Project World School | Project World School & Ethical Business Practice
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Project World School & Ethical Business Practice

Not only is it the aim of Project World School to benefit and serve young adults and adolescents on their worldschooling journey, benefiting local communities through positive and ethical practices is one of the organization’s top priorities. 


It is of paramount importance that our host countries are impacted positively by our presence, culturally, economically and environmentally. We want to ensure that our relationship is give-and-take, and not exclusively one sided.



 Case Study

Our Cusco & the Sacred Valley Teen Retreat is our longest running trip, and these values have been practiced on that retreat for years.




Some fundamentals of ethical practices are: hiring exclusively locals, paying fairly for services, only buying locally sourced products and approaching local cultures with respect. 

Kari owns a lunch stand in the San Pedro market and has been cooking for our groups for 5 years. We hire her to cater a few nights every retreat, and oftentimes she brings her mother and her 5 year old son to spend time with us.



Cesar is a mystical shaman who guides and facilitates our groups through an Andean ceremony known as a ‘Despacho’, which is a blessing for Pachamama (Mother Earth). We have known Cesar for over 6 years.



Etzon and his family are traditional weavers from Chinchero. 6 years ago, we met Etzon and his daughter at the local juice stand and fell in love with his family after they invited us to see their farm. Since then, they’ve opened up a community center for the weavers of Chinchero, and we’ve been going back every year since.



Ronnie owns the Ukuku’s Backpacker Hostel in Cusco. Coming from a small town in the Cusco region, it’s been his lifelong dream to open and run his very own hostel, and we’re proud to support his vision. We’ve been staying at Ukuku’s for 4 years now.

Sabino is a local luthier that crafts Andean instruments such as Chorongos, Bandurias and Harps. He’s run pan-flute making sessions for our groups for 6 years, and it’s rare that a retreat goes by without a participant returning to their home country with one of his handmade instruments.


Alain and his family live in Paruro. Every year they show us the process of bread making, chicha brewing and cooking cuy, (guinea pig) a plate that is reserved for special occasions. Alain and his family have become like family to us as well, and visiting them is often the highlight of our year.


Carlita is a Spanish teacher based in Cusco who has been giving lessons to our groups for 3 years. She is now pursuing a degree in humans’ rights, and teaching our groups help support her in her passions.


Nacho is a driver from a village just outside of Cusco. He’s transported our groups for 2 years, and has shared many stories and places with us, always with a huge smile.

 The Human Factor

These are just a few examples, but every single one of our relationships is like this. One of the to ways to ensure ethical interactions is to form personal relationships with people in our host communities. As worldschoolers, we are traveling to learn about the world around us, and by extension, ourselves, and it’s impossible to do that without genuine human connection. We get to know about their lives, share ours with them and in doing so, we support each other, emotionally, culturally and financially. 

Project World School Trip Spending

A small percentage of each retreat’s budget goes into our operating expenses which includes paying facilitators, covering their costs, and covering the cost for a teen volunteer. The majority of the money the participants pay go directly back into the experience. Please note that other travel companies tend to mark up their trip fees by as much as 50%. Only 10% of the entire budget has to be allocated towards PWS fees.

Each Project World School retreat budget is split between:

Project World School Fees0%


 The Worldschooler’s Code



During the Project World School Teen Retreats, service is another large component of our ethical practice. We feel that it’s important to give back to our host communities in the form of volunteer work. PWS has frequently worked with animal sanctuaries, shelters and preservation centers. However, it is important to note that PWS does a lot of research to make sure that our presence is actually serving a community and not hindering it, as is the case in many ‘voluntourism’ trips.

We approach local cultures with respect, and not judgement. A good example of this is with our homestay in Paruro, when we prepare the traditional plate of cuy (guinea pig). We honor their traditions, their processes, and their perspectives. Instead of passing judgement, we show gratitude for having been allowed to participate at all.

These are just some ways in which we practice ethics while working with locals abroad, and it’s with this vision in mind that we, as worldschoolers, must approach the world.