A World of Unlimited Opportunity
It has been a turbulent few years, but the world is reopening. Wherever you want to go, whatever you want to learn, however you want to grow - helping you get your adventure off the ground is what ETC is all about. Whether you are looking to wander the city streets or get out to the middle of Patagonia, the Amazon, or the Sahara, we've done it ourselves and look forward to helping you live these experiences!
The World Awaits...
Middle East and North Africa
There's a reason they call it the cradle of civilization. Whether you are interested in ancient sites, modern geopolitics, desertification, climate change, renewables, language, religious coexistence, or just the chance to get to know one of the most hospitable, and misunderstood, regions in the world, travel in the Middle East and North Africa will leave your mind racing and ignite your senses. From focused trips of a few weeks to epic regional adventures, the Mediterranean to the Emirates, and even Iraq and Iran, we've been there, done that, and can't wait to use our expertise to help meet your vision.
Africa might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of independent travel, but that's a mistake - far too many will only experience Africa from the back of a luxury safari truck. The continent offers cultural and artistic experiences you can't find anywhere else. It's also a great place to engage in research on the impacts and efficacy of decolonization projects, sustainable local ecological protection, community-based governance, local sustainable fashion industries, the relationship between traditional and modern music and dance, and so much more. Oh yeah - and then there's the music, the color, and the nature.
Central America offers a mishmash of cultural engagement, adventure sports, and ecotourism opportunities in a tiny geographic package. Don't underestimate the region though, to travel Central America as a whole in one trip takes months. For travelers based in the western hemisphere, Central America is easily accessible by plane and many of the diverse nations on the list are perfect for school breaks of a couple of weeks. Whether you're interested in sustainable development, human migration, indigenous cultures and art, or just want to see some howler monkeys and climb some volcanos, this corner of the world is one we know well and would be profoundly excited to help you explore!
For many, the Caribbean evokes images of all-inclusive beach destinations rather than an opportunity for independent travel, but the Caribbean is a fascinating region of the world that is surprisingly under-explored. There is no place on earth more directly impacted by the historical processes of colonialism - the eradication of indigenous communities and their replacement with forcibly relocated populations from Africa and Asia - and the process towards sustainable independence here has been rocky. In addition, this is a land of uniquely diverse music, food, and geography. Take some time to explore this region of the world and you'll experience cultures, cuisines, and hospitality few are aware of, despite the high numbers of tourists jetting in and out of the region's resorts.
From a language school to ancient ruins, salsa parties to the Pantanal, somewhere in South America you can find exactly what you're looking for. We've sailed the Amazon, camped in the salt flats, gotten sunburnt in Rio, danced the night away in Buenos Aries. We've also worked with indigenous groups in their conflicts over land rights, made connections with labor leaders and politicians, and been to pristine jungles and toxic artisan gold mines. South America is a land of contrast, and we'd love to help you to navigate and experience experience all it can offer.
South America looms large on many travelers bucket lists - and no wonder - it is a giant. The distance from Cartagena to Ushuaia is about three times the distance from New York to San Francisco, 1.5 times that from Moscow to Vladivostok, and is slightly farther even than the trek from Cairo to Cape Town. Whether you're visiting one country or the continent - give South America time - you'll be glad you did.
Eastern Europe and Russia
Rapid change, the rise and fall of radically different regimes, an economic and political laboratory for countless causes - the further east one travels in Europe, the more it is likely to defy your expectations. Some of the most uniquely isolated areas of the world are here - think of Transnistria, Belarus, or Crimea - as are some of the world's most classically beautiful cities, Budapest, Kotor, Dubrovnik, and St Petersburg, to name a few. And then there is Russia, the world's largest country by landmass, with its comprehensive rail system inviting travelers to take a journey across an ethnically, economically, and politically diverse nation to gain an unrivaled understanding of historical and modern geopolitics. Then there is food, classical culture, architecture, we could go on and on about this underappreciated part of the planet. We've traveled the above nations and many more in the region, and look forward to helping you to discover the region and deepen your understandings of its realities, culture, and people, as well as their relationship to your areas of interest.
There's a reason traveling Europe is seen as a right of passage for young people and has been for centuries. Countless companies claim to support young people's exploration of Western Europe, but none of them know the continent as we do. We've spent collective decades exploring every part of the continent, living, hiking, cooking, and dancing. ETC can help you to do more than just take a tour bus or a series of flights and buses from museum to museum, and nightclub to nightclub. Music and culture are part of exploring Europe, but so are wanders through bustling markets, hikes through alpine peaks, days spent soaking up the sun, food, and sangria on a tour group free stretch of sand, and afternoons at sea with the locals as you make your way from island to island in the Mediterranean. We also work with a number of organizations dealing with important issues from climate change response to the refugee crisis, as well as a number of local and EU-wide initiatives related to human rights and the protection of culture. Whether you are traveling for personal growth, academic engagement, or both, we can help ensure your travels have real, transformational value.
60% of the world's population lives in Asia, a vast, culturally rich continent spanning from Russia to Rajasthan. Whether wandering the markets of China, the temples of Myanmar, the shrines of Japan, or the historical sites in Chiang Mai, Asia doesn't cease to amaze. Whether you are learning about different models of development, the struggles to balance population growth and sustainability, the balance between cultural integration of modernity and religious traditions, the legacy of civil war or US imperialism close up, or just want on the ground experience in the world's most important economies outside of the United States, getting to know Asia always pays off. We have the expertise in ground transportation, the navigation of occasionally complex entry requirements, and local knowledge that comes from decades of living across this dynamic continent to help you refine and design an itinerary that will change the way you see the world.
The vast expanses of the United States, Mexico, and Canada offer a profound diversity of cultures, both indigenous and international, as well as distinct culinary, geographical, and economic realities. Whether you are looking to hop in between select cities by plane or planning a quintessential road or rail trip, we can help you map your itinerary, engage with communities relevant to your areas of interest, and make your exploration of North America something far from average!
Australia and New Zealand
Australia and New Zealand are some of the classic student travel destinations. As these unique countries reopen to travelers, there is so much to celebrate! Safety, stability, and language accessibility for English speakers make it a great place to start exploring, and for those looking to stretch their travel budget there are some unique opportunities to mix work and travel here that the rest of the world doesn't offer. Additionally, quintessential sites such as mountain peaks, glaciers, and the Australian outback give a new perspective on land and space. We can help you plan to navigate these exciting but sparsely populated areas of the world with intimate knowledge of the infrastructural and logistical challenges involved, as well as supporting you in creating a viable schedule, setting goals, and engaging with the big issues of sustainability, immigration, and development which continue to be politically sensitive in the region.
Whether it's the wildlife or the desolation that brings you to the world's poles, you won't leave unchanged. Opportunities for scientific research, ecotourism engagement, as well as exploration of the impacts of tourism and a changing climate on local communities, abound here. The realities of climate change mean that this part of the world is genuinely endangered - at least as we know it. We support the exploration of this part of our planet, and, as with all of our programs, do so in the most environmentally responsible way possible.