Ex-Ed Leaders Abroad 2024

Ex-Ed Leaders Abroad is a fully-funded global program designed for teachers and educators working in experiential education. This 9-day program brings together thought leaders, educators, and changemakers from the US, Canada, and around the world, fostering a vibrant community of professionals dedicated to shaping the future of experiential learning. Each year we embark on a journey to a different location, offering participants the opportunity to build lasting connections, share insights, and explore program destinations. As we collectively scout diverse locations, participants contribute to the development of impactful educational experiences for middle and high school students. Join us for an immersive experience that combines community building, knowledge exchange, and the excitement of discovering new and inspiring locales.

Program Details

Program Themes

Join fellow educators and explore Thailand with us this July!

Program Overview

Nestled in the cultural heart of Thailand, Chiang Mai offers a rich tapestry of opportunities for student travel programs. Our program is crafted to provide educators with firsthand insights into the diverse and transformative experiences that Chiang Mai can offer to students.

Join us in this unique initiative that goes beyond exploration; it’s a community-building journey. Engage with fellow experiential education enthusiasts, connect with local partners, and discover the vast potential for student travel programs in Chiang Mai. Through interactive workshops, site visits, and collaborative discussions, this program aims to foster a supportive network of educators committed to creating impactful learning experiences.

As we delve into the vibrant culture, historical landmarks, and immersive activities Chiang Mai has to offer, we invite you to be a part of this enriching experience. Let’s explore the possibilities, share insights, and build a community that advances the field of experiential education. Chiang Mai awaits as both a classroom and a canvas for forging lasting connections and creating meaningful educational adventures.

What's Covered by Insight

What's Not Covered

Reasons to join us!

Itinerary - 9 days

Arrive any time in the morning.

In the afternoon, visit the Warorot Market where guides will talk about the “Chiang Mai on Three Wheels” project, which aims to preserve the samlor (bicycle taxi) as a means of transportation in Chiang Mai. Later, visit two of the most famous Buddhist temples: Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Phra Singh before dinner. End the evening with a program overview and debrief of the first day.

Travel to Ban Mae Sa Mai, the largest Hmong community in Northern Thailand, home to an Agricultural Royal Development Project initiated by the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Visit the research center for herb and vegetable production. Meet with Sowmee, the silversmith of the village, before embarking on a 2-hour trail walk. This walk will be led by a Hmong guide and include a visit to the community’s vegetable fields and a picnic lunch with views over the Mae Sa Valley. (This is a loop trail approximately 3 miles in length with total elevation gain around 500 feet.)

Return to the village to learn more about Hmong culture and visit the nursery to learn about the village’s collaboration with Chiang Mai University on a forest restoration project.

Visit the Center for Social Impact at Payap University. The Center for Social Impact aims to serve as a resource hub for local social impact practitioners, and to engage stakeholders from all sectors to commit to and tackle social issues. Its director will talk about Thailand’s economic and social development, and about social enterprises. Join a workshop to better understand their work.
Then participate in a group dialogue.

Visit the organic coffee plantation, Suan Lahu. Learn about growing and roasting organic coffee. Of course, you will also taste the delicious coffee of Suan Lahu. Then visit the nearby Lahu Sheleh community. A subgroup of the Black Lahu, Lahu Sheleh are an ethnic minority originating from the Tibet/China border area.

After lunch, visit a local high school. Meet local school teachers to learn about the Thai education system. Explore ways to collaborate in the future!

Visit SuperBee, a dynamic and thriving social enterprise dedicated to empowering women, creating employment in rural areas, and reducing reliance on single-use plastics. Later, head to Elephant Parade Land.
Enjoy a behind the scenes tour of this social enterprise and see the garden filled with colorful life-sized baby elephant statues. Listen to the heartwarming story of Elephant Parade’s 10+ year existence and discuss their mission to protect the endangered Asian elephant.

Travel to Ban Luang Nua, a Tai Lue village north of Chiang Mai. The Tai Lue are an ethnic group, originally from China. They are culturally and linguistically closely related to the Thai people but have some different customs and traditions. Learn about Tai Lue culture and community-based tourism.  Participate in activities such as weaving and preparing typical Tai Lue snacks. Learn about the history of the people of this community who moved here from Southern China in 1389.

End the date with a Thai cooking class. Visit an organic farm and learn about Thai herbs and vegetables. Enjoy collecting eggs and other fresh ingredients. Begin by making curry paste and soup. Then try making a stir fry and dessert.

Today participants have a full free day, with a guided intention set by Insight. Either on your own or in small groups, develop an itinerary for the day based on a guided worksheet.

Visit The Chang in the Mae Sa Valley. This former elephant camp underwent radical changes to free its domestic elephants from chains and rides, and see them enjoy as natural a lifestyle as possible. Learn about the Asian elephant and the issues surrounding its preservation. Meet elderly elephants and get close to them. Learn to make herb balls which you will later feed to the elephants. You will also visit the elephant cemetery to learn about elephants from a skeleton, and then visit the place where the elephants rest at night time. Wrap up by meeting the younger elephants and getting a chance to bathe them.

Later, visit the Elephant POOPOOPAPER Park, an eco-friendly outdoor museum that explains the unique steps involved in making paper products from elephant poop fibers. Pull up a stool, roll up your sleeves and join talented artisans in this head-turning process.

In the afternoon, visit Bo Sang (an umbrella makers village) and learn about the Creative Cities Network’s efforts to preserve and promote arts and culture industries in Chiang Mai. Hear from a maker about how local art skills are passed down.

End the day at the Old Chiang Mai Culture Center for a Kantoke dinner with traditional dances.

Visit Doi Suthep and the mountain-top temples of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep and Wat Pha Lat. Partake in an almsgiving ceremony near the shrine for Chiang Mai’s most venerated monk, Kruba Srivichai, whose followers constructed the road to the temple in 1935. Walk a short stretch of the famous Monk’s Trail before lunch.

After a free afternoon, explore Chiang Mai’s famed Night Market.

After breakfast, participate in a final group dialogue. 

Depart any time in the afternoon.

Ready to Apply?

Insight is thrilled to be able to offer 18 fully-funded spots for this program! This program is best suited for educators directly involved in experiential learning and student travel. One candidate per school is eligible to participate.  Please complete your application by May 5, 2024, to be considered.

Health & Safety

Insight has delivered international trips for a wide variety of audiences since 2013. Our top priority is the health and well-being of our participants. In the event conditions change while on trip, Insight may need to adjust the itinerary to ensure participant health and safety.

As with all trips, risks exist and participants will need to complete Acknowledgement of Risk documentation prior to departure. Insight will take every precaution to ensure this experience is unforgettable for all the right reasons. To learn more about our health and safety practices, please contact us.


Insight has delivered immersive travel experiences for students and educators all around the world. Our experienced team will be with you the entire time and will give you a thorough briefing upon arrival on best practices while exploring the country. Thailand is a safe and welcoming country, and we’ll be implementing robust practices to keep you safe. 

All in-country expenses are covered by the Insight Educator Professional Development Fund. Attending participants are required to secure their own flights and insurance. 

Ex-Ed Leaders Abroad is best suited for educators directly involved in the design, development, and delivery of experiential education. During the application, you will be asked a few questions with regards to your role at your school, as well as your school’s background in travel programming and experiential learning.

Yes, absolutely! We welcome applications from educators who’s schools are just getting started, or are re-introducing student travel.

You must apply by May 5th, 2024 to be considered for this program. One candidate is eligible to apply from each school. Applications will be reviewed as they are received and 18 spots will be awarded by Mid-May.

There’s no expectation or requirement that your school commits to or participates in a future travel program. 

Insight generates revenue each year through the sales of our curricular resources. A portion of those proceeds are used to support professional development opportunities for educators, including Ex-Ed Leaders Abroad. To learn more about our SDG-themed curricular resources, click here.

For any further questions, please contact Craig Vandermeer, at

Questions? Let's talk