GPS Trips

The 2019 Global Pathways Spring program (GPS) will be the thirty first year of providing service-learning and cultural exchange opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and patrons who have a desire to learn about another culture and to live responsibly as global citizens. Reverend Tom Steffen, the former Dean of the Chapel, developed the Spring Break in Mission program over thirty years ago and this program is one of his remarkable legacies. In October 2012 the name changed from Spring Break in Mission to Global Pathways Spring program (GPS) to better reflect the broad cultural and humanitarian reach of the trips.

There have been trips to nine states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and thirty-three countries. 

Names are currently being accepted for the trips and should be sent to the adults listed for each trip.  Beginning on Wednesday, September 26, 2018 the $500 non-refundable deposit will be accepted online. 

GPS Online Payment

The deposit is needed to secure a place on the individual mission trips and space is limited. After December 3, 2018 students and/or parents that cancel their participation in a trip (after their deposit is paid) will be responsible for the remaining balance of their trip. Students that are applying for scholarships for one of these trips and can only participate if they earn a scholarship do not need to place a deposit. 

The remaining balance for the cost of these trips is due on Friday, February 8, 2019.

GPS Scholarships

There will be multiple scholarship opportunities for both CGA and CMA students for the 2019 GPS trips. Please complete the scholarship application below for consideration. 

Apply Online

The essay and application must be completed by 5:00 PM on Friday, October 12. A panel of judges will read the essays and winners of the scholarships will be determined by the results of the essay, application and the specific scholarship criteria. 

2019 Trips

Peoples' Republic of China


Sponsored by the Global Studies Institute & The Confucius Classroom at Culver Academies with our partner the Shanghai Foreign Language School
March 21 – April 1, 2019

The team traveling to the Peoples' Republic of China will deepen Culver's exchange program with the Shanghai Foreign Language School. Past highlights include: attending classes at the school (with instruction in the art of Tai Chi); riding the Magnetic Levitation Train at speeds exceeding 250 mph; a home stay in Shanghai; boat rides on the beautiful West Lake of Hangzhou as well as along the Huangpu River of Shanghai; visiting the Shanghai Stock Exchange; shopping the world famous Silk Street Market (accommodating over 1700 vendors); exploring the Forbidden City as well as the Great Wall; and building long lasting friendships with students and teachers throughout China.

Contact Ms. Jessica Harding (Jessica.Harding@culver.org) for more information.

Estimated cost is: $3,800



March 21 – April 1, 2019

Team Ireland will experience the amazing variety of the Emerald Isle, from the increasingly cosmopolitan capital, Dublin, to tiny traditional villages of the Atlantic coast. In Dublin, you will see the 2,000-year -old Bog Mummies, visit Trinity College and view the ancient Book of Kells as well as learning to play the uniquely Irish sports of Gaelic football, hurling and handball. A day of volunteering with a local community will be rewarded with a special evening of Irish music, dancing and food at The Merry Ploughboy. Traveling southwest, we will also visit the city of Cork to understand the mass emigration to the US and other parts of the world at the Cobh Heritage Centre with a stop at the nearby Blarney Castle to kiss the famous Blarney Stone. A three-night stay in Killarney will allow us to explore the Dingle Peninsula and the Ring of Kerry, including visits to a working sheep farm, local historical landmarks and a session with local musicians. A medieval dinner awaits at the Bunratty Castle Hotel where the group will overnight.  On the way back to Dublin, experience the stunning display of thoroughbred horses at the Irish National Stud Farm before an afternoon of Irish dancing with the chance for you to learn the steps. Perhaps the most valuable reason to visit Ireland is to experience the Glencree Reconciliation Centre. Glencree believes in a shared world where all can live free from the fear of violence, and where differences and conflicts are transformed peacefully.  Ireland is the only place on Earth where you can stand a top the Cliffs of Moher while gazing down 400 feet into the Atlantic Ocean as well as meet some of the most warm and friendly people on the planet. 

Contact: Dean Lynn Rasch (Lynn.Rasch@culver.org) or Mr. Matt Behling (Matthew.Behling@culver.org) or Mrs. Jill Behling (Jill.Behling@culver.org) for more details. 

Estimated price: $4,500



March 22 – April 1, 2019

Students participating in the cultural immersion to Spoleto, Italy will quickly see why the Italians are so renowned for their art, culture, food, and fashion. Spanning from the times of the ancient Romans through the development of modern Europe, Italy possesses an incredibly rich and fascinating history. When visiting Rome, students will experience the grandeur of the mighty Roman Empire by touring the Pantheon, walking the Roman Forum, and visiting the well-preserved remains of Roman temples. While staying and assisting in a 15th century convent in Spoleto, students will get a solid understanding of medieval life during the 13th and 14th centuries. Additionally, students will participate in cooking lessons, Italian language and culture instruction, and dine in a variety of local restaurants that specialize in regional fare. When venturing out of Spoleto to explore the Tuscan countryside, students will visit the vibrant city of Florence to see Michelangelo’s David, stroll along the Ponte Vecchio, and observe Brunelleschi’s dome atop Florence Cathedral. Also included in the trip’s itinerary will be the towns of Siena, Volterra, Orvieto, and Assisi. PLEASE NOTE: Students who require a special visa to enter Italy will not be eligible for this trip.

Contact: Mr. Strati (Andrew.Strati@culver.org) for more information.

Estimated price: $4,500



Construction/Community Service/Cultural
March 22 – March 30, 2019

The Global Pathways Spring trip to Mexico, Building Bridges, is the perfect combination of work and cultural learning.  This Spring Break will be our 15th year building homes for families who have never had their own home.  As part of our Love Without Borders Outreach Program, we collaborate with local schools in the communities where we build our Culver homes.  Our students interact with the children and community and provide backpacks, athletic shoes, school supplies and athletic equipment.  Over the years, we have built over sixty homes for families whose lives will forever be transformed.  There is also time for recreational activities where we enjoy the beach and pool and sharing wonderful meals on a roof deck restaurant.  Also included in the trip are several sightseeing excursions, the release of sea baby sea turtles at sunset and whale watching.  If adventure, team building relationships and giving back to making the world a better place is in your blood, join Team Mexico.

Contact: Mr. Dana Neer (Dana.Neer@Culver.org) for more information.

Estimated cost: $3,900


South Africa (LCA Members only)

March 21- April 3, 2019

This is the trip of a lifetime and one you will never forget. In connection with Culver’s Leadership Committee for Africa (LCA), Team South Africa will focus our efforts on our partnership with Christel House South Africa (CHSA) in Cape Town. CHSA’s mission is “to help children break the cycle of poverty and become self-sufficient, contributing members of their society.” The team will conduct leadership workshops, participate in CHSA activities, and continue to foster the relationships established on LCA’s six previous trips. Members of Team South Africa will work to better understand poverty, the history of apartheid in South Africa, Nelson Mandela, and other key historical figures by learning about and visiting cultural and historical sites. Rounding out the team’s experience on the other side of the world will be a visit to Johannesburg, an elephant sanctuary outside Hartbeespoort, and an evening and morning game drive in Pilansburg. Students are asked to attend an introductory meeting, agree to the trip contract, and be members of LCA (by December 1, 2018) before making a deposit.

Contact: Mrs. Angie Strobel (angie.strobel@culver.org) for more information.

Estimated price $4850


Spain (CMA and CGA Rugby trip)

March 22 – April 2, 2019

CGA or CMA students with any interest in rugby can participate in our third GPS rugby trip.  Students are not required to have experience playing rugby, as there will be plenty of time to develop the necessary skills prior to our departure. Our primary objective is to experience the Spanish culture and to serve others through the common bond of sport and wellness, which transcends language, socioeconomic status, or ethnicity.  We will be staying in the two main cities of Spain, spending four nights in Madrid with high-speed train travel to Barcelona spending six nights there.  We will use our students’ leadership strengths with their inherent desire to serve others so that our students fully understand what “Service through Sport” means. We will be visiting the Prado and Reina Sofia museums in Madrid.  Additionally there will be a guided visit to the El Alcazar” military museum, a day trip to Toledo and a guided visit to Sagrada Familia Church.  We will be playing three games each (CMA & CGA) of rugby along with two practices at local club pitches.  Our service projects are centered on a “sporting club” that serves as the community’s central location for working with adolescents with different types of sports. We will also be working with Varsity Sports to reach out to a club that is need of our help.

Contact Mr. Darrell Knowlton (Darrell.Knowlton@culver.org) or Ms. Melissa Alexander (Melissa.Alexander@culver.org) for further information.


The $500 non-refundable deposit is what holds a student’s place on a GPS trip.  However, many of these trips will sell out quickly once we open the payment site on Sept. 26, 2018 at 8:00 AM Eastern Standard Time.  The payment link will be located at www.culver.org/gps at the bottom of the website page.  If a specific GPS trip sells out, students may transfer their deposit to another 2019 GPS trip.  If there is not another trip that they wish to transfer to, then the deposit will be placed into the student’s tuition account.  After Monday, December 3, 2018, students and/or parents that cancel their participation in a trip (after their non-refundable deposit has been paid) will be responsible for any remaining balance of their trip. This financial responsibility applies to students who withdraw, are dismissed, or have medical conditions that prohibit them from participating in the GPS trip. Parents are encouraged to consider trip insurance for the GPS trips.  The prices listed for each trip are estimated prices. The price of these trips may change if the airline fares or airline surcharges increase, the US dollar weakens or the total number of registrants falls below the budgeted amount for a specific trip.  The full balance for the cost of each GPS trip is due Friday, February 8, 2019.