Ask anyone who returned from a study trip abroad and they will most likely tell you about the profound impact it has had on his or her life.
This article outlines how to make world travel—and expanding student horizons—a highlight of your school. Read on to learn about service providers, tips on creating a successful program, and how to fund student travel abroad.
There is no question that learning about the world through the school curriculum is essential to building students’ international knowledge and an appreciation for the complexities of the world. But there is no better way to extend that knowledge, to make it real, than through experiences outside the classroom. Foreign travel, for a week, a semester, or even longer, can have a significant impact on a teacher or student’s life. It allows one to deepen their knowledge of another culture and test their second language skills in real-life situations.
Whether for a week of living in a home and attending school classes or a summer, semester, or year-long foreign exchange program, living abroad can be a memorable and life-altering experience. Students who travel have greater knowledge and interest in learning about other countries, bring back new perspectives about and appreciation for their own country, and have increased intercultural awareness, tolerance, and confidence in dealing with other people.
Find a reputable travel service provider
There are many travel programs available to individual students. The Council for Standards in International Educational Travel maintains lists of travel programs that are meaningful and safe. Sign-up for Asia Society’s monthly newsletter, which often features free or subsidized travel opportunities for teachers and students.
Develop a school culture that supports world travel
The educational and social benefits of successful travel abroad experiences are compelling, but success requires real attention and careful preparation.
How to fund international travel
A successful travel program should ensure access for all students. Costs include passport and visa applications, airline tickets, museum admissions, miscellaneous meals, and hiring a substitute if trip takes place during the school year. Funds for such a program can come from a wide range of sources. Once the students who will participate have been identified, help them to set up a calendar of fund-raising activities that benefit them as a group.
Do you have experience setting up an international travel program in your school? What advice do you have for others? Please share on the comment board below.