The Big Pond Story

Too often we see that study abroad can be transactional or even voyeuristic. Host communities can be excluded from the learning process and our planet a secondary priority. Home universities, teachers and administrators can be left out of the loop and student learning outcomes not clearly articulated.

Big Pond Education is on a mission to change that.

Local engagement

We believe the key to unlocking a transformative experience is through programs intentionally designed with a focus on meaningful local engagement.

Planet and people

We are committed to the benefits of mobility on our students and wider society, but we are committed to the benefits of green mobility even more. We started out with the firm resolve of decarbonizing our environmental impact, and all our students benefit from complementary climate literacy training.


We partner with colleges & universities who share this ethos. Our programs make a real difference to those wishing to gain an edge in a rapidly changing landscape. They reinvigorate the reputation of what international learning should be.


We offer partners a commitment that we will always look to develop their students’ human potential through face to face experiences, and their academic potential through outstanding courses. To our host communities we offer a commitment that our programs will make a positive, long-term contribution at a grassroots level.

Education abroad vs study abroad

We talk a lot about ‘education abroad’ as opposed to ‘study abroad’ because of the comprehensive academic and personal benefits of an overseas experience. We also talk a lot about the power of ‘intentionally designed’ experiences, including fair pricing to give our partners scope to expand access.

Mark Blakemore

Mark Blakemore

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co-foundeR | Chief Partnerships Officer

“When we set out to establish an education abroad organization fit for the twenty-first century, we wanted to put advancing a sense of planet and community at the center of it. Everything else developed from there.  We are keenly aware of the challenges the world and the next generation face.

Environmental and economic justice can’t come without social justice. So, all our programming models, how we work internally, with our university friends and local internship partners all start from the point of wanting to cultivate human connections. It’s the surest path to ensure our students and wider society are best set for the future.”

Karl Dowling

Karl Dowling

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CO-FOUNDER | Chief Operating Officer

“While we may sometimes talk like it is, education abroad isn’t rocket science. It’s about listening.

Understanding the challenges faced by our partners, students, colleagues and local communities is the key to unlocking truly meaningful, transformative education abroad.

We’re not looking to re-write the script of international education completely, we’re looking to improve it. Intentionally designing our programs in a manner that helps our students grow and partners flourish, while at the same time bringing real long-lasting benefit to our planet and community is what Big Pond is all about.”

Do you share our ethos and want to partner with an organization who can set you apart?
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