Community Partnership Philosophy
In partnership with our primarily indigenous communities in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Canada and the United States, Xperitas promotes cross-cultural understanding and interconnectedness through authentic immersion experiences.
With more than 20 years of experience, first as Global Citizens Network and now as Xperitas, we have formed deep and intentional relationships with our community partners. We are committed to longterm, sustainable partnerships.
Each program incorporates a community-driven project that is initiated and led by our partners. The project serves as a vehicle for cross-cultural immersion and can vary from site to site. As guests, our daily rhythm is determined by the community, giving participants the opportunity to engage in both planned and spontaneous activities and events.
By participating in the day-to-day tasks with community members, engaging in conversation and sharing stories and meals, participants are deeply immersed in a new culture and perspective. Through daily reflection as a team, participants gain deeper knowledge and understanding about what it means to be a global citizen.
During the program, participants agree to uphold our philosophy and commit to following our participant guidelines, including Xperitas' policies on photos and gift-giving:
Taking of photos is to be done only once there has been a period of observance in the community, and then only with the permission of the community and individuals. Many communities are very open to being photographed, but some communities view photography as "stealing their souls," while others just do not feel comfortable with it. Respecting the perception of the people in a particular community is vital and essential in order to foster and nurture this relationship.
Gift-giving and promising photos is done only from the Xperitas team to the community, or as a “host gift” for the host family on trips with home stays – not from one individual to another individual. All gift giving must be discussed with the team leader. Often, when we least expect it, such gifts or photos promised to individuals can lead to division among the people of the host community. It also sets up an expectation that future Xperitas teams will also give gifts. A counterproductive relationship of "dependence" rather than partnership and cultural exchange is then established between Xperitas and the host community.
Following the cross-cultural experience, we encourage participants to continue their learning by sending them materials and suggestions for taking the next steps in engaging in global citizenry at home.