Global Trip Logistics

On this page, you can find information about the application process for global trips, the participant selection process, trip costs, and financial assistance availability.

Application Process

Application Process

Trip leaders will provide applications directly to eligible students. Deadlines for 2017-18 are as follows:

  • September 22: Applications open on website
  • October 3: Global Trips Assembly - trips announced to full Upper School
  • October 11: evening informational sessions held for individual trips
  • October 16: application and financial assistance request form due
  • October 27: acceptance decisions and financial assistance awards announced to students and families
  • November 3: families commit to trip (first deposit billed on Dec. 1)

Selection Criteria

Selection Criteria

The global trip selection process varies by division. In the Middle School, students are selected for global ed trips by lottery. All approved applicants have an equal chance at participation.

In the Upper School, group selection is a more complex process, with a number of different factors considered. These include:

  • Previous global experiences: We aim for all Catlin Gabel students to have an international experience during their four years in the Upper School, if they wish to pursue it. As such, applicants who have not previously traveled with the school may be prioritized.
  • Grade: Most global trips are optimally suited for sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Freshmen will certainly be considered, but they will have more opportunities down the road and will be more intellectually and emotionally prepared as they mature.
  • Language: While the upper school does not do foreign language-specific trips, it is certainly beneficial to have some student participants with strong language skills.
  • Chemistry: A group can be less than the sum of its parts, but it can also be more. Group leaders speak with advisors and student-selected references to develop a complete picture of the applicants' characteristics and skills. With all of that information in mind, they craft a group of complementary strengths, in which each student plays a particular role.
  • Academics: This is specifically relevant to spring trips. Many of our March/April trips involve missed class time. Students participating need to be capable of managing their workload prior to departure and catching up quickly upon return. Interested students needs to be in good academic standing when they apply and maintain it through the spring.

Trip Costs

Trip Costs

Global trip prices are, with rare exceptions, all-inclusive. This means that all major expenses are covered by the trip cost, including air and ground transport, daily meals, accommodation, all major sights and entrance fees, and local guides and support. In addition, the trip cost includes a prorated portion of the chaperone expenses. Finally, a 5% financial assistance surcharge is added, to help supplement our assistance budget for international trips. (Note: cost does NOT include recommended vaccines and medications. Please see the CDC website for health recommendations and check with your doctor and insurance carrier about costs.)

Some discretionary expenses are not included. Optional travel insurance is made available to families shortly after air ticketing occurs. If chosen, this is an additional cost. In addition, students must use their own money for additional snacks on the road and gifts or souvenirs; they may be required to pay for internet access or laundry, depending upon the trip. Chaperones will inform families of any other potential added costs early in the planning process.

If the trip comes in under budget, the school will retain up to 5% of the trip cost for financial assistance and refund anything in excess of that to families. If, however, the trip comes in over budget, the school will absorb that cost, unless the added expenses are the result of an emergency.

After students are selected for global trips, families are asked to complete a financial commitment letter to secure their spot. From that point on, families are obligated to pay for their students' share of expenses, even if they drop off of the trip. Typically, those expenses range from 25–50% of the overall trip price. If the student's spot is replaced, the family may be released from their financial commitment.

The school bills the trip cost in monthly installments, typically beginning three to five months prior to departure. Students from families that are not in good economic standing with the school may not be considered. A family's account must also remain in good standing throughout the duration of the trip process (from application through the travel dates). Failing that, a student may be removed and the family will still be held responsible for its student's non-refundable expenses.

Financial Assistance

Financial Assistance

The school's goal is to make it possible for each student to participate in at least one international trip during their MS and US years. To achieve this goal, we provide a limited amount of financial assistance for trips, which will be available to all students, regardless of whether or not they are currently in the financial assistance program. Students may receive regular financial assistance for one trip per division, maximum. The amount of financial assistance available varies depending upon need, but it never covers 100% of trip costs.

Financial assistance is only available to students returning to Catlin Gabel the following year, and it may be revoked if a student chooses to leave after already being selected for a trip. The one exception to this rule is seniors applying for a spring global ed trip; in those cases, financial assistance may be available. It will not be available to seniors for summer trips following their graduation.

Financial assistance request forms are due at the same time that trip applications are sent to the trip leader. Students will be denied assistance if they fail to do this.

It's important to note that financial assistance does not cover expenses for activities when a student does not participate. Travel insurance is purchased for all students participating on a global trip with financial assistance, so if a student in that case is forced to drop off a trip prior to departure because of injury or illness, the cost will likely be covered by the insurance. However, if a student voluntarily drops off a trip, the family will be responsible for all expenses. Financial assistance in such cases is revoked.

Olive Bridge Endowed Fund for Global Education

Thanks to a generous donor we have an additional financial assistance fund for global travel: The Olive Bridge Endowed Fund for Global Education. This fund provides additional financial assistance for one or more select students to travel on a second global trip in the Upper School through a special application which is due at the same time as the application for the Global Trip.

The application process for these financial assistance dollars will involve a student essay stating the reasons they would like to be considered for this award and outlining their qualifications. A student must be in “very strong academic standing” and “poised to maximize his/her learning opportunity abroad both in terms of maturity and character.” Essays should be of a high quality and reflect care and thoughtfulness about the process and about global travel.

Applicants for the The Olive Bridge Endowed Fund for Global Education will be evaluated by a committee including the Directors of Global Ed, the Upper School Head, and members of the school administration.

The application for the The Olive Bridge Endowed Fund for Global Education will be due at the same time as the trip applications. As this financial assistance is need-based applicants must also submit the trip financial assistance request form. Both forms are also available on the Global Trips pages.

We are very excited by this opportunity for our students! If you are passionate about global travel please consider applying for this funding.

Passport, Medical and Insurance Information


Passports should be current within three months of departure and return dates. Parents should keep a copy of passport at home.

Medical Considerations

Students should contact a travel clinic at least eight weeks before departure. The Travel and Immunization Clinic of Portland is a good choice. St. Vincent's also has a Travel Clinic. Bring immunization records if possible. Students should bring extra medicine or eye wear that may be critical if lost to their destination country.

(Note: cost does NOT include recommended vaccines and medications. Please see the CDC website for health recommendations and check with your doctor and insurance carrier about costs.)


Parents are responsible for verifying that their family insurance covers their child while abroad.

Notes on Travel

For reasons of safety, Catlin Gabel requires that all members in a group depart from, and return to, Portland International Airport. Coordinating connecting flights or alternate travel plans for individuals creates undue risk for the entire group and is not permitted.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to use air miles in collaboration with our group tickets. It disconnects students from the group itinerary and is often difficult in situations of cancelled flights or changing itineraries.

U.S. State Department Travel Information by Country


Contact the global education coordinators: Director of Global Education Dave Whitson / Assistant Head of School Barbara Ostos

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