Virtual Expeditions & Explorations

Participants may submit Virtual Expeditions/Explorations through June 2021


Due to travel restrictions and safety concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, all participants will be able to submit Virtual Expeditions/Explorations with modified guidelines through June 30, 2021.

Each participant will be required to choose a country/location and pick activities from the guide below to explore the history, culture, and customs of the location they have chosen. If multiple countries or locations are chosen, participants will be given the option to compare and contrast the locations through their activities and research.

Submission Requirements

Bronze Certificate: 1 activity with a 1-page write-up
Silver Certificate: 2 activities with a 2-page write-up
Gold Certificate: 3 activities with a 3-page write-up
Bronze Medal: 4 activities with a 5-6-page write-up
Silver Medal: 5 activities with a 7-8-page write-up
Gold Medal: 6 activities with a 9-10-page write-up


Activity Guide

Virtual Museum Tours: Participate in a virtual tour of the museum(s) of your choice and discuss the history of some of your favorite pieces and how each influenced the history and culture of your chosen country.

National Park Tours: Embark on a virtual tour of a national park(s) and explore related topics (i.e. geology of the park, local flora/fauna, etc.) of your choice and discuss the geological make-up of the park, the wildlife, and how the park has changed over the years.

National/International Landmark Tours: Virtually visit a landmark and discuss its history as well as some facts that you learned from the tour.

Literary Art Review: Watch your favorite international film or read one of the classic books from your country. If you cannot find either a film or book, newspapers, articles, journals, and poetry are also acceptable. Provide a detailed write-up discussing the impact the film/book/scholarly work had on the country and how that literary work shaped thoughts and society during that time.

Documentary Review: Watch and review a documentary on a particular location and prepare a write-up discussing the movie.

Interview a Local: Take time to interview someone who lives in the country or works at the museum/landmark you are writing a report on. Your write-up should include details of the interview and what you learned from the discussion.

A Taste of the World: Prepare a favorite/new food that represents the location you are researching. Provide a detailed write-up on your preparation as well as the origins of the food or drink, if applicable. Many traditional foods have stories so be sure to include this in your write-up.

Architectural Review: Research and study buildings or structures from your chosen location and provide a detailed write-up on the influences, impacts, and history of the architecture. You may also compare and contrast architecture from different periods of time within your chosen location, or compare more than one location.


Write-Up Guidelines

If a participant chooses a Virtual Expedition/Exploration over a traditional Expedition/Exploration, the activity guide prompts and questions below will replace the questions on the standard Record Book Expedition/Exploration page. Each write-up should fully address the prompts from the activity guide as well as the questions below.

1) What interests you about the topic you chose to learn about? Do you have a personal connection to the place or culture that you studied? Was this somewhere that you were planning to travel in person before you had to change your plans and stay home, or somewhere that you might never have thought to go on your own?

2) Why did you choose the specific activities? If you chose to consume media (art, literature, film, etc.) what drew you to the form that you chose? If you chose something hands-on, was this a skill you already possessed, or were you starting from scratch?

3) Did you have a specific plan about how you were going to complete your activities? Please discuss the steps you took to complete your required activities. How did you do your research? Did you search the internet for films to watch, or call someone who might be able to share recipes? Please be detailed about your journey from the planning stages to the finished product.

4) Did your activities raise any new questions for you about your topic? If you were going to start your project over, what would you do differently? Did you miss any important details in your original plan? If someone wanted to follow your plan, would they be fully immersed in your topic?

5) If you were traveling to learn about your topic in person, how would your experience have been different? How would being in a museum to learn about your topic have been different than learning it at home? Would you have faced a significant language barrier? Did you learn more about a part of the world that is either hazardous or logistically difficult to reach? How would travelling in person have changed what kind of immersion you were willing to take on?

6) Did your activities open a topic you would like to explore more in the future? Do you feel motivated to engage with this topic in person in the future? How did your activities challenge any ideas you might have had coming into your topic? If you are not motivated to explore this topic more in the future, why is that?

7) What interesting facts did you learn about the history and culture of the location/destination you researched?

Write-Up Template

Use this template for your Virtual Expedition/Exploration write-up.

$25.00 Registration Fee Takes Effect January 1, 2020

The participant registration fee will increase from $15.00 USD to $25.00 USD for all new enrollees. This new policy will take effect on January 1, 2020.


Participants that have already registered are in no way affected by the fee increase. Those that register online prior to 12:00 a.m. ET on January 1, 2020 will continue to pay the one-time $15.00 USD registration fee.

The registration fee will be used to offset increased program and administrative costs associated with the day-to-day business of the organization – including new program materials and postage. As The Congressional Award is completely privately funded, the fee increase will help maintain the quality of the program from initial registration through the Gold Medal level for every youth.

As always, The Congressional Award Foundation strives to maintain a low cost for all young people participating in the program. The last change in the fee structure was in January 2011 when the registration fee increased from $10.00 USD to $15.00 USD per participant.

It is important to note that the registration fee is not designed to prohibit or deter new participants from enrolling in the program. Youth that need financial assistance should contact the National Office at (202) 226-0130 or information@congressionalaward.org.

People to People International Offers STEM Focused Iceland Trip to Congressional Award Participants

Washington, DC (December 10, 2019) — The Congressional Award Foundation and People to People International have partnered to send participants on the adventure of a lifetime next summer.

The Congressional Award Foundation has worked with partners like People to People International through the STEM Stars Initiative to make STEM more accessible to students. This effort has resulted in 84,103 hours of STEM activities among Congressional Award participants, and has doubled in participation in the last 12 months.

This student travel program is offered exclusively for youth who are registered for The Congressional Award and at least 16 years of age on the date of departure.

The trip will take place from July 28 – August 04, 2020 and will be anchored in the capital city of Reykjavik, visiting exciting destinations like the Fridheimar Greenhouse, Eyjafjallajökull volcano, Deildartunguhver thermal spring, Blue Lagoon, and whale and puffin watching along the Icelandic shore.

View the itinerary and book your trip through People to People International. Direct questions to Nicole Randall at (816) 531-4701 or nicolerandall@ptpi.org.

About The Congressional Award
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.

About People to People International
In 1956, the People to People International Foundation was created by President Dwight D. Eisenhower with a mission to enhance international understanding and friendship through educational, cultural, and humanitarian activities involving the exchange of ideas and experiences between people of diverse cultures. Learn more at www.ptpi.org.

# # #