Linda & Ken
Mission Statement

What's Different About
International Horizons?

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Trip the Right One For You?

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Ken Ostrand in Ephesus In 1987, Ken Ostrand and Linda Klein Ostrand created International Horizons (IH). Together they had more than three decades in educating adult learners, through continuing education, overseas studies and international education programs. They combined Linda's 'real world' experience in running a variety of companies with Ken's academic credentials -- a doctorate in Ancient History and a former Fulbright scholar. Ken had also run a major university's overseas travel program (and has been asked by the Smithsonian program to lead trips for them). The result is extensive, practical experience in travel-related matters. Together, Linda and Ken combine the highest educational quality with a fair price.

"Educational travel programs like the Smithsonian's are wonderful," explains Linda, "but not everyone can afford them. We want to make truly educational programs for the traveler who really wants to learn something when they travel, and not subject them to commercial groups who use 'educational' titles without any real content substantiating it."

For more than a decade now, Ken and Linda have followed this basic philosophical plan.


International Horizons offers educationally oriented, moderately priced overseas trips for individuals and educational institutions who want to learn more on their overseas ventures than is commercially available. IH wants to excite and inform people about the world around us in an educational and fun way.

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Quality educational travel. Our trip leaders only do trips in the areas of the world they truly know. Our strengths are in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. We've been there before -- and amazingly, not all trip leaders with other companies can say that! Our leaders have intimate knowledge of the area, and the plans for each day's journey. Their experience allows them to give an almost 'local' viewpoint, suggesting certain restaurants or local shops for the first-time visitors. Our leaders also have solid academic credentials, along with a passion for their subject. This results in tours that are educational as well as fun.

Granted, our leaders don't know everything. But because of their training, they do know the difference between an educated guess and simply a made up answer that may not be accurate. When the guide has answers to everything, be nervous!

We speak English fluently. Many educational companies do not, and rely on foreign guides. This may or may not be good: do you know their credentials? their English language abilities? Many a trip is frustrating because you can not understand the guide's English.

Obviously, it costs more to bring our guides from the U.S., but you'll always know what you're getting for a leader.

We keep our group size small. Most companies will take as many participants as possible. That means any attempt at educational quality can be easily lost. We cap our groups at 26, period. We found that number to be small enough to bind cohesively yet large enough to be cost-effective for the traveler. One of our competitors brags, "Our trip size average is 14 people." However, they also take as few as two for 'guaranteed departure.' Travelers should realize 1) any company that can take just two people on a trip is overcharging tremendously; and 2) three trips with no participants and one with 56 works out to an 'average' group of 14!

We create our own itineraries. Most companies buy a travel package from an overseas provider, add their own administrative and marketing components, and there's the trip. At IH, we reverse the process. We set up our itinerary first. Then we go to the various providers and get the costs. The result is a unique, educationally sound venture. Sometimes it may cost a bit more, but we think it's worth the extra cost to visit the Cairo Museum twice, rather than see the 150,000 piece collection all at one time. Similarly, we feel it's worth the extra time and money to actually go inside the pyramids, rather than have a tired and bored local guide recite 'facts' from a mile away, while you're sitting on a bus. As the TV news often says, "It's your money."

Our hotels and meals are local. Of course, we have standard amenities, (all rooms have a bathroom and phone), but we prefer small hotels with local flavor, and we don't think "Italian Night" on an Egyptian cruise is anything special to brag about.

Our trips are textured. That means on an IH trip, we see some archaeological sites, some famous ones, some cultural ones all on the same trip. If you're looking for 'Birds of Western New Guinea' or 'Culinary Investigation of Sicily' then we're not for you. But if you want an in-depth investigation of the history, art, and modern living of a location, if you're really interested in learning about all of it, then we may be what you want!

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Dr. Ken Ostrand in Norway Before signing up for the next trip, consider the following points. IH works hard to maintain quality tours, and part of that effort is making certain that our trips are well suited to your interests. You do not need to have any particular level of education to enjoy an IH tour, just an active mind and curiosity about the world around us.

  1. Emphasis on education. Our group leaders are specialists in their respective fields and are enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge.

  2. Texture. Our tours teach history, culture and art while allowing you to experience the present. You'll experience all aspects of life in that particular country.

  3. Mood. We design our tours to allow enough time to let you enjoy the mood and flavor of each location.

  4. Lodgings. Our lodgings are carefully chosen to represent quaint, native charm. All have the necessary amenities, including private baths, but we do NOT stay in American-style hotels.

  5. Custom designed tours. Each trip is different from year to year. Our group leaders plan each trip to create a unique and informative experience. Through personal contacts we can often offer private visits to sites not seen by commercial tour groups.

  6. Group size. To maintain the quality of our tours, group size is limited to 26 people.

  7. Again and again. Over 50% of our customers become repeat travelers with IH.

If a tour with IH sounds like something you'd enjoy, please contact us for more information. We'd be happy to forward to you itineraries for future trips and answer any questions you may have.


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Would you like to know more about International Horizons or an IH trip?

Contact us and speak to a live person:

Mailing Address:
International Horizons
208 West Queen St.
Hillsborough, NC  27278
Telephone: (919) 241-4850