanka!

2 Days

Our journey begins! Students have the option of flying to Colombo (CMB) via New York (JFK) and Dubai (DXB) on a preferred group itinerary, or students can fly independently. For students flying via JFK, GoBeyond arranges for an airport representative to assist with the transfer. In some cases, this representative is one of the group leaders and flies with the students. In other cases, he/she is a local contact responsible for airport assistance but will not be on the flights. Due to time zone differences, our group flight typically lands in Sri Lanka the day after departure. After arrival in Colombo, students are met at the airport by GoBeyond’s professional staff and transferred to our comfortable and clean hotel. First day activities include a fantastic welcome meal, GoBeyond’s orientation, check-in, and icebreakers.

Elephant Project Summer Trip
Itinerary Activities

Service Days In Wasgamuwa National Park 

7 Days

After a brief stay near Colombo, students journey inland to the heart of Sri Lanka and immerse themselves into the local culture and ecology surrounding Wasgamuwa National Park. As one of the most biodiverse areas in all of Sri Lanka, Wasgamuwa is home to wild Asian elephants, sloth bears, leopards, monkeys and an array of flora. While working alongside scientists, conservationists, educators and local villagers, students lend their minds and hands to a number of meaningful initiatives including an endangered species monitoring program, elephant behavioral data collection, Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC) surveys with local villages, fence erection/maintenance, alternative crop projects and more.

Volunteer Elephant Research
Itinerary Activities

Service Days In Wasgamuwa National Park 

(cont.)

The fight for the future of the Sri Lankan elephant is not in the nation’s many orphanages, but rather in the wild areas that these majestic creatures call home. The core of our program allows students to make a real difference through environmental and conservation research. Students learn to take photographs, check camera traps, and document important behavioral data while observing wild elephants firsthand, ultimately developing an elephant ethogram. Surveying local villagers, students also help document recent conflicts and identify areas for new HEC intervention. Volunteer help is critical for Sri Lanka’s local conservation organizations, as they often lack the people power to execute much-needed programs.

High School Trip Sri Lanka
Itinerary Activities

Service Days In Wasgamuwa National Park 

(cont.)

While the core of our trip entails work with elephants and other endangered species, GoBeyond Sri Lanka students also have the opportunity to interact with children while leading recreational activities and teaching English at local schools. Our ultimate aim is that of cross-cultural learning and environmental education, as students help teach rural kids to value their natural surroundings and to become better stewards of their environment. Bring a smile to Sri Lankan’s many wonderful people during these action-packed service days, while making lifelong memories of your own.

Play
Video
Sri Lanka Elephant Conservation Volunteer
Journey Focus

Conservation of the Sri Lankan Elephant

Imagine a time – merely a century ago – when more than 20,000 wild Asian elephants might have roamed the Sri Lankan countryside. Today, in this island nation, the population of Asia’s largest land animal is estimated at only 4,000.

Listed as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Sri Lankan elephant faces many threats. At the core of the issue is the ever increasing competition for resources between humans and elephants. As rural populations grow and encroach on wild areas, Human-Elephant Conflicts (HEC) arise in the form of mega development projects, habitat loss for agricultural production, poaching for ivory and illegal capture.

For Sri Lankans living in the countryside, close encounters with elephants during their day-to-day activities are commonplace. Annually, elephants cause over $10 million worth of crop and property damage. Farmers whose livelihoods depend on agriculture resort to harsh retaliatory measures, feeding into a vicious cycle of violence. Each year, HEC accounts for an astonishing 50-80 human and 150-200 elephant deaths.

Alarming, yes, yet human/elephant conflicts are tempered by passionate scientists, conservationists, and volunteers seeking novel solutions to the countryside’s problems. Through elephant behavior data collection, villager surveys, fence erection, as well as alternative crop production such as orange groves – undesirable to elephants – various conservation efforts have made it possible for elephants and humans to live together in a region that used to be rife with conflicts. While much progress has been made, the work continues – now it’s not just a matter of “winning the war, but the challenge of keeping the peace.” 

GoBeyond Sri Lanka offers students a unique opportunity – not only to explore an up-and-coming traveler’s paradise – but also to lend a hand to critical conservation initiatives for the island’s extraordinary wildlife. Working with local non-profits, GoBeyond students educate themselves on a complex issue while truly making a difference. Learn more about our service affiliate.

“GoBeyond is very centered around community service, so if you're looking to go on an amazing service trip, it is the perfect program to use. There is a great balance between service work and exploration of the country you are in.”
Maggie B.Burlington, VT
Sigiriya Vista
Itinerary Activities

Cultural Exploration in Sigiriya and Anuradhapura

2 Days

No visit to Sri Lanka would be complete without a visit to the cultural center of Sri Lanka, where ancient cities give travelers a glimpse into the distant past. Arguably the most dramatic archeological site in all of Sri Lanka, students visit the famed Lion’s Rock of Sigiriya for an early morning hike to its spectacular summit. Here, vertical walls raise dramatically from the plains below, forming a flat-top summit that once served as the capital and fortress of the ancient Kassapa kingdom. Often referred to as the “Eighth Wonder of the World” by locals, lush gardens, impressive frescoes, and the “lion’s paws” – mammoth carvings into the bed rock – collectively form a sight not to be missed.

Anuradhapura Excursion
Itinerary Activities

Cultural Exploration in Sigiriya and Anuradhapura

(cont.)

Having reigned over Sri Lanka for over 1,200 years, the former capital city of Anuradhapura is one of South Asia’s most impressive historical sights. Among its many riches, Anuradhapura is home to the second most sacred place in all of Sri Lanka, the Bodhi Tree Temple, which contains the oldest historically authenticated tree in the world – said to have grown from a cutting of the tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment. Students get their fill of culture and history while exploring this ancient city, both on foot and by bike, then journey to the ancient buddhist caves near Dambulla. Sri Lanka’s ancient cities are sure to inspire and delight the most intrepid of travelers.

Sri Lanka Trip Brochure

  • Get Our Free Online Brochure

    Full of detailed information about our journeys, staff, and FAQs for you to access anytime
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
High School Adventure Trip Sri Lanka

Closing Activities

1 Day

Students say goodbye to their new friends at GoBeyond. Without fail, there’s a mix of emotions – there is excitement to return home; there’s sadness to leave. On the final day of the service trip to Sri Lanka, students are transferred to the Colombo airport by our professional staff, checked in, then travel on to their respective homes and families. Yet the journey continues for each individual in undefinable ways. The lessons we learn, the friends we make, and the personal growth we gain through GoBeyond Sri Lanka shapes our hearts and minds for many years to come.

Sri Lanka Summer Trip
Volunteer With Elephants
High School Travel Tour Sri Lanka
High School Community Service Projects
Sri Lanka Shopkeeper
Sri Lanka Volunteer With Animals
Sri Lanka Service Trip

Need More Information?

Affiliates

GoBeyond is a proud supporter of local, national, and international service organizations around the world.

On the Plight of the Elephants Journey, students have the opportunity to work closely with local people on projects where the need is authentic and the results are long-lasting. When our time is up, we provide much needed financial help with a direct donation, which helps fund partner projects in an ongoing way. Consider your impact…join GoBeyond this summer and make a difference!

  • SLWCS Logo

    Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society

    The Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society (SLWCS) is an international, community-based organization committed to the research, conservation and protection of Sri Lanka's endangered wildlife, communities, and natural habitats.

Need To Know

Is this journey right for me?

This high school summer travel program is for the student looking for a meaningful service experience, centered on wildlife, endangered species, and scientific research. Whether you prefer the ocean, mountains, rainforest, or city – Sri Lanka offers all of it within just a short distance. Students applying for the Plight of the Elephants Journey should be ready for authentic and engaging experiences in both service work and active cultural excursions. If you enjoy working with animals, exploring natural wonders and stretching the borders of your comfort zone, then this is the journey for you.

What's the group like?

There’s really no rigid mold that GoBeyond participants are cut from. Since our students come from different backgrounds all over the world, the groups end up being naturally diverse. Everyone arrives with different goals, expectations, hopes, and fears but they quickly find common ground and begin to bond. The GoBeyond environment allows team members to connect quickly and become closer friends than anyone would expect. Many students report leaving feeling as though they had known their fellow students much longer than they actually had.

Our philosophy revolves around small group sizes that are still large enough to foster a sense of community. For the Plight of the Elephants Journey, we’ve found that a group size of maximum 12 students works best. This high school summer travel program does not require any previous experience, skills, or language fluency – only a willingness to get involved and appreciate each incredible adventure.

Who are the staff?

GoBeyond is proud to attract and recruit the best in our field. Our summer staff consists of avid world travelers, highly qualified professionals, and fun and experienced facilitators and educators. All members of our team are dynamic, multi-talented, and passionate individuals with a devotion and commitment to the safety and experience of our students.

The average age of our summer staff is 26. Staff skills are journey specific, such as holding a maritime license in the BVIs or having a background in childcare for China. All staff are First Aid and CPR certified, and many hold advanced training certificates such as Wilderness First Responder or EMT. Along with local guides and our community service partners, the ratio of staff to students is approximately 1:5. This enables close interaction and individualized attention during the journey.

Learn More About Our Staff

What do I need to bring?

GoBeyond students are responsible for carrying their luggage from place to place. As such, we recommend that you keep things simple and avoid over packing. Students are given the opportunity to do laundry throughout the trip, so there’s no need to pack several weeks’ worth of clothing.

Our hope is that families will have minimal purchases prior to the trip, so we’ve compiled our packing lists in a way that you’ll find most of what you need in your closet at home. Around mid to late March, we make available our Pre-Trip Packet to enrolled students, which contains a detailed packing list for this year’s journey. 

During the trip, students will need an emergency/travel credit or debit card in addition to personal spending cash. The credit or debit card (minimum balance of $400) is intended to cover travel costs to and from the program and any unanticipated costs that might arise such as clinic or hospital visits. While not required, if you are concerned about loss or theft, students do have the option of storing their credit or debit card with our staff during the journey.

GoBeyond will pay all major program costs while traveling and working, but there will also be opportunities for students to spend money on personal items. The most common expenses include snacks, souvenirs, and phone/internet time (calling cards, internet centers, etc.). Based on our past experience, some students will spend less and some will spend more than our recommendation ($200). Judge this amount by the spending habits of your student. Please set up boundaries for its use, as GoBeyond cannot be responsible for monitoring student spending. If you are concerned about loss or theft, students can give staff up to $100 of their spending cash to be put into safekeeping/drawn later.

Where do we stay?

GoBeyond is not a luxury journey; however, we utilize comfortable, clean, and safe accommodations during our trips. During the service days of our Sri Lanka program, our students typically stay at SLWCS’s rustic and basic housing for volunteers, the Pussellayaya Field House, due to its close proximity to the projects. During our travels around the country, our students utilize more standard hotels, hostels, and B&Bs.

What do we eat?

GoBeyond’s tuition covers all meals after arrival in the host country. We strive for healthy, nutritious, and delicious meals, and serve a mixture of local and international fare (including Western). For our Sri Lanka journey, we primarily eat at the Pussellayaya Field House during the service days of the program, then local restaurants for our excursions around the country.

Note, as GoBeyond is a health-conscious program, our staff do not provide large quantities of “junk” food (i.e. sodas, chips, candy bars, large desserts, etc.). Students can always supplement our meals and snacks by shopping locally for their own items.

During the application process, families can inform us of any dietary allergies or restrictions. We are usually able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, pescetarians, etc., as well as various food allergies. However, if your student has a severe allergy to peanuts or other common substances, please call our office to discuss the options.

Nitty Gritty

Flights
Are flights included in the tuition?

Since students join us from all over the world, the cost of transportation to and from the destination country is not included in the program tuition.

Who should we contact to book travel?

Helping to coordinate our students’ travel is of vital importance – and a mammoth task! For this reason, we strongly suggest that all families start by contacting our travel coordinator, Leah Hernandez of TRC Travel Center (T: +1.281.528.7727 or 800.329.9000 • E: leahctn68@hotmail.com). Even if you are not originating in the U.S., Leah will be able to provide options and guidance.

When should I book flights?

We suggest you wait until March 20th, and here’s why. The quality of the experience is in large part defined by the makeup of the student team, and unfortunately we can’t determine the status of a specific journey or session until we receive the appropriate number of enrollments to guarantee a great experience (which is typically no fewer than six). Therefore, unless you select a ticket fare type or flight insurance policy that allows flexibility for date modifications, refunds, or credits, we suggest that families wait until after March 20th to book their international flights.

What is the preferred itinerary for U.S.-based students?

Each year, GoBeyond works with TRC Travel Center to select a preferred itinerary to/from Colombo (CMB) via New York (JFK) and Dubai (DBX). GoBeyond strongly encourages U.S.-based families to book on our recommended route, so that as many students as possible can fly together as a team. Please bear in mind, however, that GoBeyond has no control over the number of participants that choose to fly via JFK and DBX. Depending on the desires of other participants, the number of students traveling on the recommended route can vary greatly.

What about an alternate itinerary that suits us better?

Since students come from all over the U.S. and world, it is not required that students book on our preferred itinerary.  For non-U.S. based students, those looking to use frequent flier miles, or others who are not booking with TRC Travel Center or on our preferred flight itinerary, please contact our office prior to booking to ensure you are arriving and departing Sri Lanka at appropriate times. Note that the journey start date (as shown above) is the date upon which the GoBeyond group flight departs New York. Due to time zone differences, the group flight may actually land in CMB the day after. The journey end date is the date upon which the GoBeyond group flight departs CMB.

Does GoBeyond provide support on travel days?

Yes. We understand that travel days can be stressful for both parents and students, so no matter what time of the day or night, our office team actively monitors and supports our participants during travel. We require students to travel with a mobile phone with domestic data capability so we can monitor their progress and communicate directly if necessary. For certain flight connections, GoBeyond also offers on-site airport assistance, yet our experience has shown that being active and available to everyone electronically is often more effective in quickly troubleshooting snags than being physically present in just one location. For this specific journey…

  • Preferred Itinerary (Outbound flight, JFK to DBX to CMB) – In some instances, particularly for the first session of the summer, GoBeyond has a group leader who flies with the students on the preferred itinerary at the start of the trip. When a group leader is not able to travel with the students on this outbound flight, GoBeyond will typically hire a representative for the JFK airport who is responsible for helping troubleshoot any flight/connection issues that may arise.
  • Preferred Itinerary (Inbound flight, CMB to DBX to JFK) – On occasion, particularly for the last session of the summer, a group leader will return to the U.S. on the preferred flight with the students. If a staff member is not able to return with the students, GoBeyond will not typically hire an in-airport representative for JFK. This is due to the lack of an on-site representative’s ability to attend to customs/immigration issues and ongoing connection coordination when they do not arrive with the students.

For more information on airport assistance, please contact our office. We will be glad to let you know what type of support we typically offer for your journey (specific plans will only be available nearer the travel date).

Can I leave a program a day or two early or arrive a day or two late?

We understand that commitments at home may necessitate a student wanting to arrive or depart from our program on days other than our standard published dates. Each scenario is unique, and while we accommodate these requests when we can, we need to plan appropriately so that we know those additional staff resources are in place to ensure a safe, well-coordinated travel experience. We don’t charge extra tuition for accommodating non-standard travel, yet we do require that parents cover the direct costs associated with any additional staff travel, off-site accommodation, and meals. Please use this form to initiate a formal request for us to consider your non-standard travel wishes and a representative will contact you to discuss possibilities.

Travel Docs & Vaccinations
Skip the stress and plan ahead

GoBeyond cannot apply for passports or visas on a student’s behalf, but we can provide the information you need to do so yourself. At the time of writing, students traveling on U.S. passports need a visa (application instructions are provided upon enrollment) and must have 6+ months of passport validity after the departure date from Sri Lanka. For the most up-to-date and thorough information, please visit travel.state.gov. Students traveling on non-U.S. passports should verify passport and visa requirements for your nationality by contacting your local Sri Lankan embassy or consulate.

GoBeyond understands that families have varying opinions on vaccinations. Some greatly desire the precaution; others prefer to avoid possible side effects of certain medications such as anti-malarials. Coupled with the fact that each student has unique medical considerations known best by his or her doctor, GoBeyond does not supply medical advice. We recommend that all families refer to the expertise of the CDC (wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel), their health care providers, and/or a travel clinic.

Itinerary
Living in the moment

Though the fundamentals of our journeys do not change, specific journey logistics evolve over time. It is typical for our community service partners to not choose our project areas until late spring/early summer, thus the final touches to our itineraries are not always set until then. The journey overview portions on this page should give all families a basic understanding of the kinds of activities we do on the journey. We also suggest last year’s Trip Updates if you need more descriptions. For the most up-to-date information on our expected itineraries, feel free to Contact our office.

With that in mind, we encourage all participants to “live in the moment” while on the journey. Travel, even on organized trips, requires flexibility and a willingness to accept adversity and change. Your journey country may not be as efficient, orderly, and/or timely as you are used to. We hope you’ll take the bumps in stride, and enjoy the adventure!

Service Hours
Service Hours, Letters & Awards

After the completion of summer, all students (U.S. and non-U.S. students alike) receive a GoBeyond service letter reflecting their participation on the journey.* The GoBeyond service letter describes the type of service work performed, the number of hours awarded, and is printed and signed on our letterhead. Typically, our letter is accepted by most high schools/colleges as proof of community service participation. If your school needs a specific form signed or evaluation filled out, please make sure to bring this on the trip so a staff member can assist you.

President's Volunteer Service AwardPresident’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) – In addition, GoBeyond is a certifying organization for the President’s Volunteer Service Award. The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation established the award program as a way to thank and honor individuals who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service. GoBeyond is able to award the PVSA to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who qualify based on his/her age and the number of service hours accrued during the journey (14-15 year olds need 50+ hours, 16-18 year olds need 100+ hours). Please note that GoBeyond does not make the rules regarding who is eligible for the PVSA. Eligibility criteria is set by the governmental agency and, at this point in time, non-U.S. citizens/permanent residents are not eligible to receive the award. 

Learn More About The PVSA

* Note: Presence alone does not necessarily earn students the community service hours. GoBeyond reserves the right to deduct hours due to non-participation and/or early dismissal. Participants who work hard and participate in all journey activities will receive the full number of service hours available for their program.

Tuition
GoBeyond tuition fees cover the following:
  • All in-country journey accommodation, meals, and ground transportation
  • Full-time service adventure staff, local guides, and tips
  • All group activities including service projects and materials, sight-seeing trips, and educational excursions
  • Physical and monetary donations to our partner organizations

Not included in the GoBeyond tuition fees are personal expenses such as the cost of obtaining passports, visas, vaccinations, airport taxes, extra baggage fees, health and travel insurance, medical and evacuation expenses, personal spending money, e-mail, phone calls, laundry, souvenirs, etc. As students come from all over the world, air transportation is not included. Please see the Flights tab for more details.

OUR 5-8 WEEK Journeys

Any consecutive programs may be joined to form one extended course. In the interim between programs, students stay with staff. The total cost is determined by combining the cost of each program and subtracting the 5% extended course discount.  This discount also applies toward any trips adjoining our sister program, ActionQuest. ActionQuest and/or GoBeyond enrollment for any consecutive programs in the same summer will be considered as a single extended program in the event of withdrawal or dismissal from the trip at any time.

Financial Aid
Every year, GoBeyond awards a number of partial tuition scholarships

The financial aid budget is determined by the GoBeyond Directors and is allocated from the organization’s operating budget. Eligibility is based on a number of factors, including financial need, past academic performance, community involvement, and promise of success on the journey.

As students come from all over the world, flight and travel costs are not included at any scholarship level, nor spending money and other additional costs associated with traveling abroad (vaccinations, doctor visits, visas, etc.). If you know that you are unable to fund your experience without financial assistance, then please visit our Financial Aid pages for more information and the application.

  • Flights
  • Travel Docs & Vaccinations
  • Itinerary
  • Service Hours
  • Tuition
  • Financial Aid
  • Are flights included in the tuition?

    Since students join us from all over the world, the cost of transportation to and from the destination country is not included in the program tuition.

    Who should we contact to book travel?

    Helping to coordinate our students’ travel is of vital importance – and a mammoth task! For this reason, we strongly suggest that all families start by contacting our travel coordinator, Leah Hernandez of TRC Travel Center (T: +1.281.528.7727 or 800.329.9000 • E: leahctn68@hotmail.com). Even if you are not originating in the U.S., Leah will be able to provide options and guidance.

    When should I book flights?

    We suggest you wait until March 20th, and here’s why. The quality of the experience is in large part defined by the makeup of the student team, and unfortunately we can’t determine the status of a specific journey or session until we receive the appropriate number of enrollments to guarantee a great experience (which is typically no fewer than six). Therefore, unless you select a ticket fare type or flight insurance policy that allows flexibility for date modifications, refunds, or credits, we suggest that families wait until after March 20th to book their international flights.

    What is the preferred itinerary for U.S.-based students?

    Each year, GoBeyond works with TRC Travel Center to select a preferred itinerary to/from Colombo (CMB) via New York (JFK) and Dubai (DBX). GoBeyond strongly encourages U.S.-based families to book on our recommended route, so that as many students as possible can fly together as a team. Please bear in mind, however, that GoBeyond has no control over the number of participants that choose to fly via JFK and DBX. Depending on the desires of other participants, the number of students traveling on the recommended route can vary greatly.

    What about an alternate itinerary that suits us better?

    Since students come from all over the U.S. and world, it is not required that students book on our preferred itinerary.  For non-U.S. based students, those looking to use frequent flier miles, or others who are not booking with TRC Travel Center or on our preferred flight itinerary, please contact our office prior to booking to ensure you are arriving and departing Sri Lanka at appropriate times. Note that the journey start date (as shown above) is the date upon which the GoBeyond group flight departs New York. Due to time zone differences, the group flight may actually land in CMB the day after. The journey end date is the date upon which the GoBeyond group flight departs CMB.

    Does GoBeyond provide support on travel days?

    Yes. We understand that travel days can be stressful for both parents and students, so no matter what time of the day or night, our office team actively monitors and supports our participants during travel. We require students to travel with a mobile phone with domestic data capability so we can monitor their progress and communicate directly if necessary. For certain flight connections, GoBeyond also offers on-site airport assistance, yet our experience has shown that being active and available to everyone electronically is often more effective in quickly troubleshooting snags than being physically present in just one location. For this specific journey…

    • Preferred Itinerary (Outbound flight, JFK to DBX to CMB) – In some instances, particularly for the first session of the summer, GoBeyond has a group leader who flies with the students on the preferred itinerary at the start of the trip. When a group leader is not able to travel with the students on this outbound flight, GoBeyond will typically hire a representative for the JFK airport who is responsible for helping troubleshoot any flight/connection issues that may arise.
    • Preferred Itinerary (Inbound flight, CMB to DBX to JFK) – On occasion, particularly for the last session of the summer, a group leader will return to the U.S. on the preferred flight with the students. If a staff member is not able to return with the students, GoBeyond will not typically hire an in-airport representative for JFK. This is due to the lack of an on-site representative’s ability to attend to customs/immigration issues and ongoing connection coordination when they do not arrive with the students.

    For more information on airport assistance, please contact our office. We will be glad to let you know what type of support we typically offer for your journey (specific plans will only be available nearer the travel date).

    Can I leave a program a day or two early or arrive a day or two late?

    We understand that commitments at home may necessitate a student wanting to arrive or depart from our program on days other than our standard published dates. Each scenario is unique, and while we accommodate these requests when we can, we need to plan appropriately so that we know those additional staff resources are in place to ensure a safe, well-coordinated travel experience. We don’t charge extra tuition for accommodating non-standard travel, yet we do require that parents cover the direct costs associated with any additional staff travel, off-site accommodation, and meals. Please use this form to initiate a formal request for us to consider your non-standard travel wishes and a representative will contact you to discuss possibilities.

  • Skip the stress and plan ahead

    GoBeyond cannot apply for passports or visas on a student’s behalf, but we can provide the information you need to do so yourself. At the time of writing, students traveling on U.S. passports need a visa (application instructions are provided upon enrollment) and must have 6+ months of passport validity after the departure date from Sri Lanka. For the most up-to-date and thorough information, please visit travel.state.gov. Students traveling on non-U.S. passports should verify passport and visa requirements for your nationality by contacting your local Sri Lankan embassy or consulate.

    GoBeyond understands that families have varying opinions on vaccinations. Some greatly desire the precaution; others prefer to avoid possible side effects of certain medications such as anti-malarials. Coupled with the fact that each student has unique medical considerations known best by his or her doctor, GoBeyond does not supply medical advice. We recommend that all families refer to the expertise of the CDC (wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel), their health care providers, and/or a travel clinic.

  • Living in the moment

    Though the fundamentals of our journeys do not change, specific journey logistics evolve over time. It is typical for our community service partners to not choose our project areas until late spring/early summer, thus the final touches to our itineraries are not always set until then. The journey overview portions on this page should give all families a basic understanding of the kinds of activities we do on the journey. We also suggest last year’s Trip Updates if you need more descriptions. For the most up-to-date information on our expected itineraries, feel free to Contact our office.

    With that in mind, we encourage all participants to “live in the moment” while on the journey. Travel, even on organized trips, requires flexibility and a willingness to accept adversity and change. Your journey country may not be as efficient, orderly, and/or timely as you are used to. We hope you’ll take the bumps in stride, and enjoy the adventure!

  • Service Hours, Letters & Awards

    After the completion of summer, all students (U.S. and non-U.S. students alike) receive a GoBeyond service letter reflecting their participation on the journey.* The GoBeyond service letter describes the type of service work performed, the number of hours awarded, and is printed and signed on our letterhead. Typically, our letter is accepted by most high schools/colleges as proof of community service participation. If your school needs a specific form signed or evaluation filled out, please make sure to bring this on the trip so a staff member can assist you.

    President's Volunteer Service AwardPresident’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) – In addition, GoBeyond is a certifying organization for the President’s Volunteer Service Award. The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation established the award program as a way to thank and honor individuals who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service. GoBeyond is able to award the PVSA to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who qualify based on his/her age and the number of service hours accrued during the journey (14-15 year olds need 50+ hours, 16-18 year olds need 100+ hours). Please note that GoBeyond does not make the rules regarding who is eligible for the PVSA. Eligibility criteria is set by the governmental agency and, at this point in time, non-U.S. citizens/permanent residents are not eligible to receive the award. 

    Learn More About The PVSA

    * Note: Presence alone does not necessarily earn students the community service hours. GoBeyond reserves the right to deduct hours due to non-participation and/or early dismissal. Participants who work hard and participate in all journey activities will receive the full number of service hours available for their program.

  • GoBeyond tuition fees cover the following:
    • All in-country journey accommodation, meals, and ground transportation
    • Full-time service adventure staff, local guides, and tips
    • All group activities including service projects and materials, sight-seeing trips, and educational excursions
    • Physical and monetary donations to our partner organizations

    Not included in the GoBeyond tuition fees are personal expenses such as the cost of obtaining passports, visas, vaccinations, airport taxes, extra baggage fees, health and travel insurance, medical and evacuation expenses, personal spending money, e-mail, phone calls, laundry, souvenirs, etc. As students come from all over the world, air transportation is not included. Please see the Flights tab for more details.

    OUR 5-8 WEEK Journeys

    Any consecutive programs may be joined to form one extended course. In the interim between programs, students stay with staff. The total cost is determined by combining the cost of each program and subtracting the 5% extended course discount.  This discount also applies toward any trips adjoining our sister program, ActionQuest. ActionQuest and/or GoBeyond enrollment for any consecutive programs in the same summer will be considered as a single extended program in the event of withdrawal or dismissal from the trip at any time.

  • Every year, GoBeyond awards a number of partial tuition scholarships

    The financial aid budget is determined by the GoBeyond Directors and is allocated from the organization’s operating budget. Eligibility is based on a number of factors, including financial need, past academic performance, community involvement, and promise of success on the journey.

    As students come from all over the world, flight and travel costs are not included at any scholarship level, nor spending money and other additional costs associated with traveling abroad (vaccinations, doctor visits, visas, etc.). If you know that you are unable to fund your experience without financial assistance, then please visit our Financial Aid pages for more information and the application.