Frequently Asked Questions about Broadreach
By Carley Hill, Broadreach HQ
The best question to ask about a Broadreach program is “what else do I need to know?” and we’re happy when parents and students have a solid understanding of what to expect before enrolling. It’s challenging to fully explain a Broadreach experience in just words and photos, especially since we like to learn a little about each specific student’s goals and experience to help determine which program is the best fit. Although the answers to many frequently asked questions vary by program, these are some of the subjects that prospective families are most curious about:
HOW MANY STUDENTS ARE IN A GROUP? WHAT IS RATIO OF GIRLS TO BOYS?
Our groups range from 8-12 students for most programs, which we’ve found is an ideal size for students to be able to get to know each other and form meaningful connections. We strive for an even balance of girls and boys, although some subjects tend to attract more of one gender than the other. Overall, students’ shared interest and excitement in what they are experiencing is what bonds the group more than common gender or grade level.
SHOULD I COME ALONE OR WITH A FRIEND?
Since our groups are fairly small and students join our programs from all over North America and sometimes other parts of the world, we prefer when students come alone. It’s wonderful to start from square one with everyone and really get to be yourself and build new friendships with other students. While we sometimes have relatives or a pair of friends on a program together, we expect each student to act as an individual and will rotate roommates and partners for different activities.
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO SLEEP ON A BOAT?
Waking up surrounded by the sea is an invigorating experience that students often dream about months after returning home. On our liveaboard programs in the Caribbean, home is a 48-foot catamaran. The boats will have 4 cabins with attached bathrooms, which are divided up between girls and boys. The beds in those cabins are similar to odd-shaped double beds, but mostly they are used for students to store their bags and change. Most students choose to sleep on the deck of the boat in one of a few safe, flat areas. We have students bring sleeping bags and mats (if they want extra padding) and sleeping under the stars with the Caribbean summer breeze is one of the highlights of the experience for many students. For more details about boat showers, meals on our liveaboard programs, and toilets on the catamarans, this video about Caribbean boat life (narrated by yours truly) is a great resource.
WHAT ARE THE ACADEMICS LIKE ON A PROGRAM WITH CREDIT?
We know students spend most of the year sitting in classrooms, and our programs are designed to focus on as much hands-on learning out in the field as possible. You might be writing a journal assignment on the top of a mountain in the Alps or taking a midterm while listening to exotic birds singing in the jungle. Since the curriculum for our academic programs is college-level, it will be challenging, but when students are already excited about what they’re learning, it’s quite different than taking a class at school. We expect each student to participate in all of the academics regardless of whether they are taking the course for credit, so everyone is in it together.
WHAT MAKES BROADREACH DIFFERENT FROM OTHER ORGANIZATIONS?
Over the past 25 years, we have been refining our program goals and itineraries, and we’re constantly developing new processes to make the overall Broadreach experience as smooth for our families as possible. This high level of experience makes the value of our programs stand out from other options. Broadreach programs are focused on more than having fun and experiencing new countries; all of our programs include learning, whether through earning certifications or academic college credits, so students can show what they’ve accomplished. Our intentional small group size is different than the structure of many other “teen tours,” and the strong relationships we have developed with our in-country partners enriches the student experience and helps us maintain a stellar safety record. The average age of our instructors is about 28 years old, so the travel and teaching experience those individuals bring, along with the weeklong in-person training they do with us, makes them among the best in the industry.
HOW DOES BROADREACH ADDRESS SAFETY?
Our number one priority is keeping students as safe as possible when they are traveling with us, and we feel strongly about addressing safety from many different angles. We monitor the safety of our destinations throughout the year, and we have partnered with trusted local organizations who are also invested in doing everything possible to keep our students safe. Our instructors travel with detailed risk management plans for each location, which include everything from local clinic contact information and our relationships with area medical providers to other helpful in-country resources. Those instructors are also highly trained and experienced to deal with a wide variety of potential issues, and at least one instructor with each group has a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification. In the Caribbean, we monitor any weather disturbances from their infancy off the coast of Africa, and we are prepared to reroute or evacuate our boats if necessary. For programs that include homestays, we provide each student pair with a local phone to give them 24/7 access to communication with the instructors. We’re very proud of our excellent safety record over the past 25 years and would be happy to elaborate in a personal conversation.
At Broadreach HQ, we love talking about the adventures we offer and helping families determine which program is the best fit for their student. We expect you to have questions, so please don’t hesitate to give us a call and we’ll be happy to chat!
Carley Hill is the Enrollment Advisor and Travel Coordinator at Broadreach and spends much of her time talking to families about our adventures. She has lived in many different countries and states, loves eating strange food, and looks forward to her son joining a Broadreach program in 2029.