A New Year for Place-Based Learning


As 2017 comes to a close we are gearing up for another exciting year of place-based learning, travel, ideas, and projects around the globe. Here’s five highlights (but far from all of the highlights) from 2017 and our own resolutions for 2018:


5) Some of the Best Food in the World

One of our favorite and frequent bits of feedback this year was that our groups enjoyed some of the best food they have ever had. From Feta in Lesvos to Dosa in Kerala, and even the famous Croatian Peka (Bell BBQ) prepared by a Masterchef winner, we had some awesome meals. What can we say: we like to eat. But more importantly, we like to be creative and intentional in exploring food and how it shapes a place and culture.

4) VCs to India

In the spring we lead a small group of VCs from New York and the Bay Area on a trip to India. While helping the team research a new opportunity there, we helped frame a trip that was about context too, impacting not just this one opportunity, but many more to come. We have big plans to work with more custom groups and VCs in 2018 and beyond.

3) The Most Stunning Trip Destination Country

We had a lot of amazing trips and could easily make a list of the best spots we visited. We had some jaw-dropping sunsets, postcard-perfect towns, picturesque islands, a week of the Northern Lights dancing, the list goes on. The trip destination that stole our hearts for 2018 was Uruguay. With a nightly sunset to beat, amazing visits to farms and homes in hills and on the beaches, villages with no electricity and frequent/delicious barbecues, Uruguay will be the destination to beat in 2018.

2) A Lot of Research

This year, our team visited more countries than ever before (well over 50) exploring new trip ideas, researching destinations, speaking at conferences, and even contributing to ongoing design projects around the world. From some time in Cairo with the Digital Matatus team to explorations in the Baltics and the Balkans, we have lots of new perspectives and connections to share next year.

1) Lesvos

In 2017 we led two schools to Greece, the island Lesvos in particular, to explore the refugee crisis in Europe. Lesvos is one of the most compelling places we have taken students to learn about current events with dozens of different perspectives and issues converging in a small place (with some amazing people and food too). We can’t wait to return and deepen our relationships on the island even more.

And Onto 2018:

> Digging Deeper in India:

In 2018 we hope to get even deeper with our connections in India. Adam, founder and CEO, is spending New Years in Mumbai, a megacity we have come to love. After our first group of students visited the city this year and our VC trip to the region this spring, we are more excited than ever to share our nuanced understanding and energetic network in India. Has India been on your radar? Let’s chat about some of the different ways we can help you explore the region.

> New Perspectives on Design Thinking

Design-Thinking is no longer a niche skill for schools and businesses. As an organization that has a deep connection to the design world (and collective decades of experience among our team, advisers, and trip leaders) we are looking forward to expanding some of our project-based design workshops and trips next year and beyond.

> Creative Partnerships

In the new year, we will be expanding our partnerships even further. While we continue to work with some incredible high schools, we are also leading some more out of the-box trips with all sorts of organizations, international groups, businesses, and beyond.

> New Trip Ideas

We are ending 2017 with the launch of an improved website, featuring our growing trip gallery. Every trip is one-of-a-kind, and while we have always featured upcoming and selected past trips on our website, this new Atlas Trips page expands that even more. We wanted to create a place to show off the breadth of trips we’ve led and help shape programs into the future. The new gallery isn’t a marketplace, but is designed to help inspire trip ideas. One area in particular is that we have added is our “new idea” badge to help share some of our more creative ideas for future programs.

We can’t wait for the new year and look forward to sharing ideas, brainstorming trips, and hitting the road with many of you in 2018!