Welcome to the Open Enrollment Program Details page, which will provide you with more information about participating as an individual student on one of our Open Enrollment travel programs. Please read through each of the categories below and follow the links to find out more details on each topic.
Open Enrollment Program Types
Our Conservation Expeditions invite students to participate in scientific research projects, learn about diverse ecosystems, and lend a hand in community-based biodiversity conservation efforts.
Cultural Journeys provide deep insight into the history, culture, and natural heritage of our host countries through authentic immersive experiences. Students will explore ancient ruins, sample new foods, and develop valuable leadership skills.
Service Adventures combine authentic homestays, adventure travel, and meaningful service
projects. Students will be truly immersed in our host communities allowing them the time to reflect on their complex and important role as global citizens.
We work hard to create the perfect program itinerary in each destination that will be interesting, educational and truly immersive for our travelers. However, we know that sometimes travel can be unpredictable, so we always design our itineraries to be flexible enough to allow for adjustments based on group interests, unexpected opportunities, and any weather or safety concerns that might arise during your program. Should changes to the program or itinerary occur we will notify students and families as quickly as possible.
Health and Safety
Our in-country staff prepare meticulously for all programs. SSA will register our programs and travelers with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in case of emergency. In-country staff also verify the safety records of our partner organizations, vendors, and transportation providers, thoroughly vet homestay families via in depth interviews and home visits, and keep up on important current events in the region.
Program Leaders are seasoned travelers who are CPR and First Aid certified, undergo thorough training in crisis management, and participate in a multi-day leadership training retreat. We do our best to prepare for any eventuality and have detailed emergency protocols for our leaders, in-country staff and U.S.-based staff.
We receive medical disclosures from all participants to ensure we are able to meet every students’ needs during the program. Please inform us immediately of any additional health issues that you did not list during the initial registration process. Program Leaders will also hold an online information session before your departure, as well as an arrival orientation in-country, in order to give participants important instructions on food safety, hygiene and preventing injury and illness. Leaders and in-country staff always respond immediately to any mental, physical or emotional health issues and follow comprehensive emergency protocols.
Vaccination information and requirements can change frequently. Because of this, we suggest that you consult your local travel clinic and/or family physician for specific details.
Standards of Behavior
SSA provides fun, safe, and meaningful programs for our travelers. In order to achieve this goal, we need to create an environment of trust, security and respect. All individuals participating in our programs are required to take responsibility for their actions and adhere to a high standard of behavioral conduct. Any of the following are grounds for early dismissal or in-country consequences at our discretion.
- Possessing, consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs
- Associating with participants while they are in possession of or are consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs
- Behaving in a way that consistently damages the group dynamic or jeopardizes personal or group safety. This includes consistently displaying a negative attitude, intimidating or excluding other participants, sneaking out, disobeying group leaders, and any other behavior that is not conducive to an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.
GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL OR IN-COUNTRY CONSEQUENCE
- Getting a piercing or tattoo
- Stealing, or deliberately damaging or defacing any personal property, buildings or materials
- Threatening with or using weapons such as firearms, knives, explosives, etc.
- Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle
- Being out of designated area or accommodations after curfew
- Breaking group rules
These standards are essential for the successful completion of a travel program. Please take the time to review these rules as a family and make sure everyone understands and agrees to them before deciding to travel with us.
Open Enrollment participants are responsible for booking and paying for their international flight. As Smithsonian Student Adventure participant, you have two ways that you are able to make flight arrangements:
1.Book a seat on the suggested, chaperoned international group flight (Preferred Option)
Our Airport Liaison will help coordinate and direct the arrival and departure of participants on this flight, and your SSA Program Leader will accompany the group to and from the host country on the flight. The majority of SSA travelers choose this option.
2. Book your own flight to the host country.
For this (non-preferred) option, we require participants to arrive at the same time, or earlier (no more than 3 hours) as the suggested group flight’s planned arrival. If participants arrive on their own prior to the rest of the group, we will arrange to have a second Program Leader or the Country Director meet them as they land in the host country.
International participants that reside within the United States of America must also make sure they have a valid passport and visa to enter the destination country.
- Fill out and submit your application online by clicking here or click on the Enroll Now button at the top of the page.
- Pay the $250 deposit when you submit your application online. Credit card or electronic check is preferred.
- We will contact you for your teacher references and personal statement.
- Once we have heard back from your teacher references and you have been accepted, you will receive an acceptance letter and will be asked for further information.
- Enroll in monthly payments or pay in full at least 75 days prior to program start date.