Educator Exchange & Social Impact Leadership


Program Dates: January - April 2024 (this program has been postponed)
Open to: Teachers, educators, and innovators of all levels with a background in education and an interest in social innovation and impact in their community!
Location: Hong Kong & San Francisco Bay Area, with visits to Stanford University and UC Berkeley

The Educator Exchange & Social Impact Leadership (EESIL) initiative is a cross-cultural experiential program facilitated by VIA Programs in partnership with Dalton School Hong Kong.

Designed for teachers and educators of all levels, EESIL is an opportunity to learn and connect with educators and social impact leaders from across Hong Kong and the San Francisco Bay Area. Be immersed in a community of educators focused on social impact!


This program has bene postponed

Educators and innovators will engage online and in-person in Hong Kong and the San Francisco Bay Area to explore social issues and innovations in the context of education, gain hands-on experience with innovation tools and mindsets, visit schools and social impact organizations, hear from experts and leaders in education innovation, and network with international peers.

Click to download: 2024 VIA-DSHK EESIL Brochure.PDF (sample itinerary included)

 Key Learning Objectives: Explore approaches to social impact curriculum development from diverse perspectives; Deepen understanding of social issues and how they relate to the UN SDG (Sustainable Development Goals); Enhance  intercultural communication, collaboration, and presentation skills; Develop skills in design-thinking, growth mindset, and leadership through hands-on workshops; Build a global network of educators to collaborate and share social impact project resources

To view information in the following sections, click on the title or the (+) symbol in the right corner to open the dropdown.

Program Costs (estimated)

$4,000 USD* program participation fee includes:

  • All in-person and online workshops, site visits, and guest speakers in Hong Kong and San Francisco
  • Costs also included for the 7-day Educator Exchange in San Francisco:
    • hotel accommodation
    • local transportation
    • breakfasts, arrival lunch, and farewell dinner
    • 24-hour on-site staff support

*Early Bird Rate: $3,600 USD for participants who apply by the early bird deadline (October 31).

Additional costs not included in the program fee:

  • International airfare to San Francisco from Asia (approx. $2,000 USD)
  • ESTA/Visa application fees ($21 – $185 USD)
  • Travel insurance (approx. $25 USD)
  • Most lunches and dinners (approx. $300 USD)
  • Optional activities (approx. $200 USD)
  • Personal shopping expenses ($100+ USD)

COVID-Related Expenses

Participants will be responsible for any medical testing, care, or additional travel costs associated with COVID infection and treatment, including, but not limited to, the cost of modifying, extending, or cancelling any lodging or transportation arrangements before, during, or after the program.

Program Participation Fee Payment & Cancellation Policies

Invoice & Payment Deadline

If accepted to the program, you will receive an invoice from VIA’s finance department with instructions to complete the payment within approximately one week of confirming your participation. Full payment is due 30 days from the invoice issue date. If your invoice is issued 30 days or less before the program start date, full payment is due when you receive the invoice.

Participant Cancellation

VIA will return 50% of the program fee if your cancellation is confirmed at least 30 days before the program start date. If you cancel less than 30 days before the program, we are unable to refund your program fee. Partial refunds will be considered in extenuating circumstances.

Program Modification or Cancellation

VIA may convert the program to a virtual format at any time prior to the program start dates if travel and in-person activities are not possible due to natural disasters, including pandemics. If the program is converted to a virtual format, VIA will return the amount of the in-person program fee paid that exceeds the virtual program fee of $900.

If you choose to not participate in the virtual program, the participant cancellation policy will apply to the virtual program fee amount. If the program is cancelled entirely and a virtual participation option is not offered, you will receive a full refund.

Perspectives from Past VIA Educator Exchange Program Participants

“It was great opportunity for me to trigger to extend my scope toward social innovation from innovations of technology, business, service, etc. My view to social innovation is a kind of extension from such the innovations, whose benefits may be limited to persons concerned to them, toward activities which may contribute to create and/or develop social capital.”

– Satoshi Kabasawa, North American Center for Academic Initiatives Osaka University

“I got many hints and knowledge for my work during this program.”

– Mai Okada, Rikkyo University


Terumasa Matsuyuki, Osaka University

Application Period (all dates in US Time)

  • September 1 — Applications Open
  • Early Bird Deadline ($400 fee reduction for participants who apply by this deadline)
    • October 31 — Application Deadline
    • November 6-10 — Interviews on Zoom (15-20 min)
    • By November 10 — Applicants Notified of Results
    • By November 17 — Commitment Deadline – program fee invoices issued upon commitment; payment due 30 days from invoice receipt.
  • Final Deadline
    • November 30 — Application Deadline
    • December 4-8 — Interviews on Zoom (15-20 min)
    • By December 8 — Applicants Notified of Results
    • By December 15 — Commitment Deadline – program fee invoices issued upon commitment; payment due 30 days from invoice receipt.

Sample Program Timeline (all dates in local time)

  • Hong Kong
    • Workshop 1: Program Introducation at Dalton School (1 day)
  • San Francisco Bay Area
    • Educator Exchange (8 days, including arrival and departure)
  • Online
    • Periodic check-ins and mini-workshops throughout the program (weekly / bi-weekly over 2 months)
  • Hong Kong
    • Monthly site visits throughout the program (2-3 days)
    • Workshop 2: Program Conclusion & Celebration (1 day)

Click to download: 2024 VIA-DSHK EESIL Brochure.PDF (sample itinerary included)

Minimum Participation Requirements

In order to be eligible to participate in this program, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age at the beginning of the program.
  • Be eligible to receive travel authorization to enter and remain in the United States for the duration of the program.
  • Be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at the time of departure, including boosters (proof of vaccination and recent negative COVID test result may be required for entry to the US and/or re-entry to your home country).
  • Disclose any life-threatening or significant allergies, dietary restrictions, medical conditions or illnesses, and physical limitations as they relate to the program and listed activities.
  • Obtain overseas travel medical insurance and provide proof of insurance coverage to VIA prior to arriving for on-site program activities.
  • Be committed to attending all activities, both before and during the program, and participating fully.

Application Details

To see if this program is a good match, we want to get to know you, your interests, experiences, and motivation for joining the program. The application includes 3 sections, to be completed in English:

  1. Personal & Contact Information – Share some basic information about yourself and your preferred contact details
  2. Professional Information – Share about background and professional experience
  3. Program Interests & Goals – Share your story and interest in joining this program:
    • What are your goals for participating in this professional exchange program?
    • What do you hope to contribute to this exchange?
    • Do you have any additional comments or questions you would like to share with us?
  4. Interview: The final step will be a 15-20 minute Zoom interview with the Program Director. If your application passes the initial screening, you will receive an invitation to sign up for an interview time after the application deadline.