Frequently Asked Questions and answers to quench your curiosity. Have an inquiry about something we haven’t covered? Contact us!
What sets a Curious Kaleidoscope program apart from other programs and trips for young adults?
Curious Kaleidoscope participants enjoy ample unsupervised time on programs and have the opportunity to connect directly into the networks of trip leaders. Participants have the freedom to uniquely craft large components of our trips; this is due to the fact that we encourage growth through personal exploration and self direction. Each participant who attends a Curious Kaleidoscope program will walk away with an amalgamation of experiences different from those of their co-participants.
We do not provide 24 hour supervision of participants on our trips.
Should I sign up for a Curious Kaleidoscope trip?
Our programs are for young people who are mature, self-aware, and ready for more responsibility in their lives. Curious Kaleidoscope trips thrive on cultivating curiosity, exploration, and independence. To be prepared for our programs, you must have at least two weeks experience away from home. This should not be your first trip away from home. We want you to sign up for this program, and demonstrate that you can fill out your own application and engage in your interview by yourself.
How do I sign up for a trip?
Find out what we’re all about and make sure you’re onboard with our policies. Start by reading the trip page and its specific FAQ, this general FAQ page, and the About Us page.
Go to the Apply page, fill out and submit your application.
You will receive immediate confirmation that we have received your application. Within a few days you can expect an email from Curious Kaleidoscope outlining next steps.
We will set up a time and date for an interview. Plan to speak with trip leaders on Skype for up to thirty minutes. Come prepared to speak candidly about yourself, your interests, your curiosities and have specific questions ready to ask us.
After the interview, we will offer you enrollment in an email (or explain why we didn’t) and it will include all necessary paperwork and payment information.
Secure your spot immediately by sending signed paperwork to our mailing address and submitting the security deposit.
The rest of the program fee is due 3 months before departure.
What is the application deadline?
If you are excited about a trip, absolutely apply before the application deadline! This deadline tremendously informs us if we will run the trip, based on current applicant numbers. We start Skype interviews immediately after the application deadline. You can find our “go / no-go” decision date on the trip specific page.
What is your refund policy?
If the trip does not fill minimum enrollment numbers by the date posted on the corresponding trip page, we will cancel the trip and refund your security deposit.
For most trips, all payments are refundable until 3 months prior to the trip departure, minus the non-refundable security deposit.
Once the trip is in session, tuition payment is not refundable if you choose to leave the program by choice or if you break a trip agreement and are asked to leave the program.
What are your policies on drugs, alcohol, and smoking?
We have a zero-tolerance policy on illegal drug use (including non-prescribed medications), alcohol, and tobacco products. Violating this policy is grounds for immediate dismissal.
What is your behavior policy?
During our trip orientation, the group establishes agreements that include respecting each other, respecting property, and behaving safely. Practicing consent is a big component of our programs. Participants are allowed to be in consensual relationships. Trip specific agreements are created by staff and participants that encourage conversation about consent, relationships, communication and behavior. Trip specific policies can be found on the trip page. Violating the trip specific policy is grounds for immediate dismissal.
How does Curious Kaleidoscope reduce risk for participants when traveling abroad?
We hand-pick destinations for our programs based on personal experience in that specific location, posted safety ratings from the U.S. Department of State, information from guidebooks, and direct conversations with on-the-ground contacts.
We make the intentional decision to hire experienced leaders who are current Wilderness First Responders. This certification not only employs backcountry medical prowess, it also affirms a demonstrated practice and understanding of risk management from our leadership team.
Before leaving the US, trip leaders host a trip orientation for all participants wherein we set ground rules and make agreements. Furthermore, during this pre-trip gathering, trip leaders teach general common sense guidelines and destination specific awareness.
During the trip orientation, participants are taught to abide by the “Rule of 3,” a rule Julie became versed in while co-leading a trip in 2011. When exploring a city without staff, all participants must follow the “Rule of 3” wherein they must stay in groups of 3 participants or larger, and check in with a staff member if the group will be late or if there are changes in the planned itinerary. Participants follow the general rule of informing group leaders of where they are going and how long they will be there during unsupervised time.
How do participants stay connected to trip leaders while traveling in foreign countries?
Each trip leader will carry a cell phone that is accessible to participants and parents. When groups of participants go out to explore, they will be given a Curious Kaleidoscope cell phone with a Colombia SIM card to call trip leaders at any time.
What happens if a participant gets sick overseas?
Curious Kaleidoscope requires all participants to carry medical insurance that covers them internationally.
If a participant becomes seriously ill or has an emergency, a trip leader will arrange transport to the nearest hospital. We will directly contact the parents/guardians of the participant and request their desired course of action. A trip leader will accompany the participant to the hospital. In the case of other illness (head cold,
traveler’s stomach, etc.) the trip leaders will support the participant with basic health advice and over-the-counter medications that have been approved on their health form.
How much unsupervised time exists on trips in foreign countries?
There is an even balance of supervised and unsupervised time on international trips. Trip leaders always stay in the same hostel, residence, or lodging as the participants; our group always gets our rooms and we never share rooms with strangers. Sometimes participants will stay in a Curious Kaleidoscope approved homestay residence; if this is the case, trip leaders are nearby in the same town, and always available by phone.
Participants see trip leaders multiple times daily, often with unsupervised adventures in between. Participants will explore foreign cities in small groups, research and create group itineraries, and be responsible for sourcing and preparing group meals from scratch. These activities sometimes happen with trip leaders and sometimes happen with small groups of participants. As a group we share two communal meals daily and we always have a group check in at dinnertime.