2019 Lake Oswego High School Colombia Program

IMPORTANT: PLEASE CHECK YOUR SPAM FOLDER FOR EMAILS FROM @WALKINGTREE.ORG AND BE SURE TO ADD THEM TO YOUR CONTACT LIST.
Dear Families, Friends, and Travelers – Welcome to the 2019 Lake Oswego Colombia Service Adventure! We have created two webpages dedicated to this once in a lifetime experience so that travelers are as informed as possible throughout the process. The first page, Pre-Enrollment, is meant to share exciting details, highlights, and pertinent info, that participants will want to know before enrolling. Once enrolled, the Post-Enrollment page is intended to prepare travelers for participation on the adventure ahead. Please be sure to review the information on the appropriate page thoroughly and get excited for Colombia!  
Travel Dates: June 18, 2019 - July 2, 2019
Group Organizer(s):
WTT/SSA Contact:
Program Tuition: $2,745 USD
Airfare not included in program tuition
Confirmed Airfare: $1,232
Deadline(s): Enrollment deadline forthcoming

What to Expect

Please read through all of the information below. More details will be added as your departure draws closer.

Itinerary

We work hard to create engaging, educational, and truly immersive itineraries for our travelers. However, we also know that travel can be unpredictable, so we always design our experiences to be flexible enough to allow for adjustments based on group interests, unexpected opportunities, and any weather or safety concerns that may arise during your program. Should changes to the itinerary occur, we will notify travelers and families as quickly as possible. 

DayLocationDescriptionLodging
June 18Portland - MedellinToday will begin our overnight travel to Medellin.Airplane
June 19MedellinWe will be arriving just afternoon, then make our way to our guests house. We will have an early dinner, orientation meeting, then let our group get an early night's rest.Hotel San Pedro del Fuerte
June 20MedellinAfter a breakfast of buñuelos, coffee and other delicious local treats we hop on the bus and head into the center of Medellin. We'll take a short walking tour of the historical city center before checking out the Museo de Antioquia where many of Fernando Botero's paintings, sculptures and other works are housed. After a couple of hours in the museum we'll enjoy lunch of traditional bandeja paisas, a favorite in this particular department. In the afternoon we'll check out an awesome tour of graffiti street art through Comuna 13, formerly one of Medellin's most dangerous barrios. These days Comuna 13 is an internationally renowned example of how innovative urban regeneration projects can be used to transform and revitalize communities. Our guide will be a member of the Casa Kolacho community center, responsible for 90% of the graffiti art in Comuna 13. As you climb the outdoor electric escalators they'll explain the controversial history of the transformation of Comuna 13 and the importance that graffiti & hip hop play in the community. We will also have a great community orientation to prepare our students for the big day tomorrow!Hotel San Pedro del Fuerte
June 21Medellin and surroundingsToday will travel about 1.5 hours outside of the city to visit the town of Guatape and the Piedra del Peñol. We will see the colorful zocalos, historic town center and bustling boardwalk of this lake resort.Hotel San Pedro del Fuerte
June 22Medellin - Calderas RiverRafting adventure in Calderas river! Today we will travel to the east of Medellin to the drop in on the Río Calderas, then enjoy class III and IV rapids that weave their way through the tropical canyon. We will return to Medellin ready for a our going away dinner and a good night's rest before our journey home.Hotel San Pedro del Fuerte
June 23Medellin - Jardin de AntioquiaToday we will go to our homestays in beautiful Jardin de Antioquia Village.

The small town of Jardin is one of the most beautiful pueblos in all of Colombia and has remained virtually unchanged for more than a century. Located approximately 4 hours to the south of Medellin if traveling by car, it sits in the southernmost stretches of the department of Antioquia. The pueblo is famous in Colombia for its preserved and colonial appearance as well as its striking mountain views and lush garden filled landscapes. We will arrive in Jardin this afternoon and begin our homestays after a short community orientation.

The days spent in our homestay community represent the heart and soul of the program as students will be volunteering on a selection of meaningful service projects during the day while also enjoying sufficient free time to hang out with their host families and fellow travelers, practice their language skills, play soccer, make friends with local youth, attend community gatherings and explore the surrounding area. At the end of our time in the host community we'll help organize a fiesta de despedida, or going away party, to celebrate the time with our new friends and family and say goodbye to the community that has become our home.
Homestays
June 24Jardin de AntioquiaService projects, community activities, family time.Homestays
June 25Jardin de AntioquiaService projects, community activities, family time.Homestays
June 26Jardin de AntioquiaService projects, community activities, family time.Homestays
June 27Jardin de AntioquiaService projects, community activities, family time.Homestays
June 28Jardin de AntioquiaService projects, community activities, family time.Homestays
June 29Jardin de AntioquiaService projects, community activities, family time.Homestays
June 30Jardin de AntioquiaService projects, community activities, family time. Farewell Dinner!Homestays
July 1Jardin de Antioquia - MedellinEarly this morning we will make our way back to Medellin, this time headed to the extreme west of the city. Our destination is Parque Arvi, a lushly forested public park high above the city center. To get there we'll board an impressive gondola that not only serves to ferry tourists up the mountain and into the park but also provides people in the impoverished hillside communities an efficient mode of transportation down into the city. The group will spend the day hiking along the different trails, shopping in the market place run by local vendors that has sprung up at the park's center and enjoying a delicious barbecue lunch. Around mid-afternoon we'll head back down the mountain en route to our hostel in La Floresta.Hotel San Pedro del Fuerte
July 2Medellin - PortlandBoard your flight home in the morning.Your own bed, eventually.

Need to Raise Money? We have you covered.

Our travelers are provided with funding opportunities that are easy to implement and fun to take part in. Our flagship fundraiser involves selling fair trade, organic, shade-grown, carbon-neutral coffee from a women’s collective in Peru. There is no limit to the amount you can earn, so get started now by clicking the link below!

START FUNDRAISING  

WTT coffee

Accommodations

In order to provide a safe and memorable experience for our travelers, teachers, staff, Program Leaders and Country Directors, we follow strict guidelines when deciding on lodging, making reservations, and assigning program participants to rooms.

Travelers will always be grouped in rooms and/or sleeping areas by gender, and will never share rooms with people who are not associated with their Walking Tree group. Group Organizers and Program Leaders will be roomed separately from each other and from other students. Walking Tree partners with locally-operated, three star or equivalent hotels that are centrally located, clean, safe and wifi-enabled. 

 

Below are a few examples of our partner hotels. Although these are our preferred providers, they are subject to change based on availability. Your final itinerary will provide complete information on your accommodations in the cities you will be visiting.
Homestay

Staying with a host family allows our travelers to truly immerse themselves in the culture of their destination, and to build lasting friendships with local people in the host community.

Hotel San Pedro del Fuerte

Hotel San Pedro del Fuerte is a centrally located hotel in Medellín. Located just 10 minutes from Plaza Mayor, this hotel is the perfect location for our group. Students will be split between double or triple rooms based on gender and hotel availability. The hotel has wifi, air conditioning and includes breakfast each morning.

Group Flight

TypeCarrier NameCarrier CodeFlight NumberDeparture CityDeparture Date and Time Arrival CityArrival Date and Time 
Outbound
AA
1929
PDX – Portland International Airport, Portland, USA
June 18, 2019 at 10:30PM
CLT – Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Charlotte, USA
June 19, 2019 at 6:20AM
Outbound
AA
770
CLT – Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Charlotte, USA
June 19, 2019 at 7:30am
MIA – Miami International Airport, Miami, USA
June 19, 2019 at 9:33am
Outbound
AA
1127
MIA – Miami International Airport, Miami, USA
June 19, 2019 at 11:50AM
MDE – Jose Maria Cordova International Airport, Medellin, Colombia
June 19, 2019 at 2:12PM
Inbound
AA
924
MDE – Jose Maria Cordova International Airport, Medellin, Colombia
July 2, 2019 at 6:00AM
MIA – Miami International Airport, Miami, USA
July 2, 2019 at 10:36AM
Inbound
AA
1276
MIA – Miami International Airport, Miami, USA
July 2, 2019 at 1:35PM
DFW – Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Dallas–Fort Worth, USA
July 2, 2019 at 3:43PM
Inbound
AA
2433
DFW – Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Dallas–Fort Worth, USA
July 2, 2019 at 5:31PM
PDX – Portland International Airport, Portland, USA
July 2, 2019 at 7:28PM

We will provide additional details on your Group’s Flight and travel day details here.

We will provide a group manifest – complete with reservation codes and ticket numbers – to the group organizer before departure. Nevertheless, travelers will need to check in at the airport and we recommend arriving no later than three hours prior to the scheduled departure. For details on exactly where and when to meet on the day of departure, please contact your Group Organizer.

A NOTE ON FLIGHTS
Air travel is unpredictable. Although we can ensure that our groups arrive to the airport with ample time and follow all airline instructions, there may still be instances when a flight is delayed or cancelled due to weather, mechanical problems, labor strikes, etc. Please note that in such an event WTT/SSA is not financially responsible for unexpected costs incurred by travelers. Our programs officially begin and end in our host countries. That being said, our travelers’ well-being and safety is our number one priority, so please know that should flight delays/cancellations occur we will do everything we can to get travelers home in a timely manner and will do our best to keep family members updated on developments.

WTT/SSA is not responsible for fees associated with checked baggage. Please visit the airline’s baggage webpage to find out about baggage fees and options. It is also important to make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the final day in country.

UN-ACCOMPANIED MINORS
Please confirm with your air travel provider as some airlines may require that travelers under a certain age have completed an unaccompanied minor parental consent form. Please consult the airline website to confirm if this is required on your flight.

Host Community and Project Details

Packing List

What follows is a sample packing list, which will be updated for each program. We recommend you bring a larger piece of luggage like a roller, duffel bag, or backpack, as well as a smaller backpack that you can bring on hikes, weekend excursions and shorter activities.

“Less is more” is a packing tip we encourage for all our travelers. The below list should cover everything you would need, but we frequently hear that travelers feel “overpacked” if they follow all of our suggestions. Know yourself and what you are comfortable traveling with. We suggest bringing only as much as you would be able to carry on your own.

Please consult the 10-day weather forecast in https://weather.com and enter the cities listed in your itinerary if you desire a more detailed look at the weather you might encounter. Most importantly, be sure to remember your PASSPORT and STUDENT ID.

CLOTHES (quantities depend on your trip length) :

  • Underwear
  • Socks (a mixture of good hiking socks and casual socks)
  • T-shirts (some quick dry)
  • Long sleeve shirt
  • Lightweight sweater
  • Rain jacket or poncho
  • Travel/athletic shorts that are breathable and light
  • Comfortable/hiking/everyday pants (NOT all jeans)
  • 1 nice shirt/top to be worn to more formal dinners (girls might want a skirt or something a little nicer for such occasions, boys may want to opt for a polo shirt or button up shirt with jeans)
  • Durable athletic/hiking shoes with good grip
  • Sandals (Chaco/Teva/Keen/Merrel sandals are great to have for water activities)
  • Work gloves – required for service work
  • Bandana for work site (optional)
  • A hat that can protect your neck
  • Swimming suit, for surf classes a rash guard is recommended for sensitive skins

TOILETRIES: BRING THE BASIC TOILETRIES YOU NEED PLUS:

  • Sunscreen (You will use a lot. Natural products/lotions are preferred over aerosol, especially for the beach)
  • Mosquito repellent (non-deet/lotions are preferred to reduce environmental impact)
  • Band Aids and Neosporin
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Medication in properly marked original container. It’s important that medication travel in its original container, as customs officials have the right to confiscate it otherwise.

MISCELLANEOUS:

  • Sunglasses
  • Journal and pen
  • Book
  • Camera (digital, disposable, waterproof)
  • Alarm Clock and watch
  • Debit card/US Dollars (we recommend about $50-$150, depending on number of desired snacks, souvenirs, extra items etc.)
  • Durable water bottle
  • 1 quick-dry towel
  • Flashlight/headlamp
  • Batteries
  • Deck of cards or other portable games
  • Host family gift
  • Spanish/English Dictionary

HOMESTAY GIFTS
Travelers often contact us regarding what an appropriate gift might be for their student’s host family. Host families are often curious about where our students come from and their families in the U.S. As such, we recommend a simple gift that describes, represents or depicts your home. Well-received gifts in the past have included calendars or picture/coffee table books from your city or state, a framed picture of your family, paraphernalia from a local sports team, toys, soccer balls, school supplies, or something produced or grown in your hometown, like chocolate, local candy, t-shirts, etc. The most important thing to keep in mind is not to worry about this… Anything, no matter its value, will be well received!

Support Team

WTT/SSA will send a minimum of one experienced Program Leader on every program. In addition to this Program Leader, we also have support staff in our host countries and 24/7 support from our headquarters in Denver, Colorado who are available to the group for additional help when necessary. Below you’ll find a list of the team members involved in the planning, organizing, and leadership of your program. Meet your support team!

Gabriel Duncan
Gabriel Duncan
Co-Founder of Walking Tree Travel and Business Lead - Denver, CO


Colby College – B.A. International Relations and Government

While at Colby, Gabriel spent a semester in Spain at the University of Salamanca studying contemporary Spanish politics and Spanish language. He also lettered for four-years on Colby’s lacrosse team and earned All-American honors. After graduating, Gabriel hit the road. He fished commercially in Alaska, taught in Chile and China, led programs for students in Spain and Costa Rica, and traveled to over 50 countries and all 50 states in the USA. Regardless of where Gabriel is located, he is constantly haunted by his naive faith and unconditional love for Denver sports teams.

Natalia Avila Angel
Natalia Avila Angel
Colombia Country Director, Program Leader


International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus Rotterdam University – M.A. Development Studies, Environment and Sustainable Development

Born in Cali, Colombia, nestled in a family-oriented, tropical environment surrounded by dance and nature, Natalia grew up between two countries during her childhood and youth: Ecuador and Colombia. From a very young age she developed strong skills in intercultural understanding, particularly between Latin American sister nations. Through her passion and talent in athletics, she has had opportunities to travel to many different countries and cities in South America. Natalia studied at a university in Germany, which allowed her to travel around Europe, where she experienced a vast array of countries and Western cultures. She later pursued a master’s degree in social studies in Holland, focusing on environmental studies. She completed research on natural biosphere reserves in the Ecuadorian Amazon and the issues facing indigenous communities there. After many adventures and experiences, Natalia fell in love with Ecuador’s natural and cultural diversity and has lived and worked in several different places along the coast, highlands, mountains and Amazon regions of the country.

Jesse Grindler
Jesse Grindler
Program Leader


ESNAM Theatre Institute, Charleville-Mézières, France – BA in Theatre/Puppetry

Born in Tokyo Japan and moving to Canada shortly thereafter, Jesse grew up on the rocky coast of British Columbia climbing trees and exploring the coast of that beautiful region. After high school he travelled by land for a year from Canada to Central America and back. He has hitchhiked across the Sahara Desert, walked across Spain, led arts workshops in the remote mountains of Colombia and studied puppetry at one of the top French theatre schools. He learned Spanish on the streets of Mexico and Colombia, and since settling in Montréal, he speaks both French and English in his day-to-day life. He has trained and worked as a theatre artist for the last decade and creates his own shows that perform in festivals and cabarets. He also works as a Nature Mentor in Montreal, teaching and practicing wilderness living skills with youth – he can make a fire with friction and knows some of the tastiest wild plants out there. Jesse sees travel as a way to transform lives and cultures towards a state of connection, integrity and creative possibility.

Group Roster

Please take a moment to ensure your name is spelled correctly. For any changes needed, please email admissions@walkingtree.org to let us know.

  • 1 Angelina Mac Carvill
  • 2 Benjamin Altman
  • 3 Blake Catlin
  • 4 Breck Foster - Group Organizer
  • 5 Brogan Deem-Ranzetta
  • 6 Dylan Langford
  • 7 Elaine Chi
  • 8 Eleanor Frech
  • 9 Eoin Mac Carvill
  • 10 Ethan Fullman
  • 11 Ethan Reinhart
  • 12 Ian Reeves (Group Organizer)
  • 13 Isabella Merino
  • 14 Isobel Kremer
  • 15 Jamie Brennan
  • 16 Jeffery Sun
  • 17 Jonathan Wood
  • 18 Julian White
  • 19 Karuna Miller
  • 20 Kyla Schmitt
  • 21 Laura Catlin
  • 22 Leyna Harman
  • 23 Lisa Evonuk - Group Organizer
  • 24 Michael Murray
  • 25 Nathaniel Foster
  • 26 Praveer Sharan
  • 27 Rachel Sasadeusz
  • 28 Scott Gevurtz
  • 29 Shea Ivey
  • 30 William Firmin
30 Travelers

Blog and Communication

The easiest way for participants to keep in touch with family and friends back home while traveling will be over Wifi (available at most hotels and some restaurants), via apps such as iMessage, Whatsapp, and Wechat for free. However, we do highly encourage minimal communication with family members for students, as this truly helps participants to make the most of their experience and growth while abroad.

We work hard to keep families and friends updated as frequently as possible with blogs and photos, so traveling participants can focus on enjoying their host country and you can feel at ease about their safety. All guardians, participants, and Group Organizers will receive an email notification when the first blog of the program is posted, along with a link where you can check back to view the blogs and photo gallery as they are updated.

You can also access the blog at any time after the program begins by clicking on the black “Program Blog” button at the top of this page.

For any general program inquiries, please refer to the WTT/SSA contact listed on your program webpage, or email info@walkingtree.org. You can also reach us by dialing 303-242-8541 from the United States.

 

GLC Curriculum

We have developed a curriculum of activities designed to help each of our travelers mature as global leaders before, during, and after their travel program. These simple, engaging, tools are meant to spark discussion, frame their experience, and prepare participants to travel ethically and effectively both on our programs and on their future endeavors.

For more information about student learning objectives and the format of the curriculum, click on the ‘learn more’ button below.

Learn More About the GLC

To view and complete the Pre-Program Activities, visit our online portal at the button below.

Pre-Program Activity Portal

Standards of Behavior

WTT provides fun, safe, and meaningful programs for our travelers. In order to achieve this goal, it is important that we create an environment of trust, security and respect. All individuals participating in our programs are required to take responsibility for their actions and adhere to a high standard of behavioral conduct. Any of the following are grounds for early dismissal or in-country consequences at our discretion.

ABSOLUTE DISMISSAL

  1. Possessing, consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs
  2. Associating with participants while they are in possession of or are consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs
  3. Behaving in a way that consistently damages the group dynamic or jeopardizes personal or group safety. This includes consistently displaying a negative attitude, intimidating or excluding other participants, sneaking out, disobeying group leaders, and any other behavior that is not conducive to an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.

GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL OR IN-COUNTRY CONSEQUENCE

  1. Getting a piercing or tattoo
  2. Stealing, or deliberately damaging or defacing any personal property, buildings or materials
  3. Threatening with or using weapons such as firearms, knives, explosives, etc.
  4. Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle
  5. Being out of designated area or accommodations after curfew
  6. Breaking group rules

These standards of behavior are essential for the successful completion of a travel program. Please take the time to review these rules as a family and make sure everyone understands and agrees to them before choosing to travel with us.

Health and Safety

We strongly recommend visiting the CDC Colombia website to get the most updated information on health and vaccination considerations in your destination country. In addition, we encourage you to consult with your personal family physician so you can be as informed as possible when making important decisions about vaccinations and other necessary health-related preparations before travel.

Beyond these recommendations, our in-country staff prepare meticulously for all programs. Walking Tree will register our programs and travelers with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in case of emergency. In country staff also verify the safety records of our partner organizations, vendors, and transportation providers, thoroughly vet homestay families via in depth interviews and home visits, and keep up on important current events in the region.

Program Leaders are seasoned travelers who are CPR and First Aid certified, undergo thorough training in crisis management, and participate in a multi-day leadership training retreat. We do our best to prepare for any eventuality and have detailed emergency protocols for our leaders, in-country staff and U.S.-based staff.

We receive medical disclosures from all participants to ensure we are able to meet every students’ needs during the program. Please inform us immediately of any additional health issues that you did not list during your initial registration process. Program Leaders will also hold an online information session before your departure, as well as an arrival orientation in-country, in order to give participants important instructions on food safety, hygiene and preventing injury and illness. Leaders and in-country staff always respond immediately to any mental, physical or emotional health issues and follow comprehensive emergency protocols.

VACCINATIONS

Vaccination information and requirements are constantly changing. For more information we suggest that you consult your local travel clinic and/or family physician.

Insurance

While we work hard to ensure the safest experience possible for our travelers while on program, experience has taught us that travel is never without risk. For this reason, we suggest you consider purchasing travel insurance which would cover you in the event your student needs to withdraw before travel due to a covered reason, loses baggage in route or encounters an emergency while traveling, among other unforeseen circumstances. Please see a summary of a plan below and follow the link for a more detailed explanation or to purchase the plan for your traveler.

-Recommended Travel Insurance-

Premier*
Trip Cancellation Up to 100% of Trip Cost
Reimburses your prepaid, non-refundable expenses if you must cancel your trip due to a covered reason.
Maximum coverage: $100,000.

Trip Interruption Up to 150% of Trip Cost
Reimburses for the unused, non-refundable portion of your trip and for the increased transportation costs it takes for you to return home or to continue your trip due to a covered reason. Maximum coverage: $150,000.

Missed Connection $1,600
Reimburses for covered expenses resulting from a covered delay that causes you to miss your scheduled flight or cruise.

Travel Delay $1,600
Receive up to $200 per day per person to cover additional accommodation/travel expenses and lost prepaid expenses due to a departure delay of six or more hours.

Medical Protection: 
Emergency Medical and Dental $50,000
-This primary coverage provides reimbursement for expenses incurred during your trip due to covered medical and dental emergencies. No deductible.
-$750 maximum for emergency dental care.

Baggage Protection
Baggage Loss/Damage $2,000
Covers loss, damage or theft of baggage and personal effects.

Baggage Delay $600
Covers the reasonable additional purchase of essential items during your trip if your baggage is delayed or misdirected by a common carrier for 24 hours or more. Receipts for emergency purchases are required.

Assistance Services
Emergency Medical Transportation $1,000,000
Provides medically necessary transportation to the nearest appropriate facility following a covered injury or illness. Also covers the cost of your transportation back home following a covered injury or illness.

24-Hour Hotline Help Included
Help is just a phone call away with Allianz Global Assistance. Our staff of multilingual problem solvers is available to help you with a medical, legal or travel-related emergency.

*Terms, conditions, and exclusions apply. Insurance benefits underwritten by BCS Insurance Company (OH, Administrative Office: Oakbrook Terrace, IL), rated “A­” (Excellent) by A.M. Best Co., under BCS Form No. 52.201 series or 52.401 series, or Jefferson Insurance Company (NY, Administrative Office: Richmond, VA), rated “A+” (Superior) by A.M. Best Co., under Jefferson Form No. 101­C series or 101­P series, depending on your state of residence. Plan(s) may not be available in all jurisdictions. Allianz Global Assistance and Allianz Travel Insurance are marks of AGA Service Company or its affiliates. AGA Service Company is the licensed producer and administrator of this plan and an affiliate of Jefferson Insurance Company. The insured shall not receive any special benefit or advantage due to the affiliation between AGA Service Company and Jefferson InsuranceCompany. Non­ Insurance benefits/products are provided and serviced by AGA Service Company. Consumer may be responsible for charges incurred from outside vendors for assistance or concierge services. Contact AGA Service Company at 800­-284­-8300 or 9950 Mayland Drive, Richmond, VA 23233 or customerservice@allianzassistance.com.

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