Our Mission

As committed educators, we create rigorous learning environments that engage with the world, examine its challenges, and place students alongside leaders who are committed to finding solutions.

To learn more about Thinking Beyond Borders’ programs, philosophy, and work in international education, please read below:

About Thinking Beyond Borders

Thinking Beyond Borders is an educational institution offering programs to develop the essential skills and capacities students need to lead exceptional social impact careers.

While all TBB programs feature extensive and meaningful cultural immersion, the learning goes far beyond where other programs end. With a variety of programs designed for the gap year, TBB is for students who are determined to impact our world. Meaningful change starts here. Our gap year programs represent the cutting edge of social impact learning programs.

Our Impact

The social impact sector — in the US and globally — is filled with professionals with good intentions and good technical skills who want to make the world a better place. But, history shows that those who act with good intentions and good technical skills cause as much harm as good. Thinking Beyond Borders’ international education programs are designed to develop two key capacities in students. These are the capacities that result in social impact leaders who are uniquely qualified to create greater equity and justice.

  • Critical understanding of how to identify and create meaningful social impact
  • Dynamic vision for how to build and lead mission-centered social impact institutions

Our gap year programs support and challenge students in pursuing intensive learning and growth. In the above video of Founder Robin Pendoley explains TBB’s Theory of Change and debuts the early results of our first impact assessment.

With Thinking Beyond Borders...

  • Education is purposeful.
  • Identifying personal relationships with global issues is critical for meaningful conclusions.
  • The reciprocal relationship between the student and teacher allows each to learn and to build new conclusions.
  • “Understanding” is a continuous process of experiencing, learning, and reflecting.
  • The product of education is a skilled learner, not memorized information.
  • Critical thought and experiential learning develop dynamic understanding and an informed worldview.

We Believe

  • We are living in an increasingly global society.
  • Our global society faces immense challenges.
  • The challenges of poverty, environmental destruction, public health, and social oppression create serious conflicts around the world.
  • Facing these serious conflicts, individuals often feel ill-equipped to create proactive change.
  • Proactive change is action through dynamic understanding of communities and global issues.
  • Dynamic understanding begins with education that engages communities through experiential learning and critical thought.
  • Thinking Beyond Borders is a powerful educational opportunity that benefits the global society.

TBB's Impact Assessment

Measuring TBB's Impact The staff at Thinking Beyond Borders is highly committed to offering the best possible educational programs for gap year students. Beginning in Spring 2013, Andrea Canuel, a member of TBB's Advisory Council, began assessing TBB's impact on students as part of her capstone project for her Master's degree from NYU's Steinhardt School. We have published a 5-part blog series to contribute to the discourse surrounding international education, the college transition, and social change leadership.

  1. Gap Years Matter: TBB's First Impact Assessment
  2. Gap Year Programs Provide Purpose & Direction
  3. Gap Year Programs Teach Higher Order Empathy
  4. Gap Year Programs Develop Powerful Learners
  5. Questions & Next Steps in Gap Year Assessment

TBB's Partnerships

University Partnership

Thinking Beyond Borders is excited to have been identified as one of only six preferred programs chosen to participate in the Duke Gap Year Program at Duke University. “Duke University supports students who wish to take a gap year before enrolling. We believe a gap year is an excellent opportunity for them to grow, reflect, and get a fresh perspective before diving into another four-year academic experience,” states Christoph Guttentag, Duke's Dean of Admissions. “We are pleased to work with organizations like Thinking Beyond Borders to support gap year experiences and make them more accessible to students from a diverse range of backgrounds.”

As part of our shared commitment to making a gap year experience accessible to a larger population, Thinking Beyond Borders is proud to offer a $5,000 grant for our Global Gap Year Program to each student who has also been admitted as a first year undergraduate at Duke. Duke University awards an additional $5,000 to $15,000 towards gap year program tuition, based on gap year plans and financial need, making Thinking Beyond Borders programs more accessible than ever.

TBB's Inclusion & Equity

TBB is committed to equity & inclusion across all gap year programs. TBB does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations.

Review TBB's Equality & Inclusiveness Plan

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