Educational Travel Programs for Student & Teachers
- Provide life-changing educational travel and community-service programs for teachers and students.
- Inspire teachers to travel with their students and create metamorphic experiences which surpass traditional classroom learning.
- Impart lessons of diplomacy and mutual prosperity through volunteer work supporting non-profit organizations abroad.
- Transcend ordinary tourism. Engage participants with the living history and modern culture of developing nations healing from war.
- Motivate students to become informed, invested citizens of a global community through socially-conscious travel.
How Can we Grow from Historical Conflict?
Teachers know the classroom silence which can follow big philosophical questions. Understanding global issues, socio-economic power and military actions in a Post-9/11 world is a challenge. Although today’s students are growing up with American forces stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the lessons from global conflict are remote.
Students want to learn from real experiences. We provide amazing expeditions and dynamic travel curriculum that go far beyond social studies’ textbooks. Our travelers go deep: we explore lessons from past conflicts and how to transform international differences into opportunities for wealth.
Our travelers learn what happened, how to make better choices, how to innovate answers for the future. Adventure travel and meaningful community service teaches about the human, environmental and economic consequences of war—and the riches of peace.
We Are Teachers
Since 2005, we’ve grown from a single classroom experiment to a savvy educational travel program connecting American students to countries developing from conflict.
Join us! Discover the world first-hand, expand your knowledge, and acquire the skills to promote global stability.
Alethea Tyner Paradis, B.A., J.D., Owner, Teacher Leader
"Ms. Paradis taught me that reasonable minds can differ. It’s important to understand “the enemy,” find what we all have in common and build upon a shared vision.”
— Sara, 10th grade, California
Alethea, our founder, has taught high school and college social sciences courses focused in social justice since 1997. (B.A. in history and teaching credential from the University of California, Santa Barbara, 1994; Juris Doctorate from Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark College, 1998.) Witnessing how academic achievement and student interest increased with experiential-service learning, she enhanced her classroom instruction with annual trips of students through Latin America, Europe and Asia. In addition to directing Friendship Tours, Alethea provides consultation for independent schools instituting their own global education programs. She lives in Santa Barbara with her husband and son.
Kevin Shertzer, B.A, M.A, Ed. Teacher Leader
"Mr. Shertzer taught me that even one person has the power to make a difference.”
— Anishka, 10th grade, California
Kevin has been leading Friendship Tours since 2005. A Yale graduate of history with an emphasis in global conflict, Kevin's interest in historical warfare and the post-Holocaust promises of "Never Again" inspired him to pursue a career in education. He earned a Master's in Education from University of California Santa Barbara, in 2001 and has been teaching social science courses at Laguna Blanca School while coaching CIF-winning soccer teams.
“Traveling with students is deeply rewarding. It adds a sophistication to both learning and teaching which can only be achieved through the shared experience of discovery.”
Kevin's insistence upon rigorous academic standards, critical investigation, and morality make him a profoundly effective instructor both in the classroom and abroad.
Susan Snyder, M.A., Teacher Leader
"A mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”
— Oliver Wendell Holmes
An award-winning guidance counselor at Santa Barbara High School, Susan is known for her adventurous globe-trotting: she has explored nearly 50 countries on educational adventures.
“I love the enthusiasm and curiosity of students on a trip. Traveling with young people is inspiring. It allows me to view the world through their eyes and learn with them, side-by-side.”
A former math and science teacher and university instructor, Susan has 20 years’ experience as an impactful educator, including one year teaching in Spain. Susan has a B.A. in Biology, teaching credentials in four subjects, and an M.A. and credential in Counseling. As a counselor, Susan specializes in empowering disadvantaged students to navigate the road to college.
Nicola Hesketh, B.A., Program Director
"Ms. Hesketh taught me that the camera is a tool for democracy.”
— Gabi, 10th grade, California
After receiving a Business Diploma in Travel and Tourism, Nicola left her home in England to begin a twenty-year adventure experiencing other lands and cultures. Throughout her travels, Nicola has worked in a wide range of organizational roles in key industries, including the original Red Bull office in Austria before it was introduced to the world and Corbis Images, owned by Bill Gates. She arrived in the USA in 1999, completed a photography degree from the prestigious Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara. She is passionate about travel.
“I love watching students experience things for the first time. It’s a beautiful moment, and I know it makes a difference and broadens their world view for the rest of their lives.”
Her experience as a tour guide and travel representative have given her keen insights about guest services, group travel, and a broad understanding of the travel industry that complement her kind, gentle spirit, and sense of equality for all people.
Gabija Safranavicius, Santa Barbara High School Junior, Social Media Intern
Gabija’s travels with Friendship Tours inspired her to pursue deeper engagement with our program and the world at large. As a first-generation Lithuanian-American, Gabija’s passion for experiential learning abroad has taken her across both linguistic and cultural barriers.
On our 2012 Vietnam Discovery Tour, Gabija sought to understand the world of immersive education in media and journalism. In the future, she aspires to major in communications, become a newsprint journalist, and explore how modern media unifies diverse cultures.
As an intern, she writes Peace Works blogs, and places value on the power of independent journalism to expose the realities of the global human condition. At Santa Barbara High School, Gabija strives to share the knowledge that she has attained through her travels and to inspire other students to do the same.
Devon Bell Turner, B.A., Teacher Leader and Curriculum Developer
"Ms. Bell taught me to take charge of my learning."
— Sergio, 11th grade, California
Dynamic and organized, Ms. Turner has been a Teacher Leader with Friendship Tours since 2008. A summa cum laude graduate of UCSB, Devon earned a B.A. in English Literature in 2005. Since then, she has taught English Literature and Reading Comprehension courses at UCSB's Upward Bound program to first generation college hopefuls.
"Watching young people have experiences abroad which change them for the better is very special for me. It's why I teach and travel with kids—to support students when they have their "aha!" moments."
Devon manages Friendship Tours' destination curriculum and California State University, Sacramento, college credit programs for us. During the spring and summer breaks she works as a Teacher.