Academy 2019

Ages: 17-24   •  Location: Mexico   •   Length: 91 Days
$6495.00 + Self Managed Airfare  •   Service Hours: 120
Meeting Point: San Diego

About Live Different Academy

The Live Different Academy takes your passion to learn, serve, and grow and puts them all together into a 13 week experience that will challenge and shape you like nothing else. You’ll bring positive change to the world while being transformed in your thinking, your actions, and your focus for the future.

The Academy is a small and personal program that invites you to step out of your comfort zone and consider yourself and the world around you through a lens of care, compassion and social justice.  We offer Academy students the opportunity to be immersed in the local culture, dig into in our social justice curriculum, recieve spanish tutoring, invest in the local community and build relationships sharing weekly evenings with host families. 

The cost for Academy 2019 is $ 6 495.
It is broken down into an Academy Tuition of $3 245 and a Charitable Program Cost of $3 250.  

The Tuition payment can be paid directly to Live Different (via cheque, credit card or interac email transfer to and includes the initial deposit of $300.  The $3 245 tuition is not eligible for a charitable tax-receipt. Please call the office directly and we can help walk you through the options!

The Charitable Program Cost of $3 250 supports your involvement working with local community organization, your involvement in a home build and contributing towards our ongoing community projects.  This amount can be raised/donated on your Live Different fundraising page once you have been accepted into the Academy Program.  Because Live Different is a registered Canadian Charity, any portion of the $3 250 fundraising goal that is raised is eligible for a tax-receipt but not refundable.

For more details check out the Academy Page on our website!

What Is Included
  • All accommodations in San Diego and in Mexico.
  • Academy course texts and materials.
  • Introductory Spanish lessons.
  • All meals while in Mexico.
  • All transportation while in San Diego and in Mexico.
  • Build project and materials.
  • Program excursions.
  • Access to WiFi (access hours vary based on location and reception).
  • Laundry facilities.
What Is Not Included
  • Flights to and from San Diego, CA.
  • Extra excursions, meals, souvenirs, etc.
  • Emergency medical travel insurance.

September 9th

Fly to San Diego, CA (Airport Code: SAN)

September 10th

Drive to Vicente Guerrero, Baja California, Mexico.

Week 1


Weeks 2

Spanish Classes and meet host families*

Weeks 3-5

Volunteering and course work

Week 6

Live Different Build Project

Week 7-9

Volunteering and coursework

Week 10

Week in the life experience

Week 11-12

Volunteering and coursework

Week 13


December 8th

All students fly home from San Diego, CA

* Spanish and weekly visits with host families are on-going

Quick note: The schedule may change from year to year and even during the Academy.

We partner with small organizations in the area that are working to meet the needs of the community members. Activities will vary based on community needs at the time of your stay. Opportunities may include (but not limited to) helping at an after-school program, a seniors’ home, a program for children with disabilities, or helping with a breakfast program. We aim to develop relationships and thus plan to have the same volunteer placements several times per week during volunteer weeks. In addition there will be opportunities to help with assorted building projects or at one-time events as needs arise.

There is no typical day in LD Academy. We try to balance establishing a routine with keeping things fresh and new.

During our volunteering and class weeks, the weekdays tend to follow a general outline. After making your own breakfast in our stocked kitchen, some mornings are spent in class (Spanish and a social justice topic), while others are spent volunteering with a local organization. After a lunch prepared by our staff, you will usually head out in groups of 2 or 3 to volunteer. Supper may be a Mexican cooking class, spent with a host family or prepared by members of your own group - so bring some of your favourite recipes. Evenings may be spent playing games, hanging out around a campfire, doing assigned reading, catching up with people back home or however else you choose to spend your downtime. Saturdays are generally for exploring the beauty of the Baja as a group - perhaps going to the beach, checking out a local flea market, hiking an extinct volcano, or exploring the pine forests in the mountains. Sundays are days off in which you can rest and/or see where your feet and the public bus may take you.

One of the values of Live Different is caring for people, not “stuff”. How do you live out this value in your daily life? We will spend time learning about poverty, its causes and impacts on people and what is being done to address these issues. We will explore issues like hunger, slavery, human trafficking, statelessness, the refugee crisis, and child soldiers. Then we spend some time talking about what our role is as global citizens and how we can work for change in our own communities.
Live Different has a long history of safe, positive and life-changing humanitarian travel projects - taking over 5,000 students since 2005 with no serious injuries or incidents. We recognize there are always safety measures and risks when traveling to any developing country and with this in mind, we pay close attention to what is going on in Baja California area and along the routes we travel. We carefully plan our travel, destinations and daily programming to ensure not only a safe experience but a culturally rich one with the opportunity for incredible learning beyond the stereotypes and assumptions often perpetuated by political groups and the media. You can feel confident that if we had any concerns about our ability to host your group safely or if any any travel concerns come to our attention before or during the Academy Program we would be sure to communicate immediately with any registered students and their parent(s)/guardians.
No prior knowledge of Spanish is required but it sure does help. The second week will be spent doing an intensive Spanish study and the following weeks will include 1-3 hours of additional Spanish class time. A translator will be provided in situations where it is important to facilitate relationships and have clear communication. Other times participants will be placed in situations where they will be pushed out of their comfort zones and have opportunity to put into practice what they have been learning in class. Weekly visits with host families will help you develop your language skills and allow you to build relationships while getting an even better idea of their culture and way of living. An opportunity that travelling on your own wouldn't offer.
The LD Academy essentially includes a one-week LD Build experience within our greater 13-week program. You and your group will spend a minimum of five days building (similar to a typical Build) for a local family or community group. This experience gives you the opportunity to work alongside local community members. Because you will be on the ground for an extended amount of time, you will have the opportunity to get more involved than our usual Build groups - this may or may not include a briefing of the selection process, preparing the land and cement pad for the building (house, school, community center, etc) or maybe even some follow-up.
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Sep 9, 2019 - Dec 8, 2019



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  • Administrator Photo
    Rose Friesen
    (866) 432 4464