For students

Our favorite travel souvenirs? College credit and confidence


The word itself invokes dreams of intellectual freedom, personal growth, careers coming into focus, and friendships for life.

If you’re a high school student or the parent of one, though, “college” may also trigger feelings of stress, pressure, insecurity, and a disorienting jumble of excitement and fear. Where should I go? Will I get in? Can I handle the classes?

Every year, hundreds of EF travelers use their tours to do something about it. They add an online course from Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) to their tour experience, building confidence and earning college credit along the way.

As a 10th grader who took the course told us, “It was a life changing experience for me and others around me to see that I can accomplish college-level work with good grades at my age.”

Making tours better, not harder

The SNHU course, Interculturalism and Global Exploration, deepens and documents the discoveries that already happen on an EF tour. Like all great learning experiences, it’s both educational and fun. There are no applications, no textbooks, no lectures, and definitely no tests.

Instead, the course design showcases some of the biggest trends in higher ed today: flexibility, choice, and student-driven inquiry. A range of experiential activities help students explore their tour destinations, challenge personal assumptions, and discover connections between people, places, and cultures. Each activity provides a framework for students to pursue topics and interests that inspire them.

One activity leads students to compare a typical breakfast at home to a typical breakfast in their destination. What do the similarities and differences reveal about global influences and economics? Another has them “unpacking their luggage” to consider how what they bring on tour reflects personal values and cultural biases.

The activities take an interdisciplinary approach and give students a chance to develop new skills through map-making, photo and video journaling, interviews with locals, literary research, music and art exploration, language learning, and more. All of them guide students to a richer appreciation of themselves and the world they live in.

The course concludes with an Inspired Project that serves as a platform for students to process, synthesize, and share the overall impact of their tour experiences. The format is flexible. Each student communicates in a way that is true to their personal strengths and unique tour takeaways.

An Academic Mentor from EF supports students throughout, while a professor from SNHU assesses the work and provides 1:1 coaching to anyone who needs a hand.

Learning that’s fully transferable

The goal of the course is to increase students’ understanding of our entire world. They earn three (3) fully transferable college credits from SNHU when they finish, complete with a transcript. That typically equates to one full-semester course. It’s like earning AP credit, except it’s actual college credit from an actual college course, not a high school course that might translate into college credit.

To date, students have had their credits accepted at schools coast-to-coast—large state universities, small private colleges, religious schools, and two- and four-year institutions.

Because SNHU is committed to making college-level education available to as many students as possible, the course is only $215. This relatively small investment turns an EF tour into an even more valuable and life-changing opportunity.

(Keep in mind that every student situation is unique, and the receiving school always gets the final say on whether to accept transfer credits.)

It’s about way more than credit

Even more valuable than the credits they earn are the four words every student who completes the course can say when they eventually enroll in college: “I can do this.” They know it because they have already tasted college success.

This increased confidence can strengthen college applications since admissions officers like to see applicants who have proven they can handle college-level work. Admissions officers also look for students who go the extra mile to make the most of their educational opportunities.

Finally, when the credits are accepted for transfer, it can reduce the number of courses a student is required to take to graduate. Since tuition usually amounts to several thousand dollars per course, this can translate into substantial savings.

If you or your students are interested in this unique opportunity, visit to learn more and register.

Southern New Hampshire University also offers three- and six-credit graduate-level courses to educators traveling with EF. Find out more at

Topics: For students

J.J. Gilmartin

J.J. is a member of the Education Team at EF Educational Tours. The first plane he was ever on was a bi-plane at an air show. Since then he has taken much bigger planes to five of the seven continents.

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