Schools & Universities
Experiential educational adventures in Cambodia for high schools & universities
We specialize in development education, and facilitating learning journeys for student groups especially interested in development work. Our trips explore concepts of global citizenship and encourage travellers to be positive change-makers of the future.
At Ayana Journeys, we offer our own learning journeys, as well as facilitate study trips for like-minded travel partners as a Cambodian ground-operator.
Our learning journeys allow students to experience Cambodia through new experiences, educational activities, adventure, and of course fun! We aim to give students greater understanding of and interest in Cambodian history and Khmer culture and traditions, as well as love for this beautiful country and its people. We also aim to give you a chance to learn more about various development issues in Cambodia, and the variety of ways in which those are being addressed.
“Culturally immersive learning journeys, connecting young travellers to inspiring initiatives and locations.”
Our style of travel
All of our student learning journeys are crafted around three core components, which we believe together create a rounded exploration of Cambodia and transformative learning experience…
1. SELF – Personal Development –
Travel holds an incredible potential for personal development, which we seek to maximize by support young explorers in their individual journeys. By carefully framing experiences and facilitating a small selection of powerful reflection activities, we encourage students to embrace their Cambodian adventure as an opportunity for personal growth. They are supported in stepping bravely outside of their comfort zones and challenging themselves to explore new ideas, consider new opinions, adopt a critical mindset, ask questions, and most of all, reflect on themselves as travelers, change-makers, and members of a global community.
2. COMMUNITY – Cultural Immersion & Historical Context –
Delving into Cambodia’s fascinating culture and myriad of traditions is one of the most important – and fun! – parts of exploring and understanding this incredible Kingdom. Alongside more structured educational activities students will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in Cambodia’s rich cultural heritage, join in with the daily hustle-and-bustle, and sample experiential learning at its finest. Our facilitators encourage students to challenge preconceptions, broaden perspectives, and contemplate notions of cultural difference and global citizenship.
Understanding the mighty Khmer Empire and the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge Regime – and the complex series of events that preceded and followed both – is integral to comprehending Cambodia as it is today. Every facet of Khmer society has been impacted to some extent by the regime Cambodians refer to as ‘3 years, 8 months, 20 days’, from education, health care, and human rights, through to fashion, music, and even food. By exploring the Kingdom’s traumatic 20th century students can not only gain a deeper insight into Cambodia’s past and present, but also begin to consider broader themes such as war, power, peace, and reconciliation.
3. WORLD – Development Education & Global Citizenship –
In the years that followed the Khmer Rouge thousands of NGOs – both local and international – have been established across Cambodia, to the extent that the Kingdom is now home to the world’s second highest number of NGOs per capita (following Rwanda). International NGOs in particular have played an integral role in rebuilding the country in recent decades, supplementing ill-equipped government services and providing support for thousands – if not millions – of Khmer people. By examining the role of foreign aid agencies in Cambodia and considering increasing global criticisms of such work, students will begin to comprehend the complexities of ‘development’ that are often overlooked, gain valuable insights into the intricacies of development work, from a small-scale grass-roots level right through to foreign aid agencies, and develop their own opinion on themes such as charity, aid, development, and international relations.
While our learning journeys may take place in Cambodia, students are encouraged to consider their role in an increasingly interconnected world, and reflect on how all they’ve learned and experienced may impact their choices or actions in the future. By travelling to new locations students begin to understand how others live, and explore themes of empathy and global citizenship by examining not just the obvious differences to their familiar environment, but unexpected similarities.
Our team are based in Cambodia, and are made up of locals and expats with thorough local knowledge. We have been running educational adventures for many years, and have a deep connection to the country. To our knowledge, we are the only Cambodian registered educational travel specialist.
Education is at the core of all our tours. Study trips have carefully thought out curriculums and learning objectives based on your group’s interests and goals. Experienced facilitators deliver eye-opening educational experiences through a range of engaging and interactive activities. Unlike typical service trips, rather than diving in and trying to help, we engage guests in meaningful interactions with leaders in the field to learn first.
We aim to help travellers to feel more connected to and empathetic towards a global community. We seek to break stereotypes , and change attitudes and perspectives. Our trips are eye-opening, and have been described as life-changing.
Responsible and ethical
Socially responsible travel is at the core of everything we do. We have even received global recognition for our social responsibility initiatives in educational travel. We have a range of strict policies to ensure we tread lightly, and create maximum positive impacts to the people and places we visit. Our trips are small and customized, and we like it that way!
Your trip costs includes generous donations to organisations we visit and meet, funding much needed development work. As well as partnering with NGOs through our tours, we also support social enterprises and community initiatives. We carefully select our NGO partners that are aligned with our values, and have an on-going dialogue with them to ensure our trips benefit their cause in some way.
Offbeat and culturally immersive
We believe in getting off the beaten path and are proud to support destinations in the heart of rural Cambodia. By travelling with us to quieter locations, we connect you to authentic and culturally immersive experiences, as well as spreading economic benefits.
Safety is priority and all locations are thoroughly researched in advance. Our leaders are first aid qualified, and follow stringent safety and emergency policies and procedures.
We are committed to following legislation and investing in the Cambodian economy. By using us as a destination based partner, you can rest assured that all necessary legal requirements are fulfilled by our compliance. This includes necessary compulsory tourism license, tax systems and recruitment procedures, including a commitment to ethical HRM.
We work all over the country – from the buzzing capital, to the sleepy seaside, and from the heart of the countryside, to the most hidden corners of the Kingdom. Trips usually start and/or finish in Siem Reap and/or Phnom Penh, and where possible we encourage groups to get out of the hustle and bustle, and take you off the beaten track.
As a ‘developing’ country, Cambodia is the perfect place to explore concepts of global citizenship. We have a rich and complicated history, fascinating spiritual beliefs, and a colourful culture. We also believe it is one of the friendliest places on earth!
No two itineraries are the same, as we don’t believe one size fits all when it comes to transformative travel. We customise every tour to meet your group’s needs, learning goals, and timeframe. Tell us more about who your group is, and we’ll design an educational adventure just for you.
As every trip is different we have no fixed prices. We will work hard to meet your groups’ budget, but ask you to remember that there’s no such thing as a free lunch! We pay our staff, partners and hosts fairly, as well as being a committed law-abiding tax payer! We usually prepare a budget on an all-inclusive basis, and can spread chaperones or teachers costs across paying students.
As well as being fun and educational, we firmly believe that travel has the potential to positively impact host communities. With careful planning and consideration we are able to maximize the benefits of our adventures to the local economy, and support inspiring development initiatives.
In designing our itineraries and selecting our partners and suppliers, we prioritize locally-run and/or social enterprise accommodation, restaurants, service providers, and transport options. In doing this we can ensure that your money is flowing directly into the local economy, and benefitting the people whose country you are exploring. Donations are made to all development projects and social enterprises visited throughout the journey.
For some of our trips, we also set aside a portion of our fee and channel it directly to an official partner NGO. An example is through our partnership with PEPY Tours, with fundraising going directly to PEPY Empowering Youth.
We believe this contributes to positive long-term impacts that will last far beyond the duration of your trip, and simultaneously encourages students to recognize their ability to effect positive change.
Every learning journey is carefully handcrafted to your group’s needs and learning goals. Whilst most trips have an underlying thread, every adventure is unique and designed especially for you.
Themes & topics
Culture & cultural differences
Ancient & modern Cambodian history
Foreign aid & development
Service & responsible giving
Education & development
Natural & heritage conservation
“This trip was enriching in every way possible. It changed the way I looked at development work, taught me how to question and analyse my surroundings, and most of all it taught me awareness, of myself, of others, and of the world” – Sara, March 2015