Global Giveaway Sends Students Traveling Worldwide

In July 2012, People to People Ambassador Group sent students to Japan for the first time since the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit in 2011. Partnering with MTV, People to People also ran an Act for Japan contest to give away one full tuition travel scholarship. Now the organization is partnering with actress Holly Robinson Peete to award five students with travel scholarships to participate on a People to People adventure.

Holly’s Global Giveaway will send the winners to a destination of their choice including a journey to Australia, England, France, Italy, India, China or even Antarctica.

This contest is still open, but not for long, as three out of five students have already been chosen. Submit your entry to tell People to People why you should join Holly’s Global Trekkers and see the world as a student ambassador by January 31, 2013.Peete, also a mother of four, experienced first-hand the positive impact global travel and study abroad can have on a student, and plans to send two of her own children on a People to People trip this summer.

“I had the opportunity to study abroad at a young age and I believe it is a critical component to ensuring our kids can compete in a globalized world,” said Holly Robinson Peete in a Marketwatch report. “I look forward to allowing my children the same life experience and working with People to People to send five deserving students on the trip of a lifetime.”

That’s why she’s partnered with People to People Student Ambassador Programs to give two lucky students an all-expenses paid international travel experience they’ll never forget.

Three of the five scholarships have already been awarded during Holly’s recent appearance on “The Wendy Williams Show.” These students were affected by Hurricane Sandy. Since Williams is from New Jersey, People to People wanted to help lift the spirits of these kids around the holidays.

[Photo Credit- Flickr user Satbir]

National Geographic announces photo contest for students

Earlier this week, National Geographic launched their first ever Student Photo Contest by inviting high school students to submit a photo that they think best captures the essence of exploration. Entrants into the competition will be competing to win a trip on a Nat Geo Student Expedition later this summer.

Aspiring shutterbugs are encouraged to comb through their photo library to find up to five images that they wish to enter into the contest. Then they simply visit the submissions page where they’ll be asked to upload the photos and write a brief 100-word description of each image and how it defines exploration for them. Once that step is complete, they’ll be able to share their photos online with friends and family as well.

The winning image will earn the photographer an all expense paid trip to London to attend this summer’s London Photography Workshop. That 12-day program will allow students to hone their skills while learning from one of National Geographic’s top photographers. Mornings are spent in the classroom studying new techniques, while afternoons are spent out in the field where they’ll be able to put their newfound skills to the test. The trip is valued at approximately $6500 and is a once in a lifetime opportunity for a lucky photographer of any age.

The photo contest is open to U.S. residents who are currently in grades 9-12. Submissions are being accepted through April 1st with a winner being notified via email by April 16. For more information, including the official rules, click here.

National Geographic offers new Student Expeditions for 2012

High school students looking for something to occupy their time next summer, just received a host of tantalizing new options courtesy of National Geographic. Earlier this week, the organization announced several new trips as part of their Student Expeditions program, which provide young people with the opportunity to experiencing some of the world’s top destinations, while learning about new cultures, building new skills, and making a difference in the community there.

Nat Geo’s student programs come in three different varieties: expeditions, field workshops, and community service trips. The expeditions are two to three weeks in length and focus on exploring the cultures and landscapes of the destination in a very in depth way. Field workshops, on the other hand, are shorter, usually 11-12 days, and offer students the opportunity to stay in a more central location, while taking part in daily active excursions into the surrounding area. The community service programs take place in a local community, with the participants spending roughly 30-40 hours, over a 14-15 day period, on a service project there.

Some of the new options that fall under the Student Expeditions umbrella for 2012 include community service projects in Tanzania, Peru, and Cambodia, as well as field workshops in Sicily, Buenos Aires and the Grand Canyon. Additionally, aspiring photographers will want to sign up for a new photography workshop to be held in London and led by one of National Geographic’s top photographers. These new options join a host of existing trips that can take aspiring explorers to Alaska, New Zealand, the Galapagos Islands, and beyond. To review all of the opportunities, click here.

The National Geographic Student Expeditions are a fantastic way for high school students to not only explore the world, but also get amazing insights into these destinations that you can’t find elsewhere. As you would expect, the trips are always led by very knowledgeable guides, and a Nat Geo expert joins the students for at least a portion of the trip as well. For example, on the Tanzania Expedition, the travelers are joined by wildlife photographer Pete McBride, while those on the Galapagos trip get to spend time with biologist and filmmaker Greg Marshall. The other options all offer similar experiences, which are simply invaluable to impressionable young people who are eager to learn about our planet.

Interested students or parents can learn more about the expeditions and how to apply by clicking here.

[Photo Credit: Erika Skogg]

Photo of the Day – English Class in Vietnam

As we travel the world taking in the sights and sounds, it’s often easy to forget that the people whom we romanticize are just people living their own lives and trying to fulfill their own dreams. Those workers tending rice paddies, artisans weaving tapestries and farmers herding livestock may make for some fanastic stories when we return home, but they all remain where we saw them, taking on each day as it comes. Just like these students in an English class in Mu Cang Chai, Vietnam.

This photo by flickr user pirano shows a classroom filled with students seeking to improve their lives by learning to speak English. Each one of them has their own goals, desires and hopes. Perhaps one of them will make it to New York one day, snap a picture of me commuting and show it off to their friends back home as an example of how we live day-to-day.

Taken any inspiring travel photos? Why not add them to our Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

Photo of the day (8.5.10)

This photo by narinnr from Kagoshima, Japan (the Naples of the East, says Wikipedia) captures a Ferris wheel built atop a shopping center next to the train station. How fun is that? Imagine if you could kill time between trains at Penn Station riding high above New York?! I’m partial to the Gravitron when choosing an amusement ride, although spinning around against centrifugal force is probably not so fun before a long train ride.

Even more interesting are the statues in front of the Ferris wheel, part of the Satuma students’ monument, dedicated to 19 Japanese students smuggled into Britain in 1865 to learn Western technology. Imagine being the first in your country to study abroad and being responsible for the start of the industrial revolution. Kinda makes a semester abroad in Prague drinking as much beer as humanly possible seem a little weak.

Do you have a photo that will inspire many Google and Wikipedia searches? Or maybe an interesting monument or an unusually-located amusement ride in your travels? Upload it to Gadling’s Flickr group and we might use it for a future Photo of the Day.