We take students out of the classroom and challenge them to learn about how the world really works in different places. Our core programs incorporate and combine immersion, experience, and inquisition, and take place in what can loosely be described as non-traditional settings. Our goal is to change the way students and youth think about the developing world – we accomplish this by designing and running experiential programs that encourage students to 1)  question current norms, 2) engage with local change makers, and 3) learn from their surroundings.

Insight was originally founded as Youth in Development in late 2012. The transition from our original name reflects our ambitions to explore a wide range of issues, while engaging an even wider audience. Our team is composed of professionals who’ve spent years working in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. Our small team collectively speaks 12 languages, has traveled to 100+ countries, and is as diverse as it is energetic. Insight is a fully licensed educational travel organization, and is regulated by the Government of BC and Canada.

Philosophy

Our model is experiential. Our philosophy is locally inclusive. Our goal is to change how we perceive developing countries.

We believe that if you want to change the world, then you’d better start learning about how it really works first.

Our programs, both university and high school, are deeply rooted in experiential methodology and incorporate a variety of prescribed learning outcomes. While many organizations focus their efforts on recruitment and program size, we focus entirely on quality. The experiences we facilitate for our students are extremely personal and life-changing. We prioritize getting to know each one of our students on a deep level, ensuring our impact is measured individually, rather than numerically.

All of our programs take place in developing countries – countries like Uganda that are experiencing rapid population growth, or countries like Fiji that are preparing for rising sea levels, or countries like Ecuador that are pioneering social enterprises in the wake of deforestation.

Why We’re Different

Build schools. Dig wells. Teach children. These are three of the most common types of international volunteering. The voluntourism industry, though in its infancy, has become a major player in global travel.

While we could sit here and debate the validity of voluntourism, it is our core belief that if you want to change the world for the better, then you need to really learn about it first. Good intentions, while good in nature, do not always have good outcomes, and while some international volunteer projects really do have good outcomes, many others simply do not.

Our programs are rooted in local leadership and are built in partnership with a variety of local stakeholders. Students participating in our programs – be it one of our 12-week university programs, or one of our 2-week immersive high school programs – don’t build anything. They don’t teach, nor do they impart; they meet, they experience, they engage, and they learn.

Our programs are different from the norm because we place the emphasis on learning through observation, through inquiry, and through engagement with local change makers. We’re different because we get to know each one of our students’ names, their stories, and their ambitions. We are deeply committed to developing programs that suit our students’ needs, while having a net benefit in communities we work in. Our programs are small, customized, and designed to challenge participants at the individual level, opening them to an increasingly complex, yet exciting, global world.

Meet The Team

Craig Vandermeer

Craig Vandermeer

CEO / Founder

SFU | M.A International Studies
Carleton | BA Political Science

Holding a Master’s Degree in International Studies, Craig’s first experience in a developing country saw him researching the growth potential of the Ugandan oil industry. After 5+ years in sub-Saharan Africa, and witnessing countless poorly designed volunteer abroad programs, Craig decided to take action and create programs for students rooted in experiential education. Craig has extensive international experience, having lived and worked in a handful of countries, and traveled to more than 30.

Ghazal Habib

Ghazal Habib

Program Director

SOAS | MA Public Affairs and Policy Management
SFU | BA International Development

After graduating from SFU with a BA in International Studies and a Certificate in African Studies, Ghazal moved to Kigali, Rwanda where she worked for Radio La Benevolencija, an NGO operating in the African Great Lakes region. Ghazal’s role as Program Director for Insight has seen her to return to the region she loves most, spending 6 months each year in Kampala, Uganda. Ghazal is extremely passionate about refugee issues, gender equality, and experiential education.

Clint Omelaniec

Clint Omelaniec

Communications Director

SFU | BA International Development

Clint handles website development, photography, video production, and print materials for Insight Global Education. He can sometimes be spotted on a pilot Engage or Semester Abroad trip shooting new material for Insight. He also lends a hand with program logistics and coordination when abroad with Insight. Clint has been involved with Insight since 2013.

Patrick Katabarwa

Patrick Katabarwa

Logistics Coordinator

Makerere University | BA Economics

Patrick currently resides with his family in Entebbe, Uganda, 40 km south of the capital, Kampala. He’s fluent in more than 6 languages, including Uganda‘s national language (Luganda), Rwanda’s national language (Kinyarwanda), and conversational Swahili.
Patrick joined the Insight team as our first Ugandan staff member, and brings a variety of experiences and skills to the team. When not working with Insight, Patrick manages a local logistics firm.

Partner With Us

We currently partner with a variety of institutions and organizations in Canada and abroad, including universities, secondary schools, community based organizations and travel companies. Are you interested in partnering with us? Get in touch with us!