Student Travel Changes Lives

What do these four have in common: student travel, Puerto Rico, Minecraft, and Hurricane Maria? Meet Cory and you’ll instantly be able to connect these four. Eight years ago, one high school Spanish trip to Puerto Rico changed Cory Scheviak’s life. Consequently, this experience transformed the lives of many in Puerto Rico.

In the icy and frigid temperatures of Sweden, Cory Scheviak innovates and expands his online tropical world in the popular game of Minecraft. Cory works full time at Mojang’s Swedish headquarters. The game company hired him given his terrific skills in java, but mostly because of “Tropicraft.”  Minecraft is the most sold video game of all time (176 million copies sold!!!), and Corey is one of a handful of people designing the features for it.

Tropicraft is one of the longest-running mods of Minecraft. It’s a dimension-adding mod full of palm trees, native islanders, iguanas, tribes, clear blue oceans, volcanoes, etc. Tropicraft was inspired by a trip he took to Puerto Rico in 2011. That year, a group of students from Leesville Road H.S. in North Carolina visited the island on a 7-day tour. While there, they met locals daily, hiked forest trails in Utuado and Rio Grande, danced salsa, walked through old city cobbled stone streets, learned fascinating legends, and ate local food everywhere they went.

Inspired upon returning home, he created Tropicraft as a restful paradise escape. The mod became quite popular. Since then, he’s returned to Puerto Rico on numerous occasions. After hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, Cory helped raise funds to support the rebuilding efforts. He created a simple fundraiser within the Minecraft community called Love Tropics.

The original goal was to raise $3,000. However, over the first weekend, Cory and his community raised $10,000 within his online world. “Love Tropics” became an incredible tool to bring people together and make a difference. After their fundraiser, Cory and his friend Matt visited Puerto Rico and witnessed the destruction and serious needs left by the hurricane. They saw many houses with blue tarp-roofs still destroyed. It was then when Cory and Matt came to a realization. “We immediately knew that Love Tropics was not a one time thing, it was something we could use to continue to give back because there were people that needed it,” explained Cory.

Since the first Love Tropics fundraiser, Cory and his community have raised over $35,000 as they continue to help the island. Most of their efforts benefit Team Rubicon, a veteran-led disaster response organization within the online world. This team is on the grounds in Puerto Rico helping communities rebuild. Team Rubicon has completed over 400 roofs since 2018 and their progress continues to grow today. The future of Love Tropics will focus on combating climate change and helping the residents of the island cope with the effects of climate change.

Recently, Minecraft posted a Youtube video introducing Cory and his inspiring story. The video reached 160,000 views in just the first month. At Vamonos, our motto is “student travel changes lives.” This particular high school Spanish trip in 2011 positively affected many Puerto Rican lives. Vamonos is honored to partner with Cory in all of his recovery efforts on behalf of Puerto Rico. We continue to support his efforts and look forward to welcoming him again in June of 2019. Gracias Cory!

To Learn More:

For more information about Tropicraft and how to donate to Love Tropics visit: or @welovetropics on Twitter.

For the full story about Cory, visit: