Our Difference

Smithsonian Student Travel  |  Our Difference

Since 1846, the Smithsonian Institution has stood as the epitome of quality and trust. As the world’s largest museum, research, and education complex, and driven by our mission to “increase and diffuse knowledge,” Smithsonian Student Travel fosters the power that comes through immersive experiences, allowing students to deepen knowledge, expand cultural awareness, and become global citizens and active participants in shaping the future.

“I think my greatest sense of accomplishment was from doing so many new things for the first time. For example, climbing a glacier, going on long hikes, riding a horse, crossing rivers, etc. were all things I’ve never done before and never imagined I would do. I gained confidence in myself and bravery to do things that may seem difficult or scary initially.”

–Nina C., Iceland student traveler

Why Choose Smithsonian Student Travel?


Unexpected Connections

With nearly two centuries of mission-driven experience and extensive resources around the globe, the Smithsonian is uniquely able to provide opportunities for travelers to engage meaningfully with the world around them, and make unexpected connections between people, places, and themes. Knowledgeable trip leaders and experts further enable students to experience the world through the Smithsonian lens.


Engaging Experts

Students benefit from the insights and knowledge of Smithsonian Student Travel experts, who join every group for a portion of their program. Experts bring unique expertise, perspective, and contagious enthusiasm about the trip’s theme, and lead the group in engaging discussions and immersive activities.


Positive Group Dynamics

Each Smithsonian group comprises intellectually curious and like-minded peers from diverse backgrounds. Trip leaders are trained to cultivate a positive and supportive environment through group meetings, individual guidance, and effective communication. Students come away from the program with new perspectives, increased confidence, and great friends.

Inspiring Leaders

Trip leaders are accomplished, knowledgeable in their program theme, inspiring, and fun. They are well traveled, hold professional and real-world experience, and love working with youth. In addition to being teachers and guides, Smithsonian Student Travel leaders serve as mentors, role models, and friends. Read more about our leaders.

High Standards

Smithsonian Student Travel participants are held to high standards and are expected to actively participate in their programs. Every applicant must submit a personal statement and two teacher references for review before acceptance. Students are also asked to sign a list of standards that they agree to live by throughout their experience.

Lasting Benefits

The positive impacts our programs have on students last well beyond the end of their trip. Guardians often comment that their students return home with newfound confidence, a deeper understanding of their role as a global citizen, and a motivation to contribute for the better.

The Smithsonian Learning Lab

Every program draws on the Smithsonian Learning Lab, the Institution’s award-winning educational resource. Containing millions of digital images, recordings, texts, and videos from the archives, the Learning Lab provides unique insight into program themes and destinations that only the Smithsonian can provide.

Next Steps

Questions? Call us at (866) 870-2350 or click below to request more info. Ready to join us? Start your application today!