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What are Reality Tours?
The idea that travel can be educational and positively influence international affairs motivated the first Reality Tour in 1989. Reality Tours was founded on the principles of experiential education and are intended to educate people about how we, both individually and collectively, contribute to global problems. We then suggest ways in which we can contribute to and facilitate positive change. Global Exchange's Reality Tours are not designed to provide immediate solutions or remedy the world's most intractable problems, nor are they simply a brand of voyeurism.
Reality Tours offer participants an opportunity to journey to other countries to examine a situation firsthand. This gives the individual the chance to understand the issues beyond what is communicated by the mass media. By joining us on one of these delegations, a participant will have the chance to learn about unfamiliar cultures, meet with people from various walks of life, and establish meaningful relationships with people from other countries. Most significantly, Reality Tours endow participants with a new vantage point from which to view and affect US foreign policy. We hope to also prompt participants to examine related issues in their own community and society.
For over 15 years we have promoted alternative, educational travel as a way to replace feelings of apathy with deeper understanding and a sense of empowerment. Relationship building is essential to this transformation. Thus every tour seeks to establish people-to-people ties through introducing participants to individuals and communities that most travelers would never meet on their own. These ties, in many cases, are the result of building symbiotic programs between host communities and Global Exchange. We aspire to facilitate new relationships between these contacts and our new participants, be they individuals, universities, or membership associations.
Today we offer a variety of educational programs that address contemporary political, economic, environmental, and cultural issues around the world.