TEEN RETREAT FAQs
Q: What do the retreats cost?
A: Each retreat has an all inclusive price associated with it. We work hard to keep all of the teen 3+ week learning retreats under the $3400 mark. For the mini-retreats, they run around $1,500. In addition to the retreat fee, there is a one time, non-refundable $50 application fee. This fee is per single teen / young adult.
Q: What do the retreat fees cover?
A: Each retreat covers the following. Specifics for each retreat will be found under the individual retreat page.
- Full accommodation for the duration of the learning community retreat
- All airport transfers
- All ground transportation
- Breakfast, lunch, and dinners during the retreat (with the exception of 2 free days scheduled during the 22 or 25 Day long retreats).
- Entrance fees to all the included attractions
- All workshops, talks, guided tours, and classes throughout the retreat.
Q: What does the cost not cover?
A: The cost does not cover extras such as souvenirs, toiletries, batteries, or other personal items. Laundry services are not included either. When free days are scheduled, meals during those days are not covered. (Please check the specific retreat description page.) Extra activities are available to be scheduled at a discount for our group, such as kayaking, horseback riding, surfing etc. These days can be used to shop or just rest and reflect. Also additional snacks throughout the retreat are not covered and in some cases nor is water.
International flights from your home country to each retreat location are not included.
Q: How do I apply?
A: Please submit an application. If you are a teen, please submit your application here.
Q: How long will it take for you to review my application?
A: Upon receiving your completed application and your $50 processing fee, we will review your application within 1 week. Upon review, we will then send you an email to arrange a Skype conference call. After the conference call, you will receive a notification that will inform you whether or not you’ve been accepted to participate in the 2016 retreat.
Q: Once I am accepted, what is the next step?
A: The next step will be to make $1000 USD non-refundable deposit to hold your space. This deposit must be paid upon acceptance to the learning community retreat within 30 days.
Q: Is my deposit refundable?
A: The deposit is not refundable. However, any balance paid beyond the $1000 deposit is refundable if an emergency arises and the participant needs to cancel. You will receive the enrollment paperwork at that time with the payment dates to guarantee your spot. Project World School is happy to arrange a payment schedule for the balance if needed.
Q: How do I pay?
A: Payments can be made via PayPal, wire-transfer, or you can make a deposit in any Bank of America branch.
Q: What if I have to raise money for the retreat?
A: Many participants will need to raise money to attend this retreat. We have put together a fundraising page with ideas for you here.
Q: Can I make payments?
A: Yes you can make payments. Arrangements will be made on a person-to-person basis. Please contact us for more information here. All payment agreements will be outlined in the personalized enrollment paperwork that will be submitted with the initial deposit.
Q: When are the deadlines for the payments and reservations?
A: We will hold reservations until they sell out. All final payments are due 30 days prior to each retreat. However, full (or partial) payment will be needed to hold your reservation after the 30 day initial deposit.
Q: Do you offer scholarships or discounts?
A: Scholarships: No, for the 2015 / 2016 Project World School events we are not offering scholarships. However we are working with sponsors to raise scholarships funds and that may change in the near future. Please check back with us regularly for the status.
Discounts: Yes. We are developing a teen – leader program for past participants if they wish to return to a previous location on a work / trade option. If you qualify and are interested, please send us an inquiry here.
We assure you, that you won’t find an immersive retreat anywhere for this length of time in a foreign country, including food, accommodations, immersive learning experiences and workshops for under the price we produce our retreats. We approach each of the planning from an inside-out perspective, living in each community first and utilizing only local contacts for authentic experiences. To be clear, we do not plan and produce superficial tourist experiences.
Q: What is the refund policy?
A: We will fully refund any payment beyond the initial deposit of $1000 before the retreat starts. Because we enter into an agreement that your intention is to attend the retreat we purchase transportation, tickets to attractions, etc. on your behalf. If you decide not to attend, after your deposit has been made, you will forfeit your deposit. We do understand unexpected things can take you by surprise, such as illnesses, family emergencies, etc. If this is the case, we are willing to discuss the issue with you on a personal level and will work with you to figure out the best way to handle the situation in regards to the retreat. We are not out to take your money; we are more interested in entering a trusting partnership with each retreat participant so we can build an incredible learning community together. But these answers are designed to outline what our needs are, the manner in which we need to agree to cooperate in order to manifest the Project World School vision.
Q: A three week + retreat seems like a long time, can I only attend a portion of the retreat for a discount?
A: We are sorry for any inconvenience, but no. We have designed each retreat that really requires the entire duration. Each experience builds upon the previous day. But more importantly, we are building community. The most important element is your full participation in creating, facilitating, and nurturing a dynamic learning community we will all be responsible for. In some cases, we’ve designed a mini-retreat as is the case of the 12 Day Ecuador Surf & Marine Biology retreat, based on your requests.
Q: Do I need a passport?
A: You will need a valid passport if you are joining us as a citizen of the United States, Canada, Australia or any of the European nations. If you are a citizen of any of the countries we are producing a retreat within, you will need only your national resident card. Please check with your own embassy for specific requirements. We do ask that you have a valid passport when making your reservation.
Q: How safe is the retreat?
A: This question is like asking, how safe is the world? We view the world as a safe place, therefore it is. We are taking every precaution to make the retreat safe and enjoyable. But we cannot predict earthquakes, natural disasters, zombie apocalypses, alien invasions, or accidents.
At the start of the retreat we will outline the safety procedures including emergency contacts, hospitals, and emergency procedures. We will make sure everyone understands these procedures. We will also implement a 3 person rule, for any free days. Also, we’ll mandate the use of sign out sheets for those who decide to explore the towns. Lastly, we’ll provide local phones for groups leaving the retreat center.
For medical emergencies, we require that all teen participants carry some form of medical – travel insurance, outlined on the enrollment form. Additionally each participant’s family will provide the proper release forms so that should medical attention be needed, one of the Project World School staff be authorized to act on your child’s behalf.
Yes, we experience the world as a safe place… Do you?
Q: What should I bring?
A: Most importantly of all, you must bring an enthusiastic open mind! This will catalyze your experience, no matter how you look at it.
As for ‘stuff’, we have prepared a packing list for each retreat. You can access that information on the individual retreat page under the heading “The Retreats“. Each retreat will involve a retreat center for the majority of the event, but there will be some 2-3 day excursions involved, so a large backpack and a carry on or day pack is preferred.
Remember, you can buy most of what you need in terms of toiletries, batteries, personal items, here. No need to go overboard there! The weather will be varied for each retreat and individual packing lists will be provided. Regardless of the location, it is always wise to pack layers, leggings, sweaters, thermals, a windbreaker, bathing suits, shorts, light wight shirts, etc. Be yourself, and be comfortable.
Q: Do I have to participate in every activity?
A: No, you don’t have to do anything.
But we hope with every commitment to come, each participant will bring his’ or her’s desire to participate in as many things as possible and support the spirit of the community. We also encourage each participant to trust the community enough to participate even when they are not interested or it is outside of their comfort zone. But it’s a fine line and if the participant feels they need to implement self care, and sit out of a certain activity, that will be honored. That is the spirit of a learning community.
It is the intention of Project World School that each participant will discover many more things that they didn’t have prior interests in, and become ‘inspired’ to see the world through new eyes! Together, we are creating a temporary ‘learning community‘ and that requires all that you bring in the form of ‘you’.
Q: Is Project World School a tour company?
A: No, we aren’t. We are an inspired mom and son who had a vision. We have engaged the help of some amazing folks to produce this retreat. If you have questions about who we are, please visit this page and / or visit our personal web site here.
Q: Do I need to have my own health insurance in case of an emergency?
A: Yes. We are requiring all teens to provide their own travel heath insurance. This can be in the form of regular health insurance from the United States, some form of travel insurance, and even credit cards offer some type of coverage. We have negotiated a partnership with one of the leading travel insurance companies called World Nomads. Click here to get a quote for coverage for the retreat you are interested in participating in.
Q: Are the teens supervised?
A: Yes. However, we apply the principles of Radical Unschooling. For the sake of the community we will impose certain safety rules and ask that each person respects and agrees to these necessary guidelines at the beginning of each retreat. We will ask everyone to sign and agree to a code of conduct which covers our mutual policies. If you have any questions or concerns, please send us a note using our general contact form here.
Q: Will I be able to communicate back home?
A: Yes. We will have wifi at most of our locations. Additionally we try to post photos of the days events each day so you can see what we’ve been up to. Each participants encouraged to bring either a laptop, ipad or smart phone loaded with Skype, Facebook or email to keep everyone at home up to date.
Q: What is the code of conduct?
A: We have a code of conduct and it involves first and foremost a deep respect for ourselves, one another and our host country. We foster a culture of open communication through our evening “circles” and sharing. Each participant will recieve the code of conduct agreement within their welcome packet. Some of mutual agreements include respect personal and public property, and be responsible for our own well being and to always act with compassion. If conflicts arise we agree to address them immediately and if necessary mediated and resolved using principles of non-violent communication.
We encourage connection with one another, but sexual activity is not allowed.
In regards to language, we will never censor an opinion, use of swearing or profanity as long as it is used in the spirit of friendly conversation. We will not tolerate hate, bigotry, or disrespect of another human being, culture, or situation on any level.
We agree that violating any these agreements offers grounds for dismissal from the retreat.
Q: What agreements must I make in order to participate?
A: Well, as just stated above, there’s the code of conduct that must be agreed to. There’s also the required completed enrollment papers. And of course, complete payment must be made. But besides those things, there must be an agreement of participation, an agreement of open-mindedness, and an agreement of respect.
Q: What is Project World School’s policy on drugs, alcohol and tobacco?
A: Among the teens, we will not tolerate any alcohol, legal, or illegal drug use. We would prefer zero tobacco use as well, but if you are a tobacco smoker, we ask that you tell us during your skype interview, and we will discuss it there. For adults, we prefer you do not drink alcohol, but if you would like a beer or glass of wine at dinner, that’s fine.
During some of the retreats, we will be discussing the use of plant medicines. For example, Peru is known for some of the plant medicines that have what some consider ‘narcotic’ qualities, like Ayahuasca and the cactus San Pedro, to name a few. Although these natural plant medicines will be discussed they will be forbidden to be experienced during the retreat for both adult / family participants and teens. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this policy, please contact us here.
Q: What is the arrival and departure procedure?
A: You will be required to arrive anytime during assigned day at the international airport nearest to the retreat location. You will be required to provide us with your flight information and the Project World School staff will meet you at the airport and see you off when you leave.
Q: What are the accommodations like?
A: We work hard to find an appropriate retreat center for each retreat we produce. The requirements are shared sleeping rooms with bunk beds, shared bathrooms, a dining space, a meeting space and use of kitchen facilities. We will not be lodging in luxury and our accommodations will match the cultural experience of our host country. Please check the individual retreat information page for specific information.
Q: What will the meals be like?
A: Because we are are having a local experience, it’s important to have an open mind with the food choices. However we recognize we all have food preferences, some even have food allergies. We make our best efforts to accommodate everyone’s specific needs. We will always have one vegetarian option. Typical breakfasts include a combination of fruits, breads, jams, hot and cold cereals, coffee, teas, and juice. Packed lunches will be sandwiches, salads and fruit. Dinners will vary, and will always include the local flavors often times exploring traditional dishes.
Q: Can Project World School accommodate specific food allergies or sensitivities?
A: We’ll do our best. It will be up to you to describe and detail fully the extent of your issues. We will discuss this during your skype interview, so please be sure to outline your sensitivities clearly in your application.
Q: Do I have to be an unschooler, homeschooler or democratic schooler to participate?
A: No, you do not need to be any of those to participate. But it you are not familiar with natural learning and the idea surrounding learning communities, we suggest you read up on it and explore what natural learning is to you. You are welcome to come with open mind and heart, and we’re eager to have you!
Q: I have a disability, physical or otherwise. Can I still apply?
A: I would like to say as a general rule, “Come! Join us!” But I’m not sure we can. A good portion of our retreat will include hiking an other physically demanding activities. We say, let’s talk about it and if we can find a way to make it work for you we will do it. If you have true concerns about this, send us a note through our general contact form before submitting an application. The form is located here.
Q: Does Project World School have any religious affiliation?
A: No. We are not affiliated to any religious group, practice, or deity. We do however, recognize the most important factor of all: we are all part of the human race.
(…except the aliens, of course…)
Still more questions that weren’t answered here? Please send us a message via our contact form.
Have a question that hasn’t been answered here?
Please send us a question using our contact form here.