Study Tour Applications Due in One Month!


Caitlin Stout, a Senior in High School and past Study Tour student

team photo 0407Study Tour applications are due soon, and I am so immensely excited for whoever it is that gets to go…wherever they’re going! As a former Study Tour participant, I can say with confidence that there is no better way to spend the summer. I also know that applying for such a huge adventure can be intimidating, and a little bit of encouragement can go a long way. You, dear youth leaders, are in the perfect position to encourage your students to apply for this incredible opportunity! Here’s why you should do just that:

1. It changes lives

I know “life-changing” is a super overused term, as I myself have used it to describe comic books, TV shows, and Taco Bell breakfasts. But please believe me when I say that the Study Tour is genuinely and profoundly life-changing, more so than I can fully articulate. I came back from Ethiopia with a broader worldview and a bigger comfort zone. I came back with a deeper passion for fighting poverty, and I came back more convinced than ever that ending poverty is possible. Even after readjusting to life in the States, I have lessons and stories that will stick with me forever. Speaking of which…

2. You’ll get to hear some fantastic stories

I’m not just talking about the stories we share in our blog posts and presentations. Those are wonderful, but we’ve got some others up our sleeves. The rest of my team would agree that hilarious and ridiculous stuff happens when you travel internationally with a bunch of teenagers.

3. It’s not just another mission trip

While mission trips can be awesome, that is not what the Study Tour is. The Study Tour is a chance to see what God is up to, listen to people’s stories, and learn about World Vision’s programs. When it’s over, you don’t just pat yourself on the back and continue life as usual, you tell others about what you saw and how they can join the cause. It’s educational and beautiful, and probably nothing like anything your students have done before.

4. It starts important conversations

caitlin 0407Experiencing a new culture and seeing poverty up close can leave a person with a lot of questions, and it can make the transition back to daily life a challenging thing. Even though what we saw in Ethiopia was encouraging, comparing it to our culture of waste and excess is maddening. Taking the time to think about how our lifestyles and attitudes might be part of the problem is not fun, but it is vital. The Study Tour will open your student’s eyes and raise important questions for your group to explore. What do we take for granted? What role are we playing in the fight against poverty? How do we need to change?

5. It makes the Famine personal

After spending a week talking to farmers, playing soccer with students, and blowing bubbles and trading stickers with little kids, the 30 Hour Famine is no longer about raising money for nameless people somewhere on the other side of the world. It’s about raising money for friends. If one of your students goes on the Study Tour, they will come back with a personal connection and an entirely new enthusiasm for fighting hunger, and the cool thing about enthusiasm is that it’s crazy contagious. Your next Famine could be your biggest one yet.

So, youth leaders, let your kids know about this excellent opportunity! It will no doubt be a transformative experience for whoever gets chosen, and one changed life can change an entire youth group, church, and community.