Way for Knowledge: Educational Tours

Justin N. Froyd - Oct 26, 2009
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What is an educational tour?

Educational travel is an opportunity for teachers and community leaders to use the world as their classroom. As group leaders, educators lead their students abroad on tours that range in duration from a few days to several weeks. During that time, students can experience many of the things they have read about in textbooks or learned to say in language classes, placing classroom lessons into a real world context.

Who travels on an educational tour?

Typically, educational tours are led by teachers who want to engage their students by taking learning outside the classroom. Group leaders are often high school teachers who teach foreign languages, social studies, art, English and science courses. But anyone who wants to enrich young people’s lives can lead such a tour. Student travelers are typically in high school but can also be in middle school or college. Anyone who wants to learn about the world by experiencing it firsthand can find a place on an educational tour.

What are the benefits for teachers who take students on a tour?

For teachers, the biggest benefit is that they are changing their students’ lives. Many teachers credit their experiences on tour with making them better teachers, and travel can benefit schools as a whole as well. Students who travel often return more confident with a new understanding of the world around them, and their experiences help promote cultural understanding among students and teachers.

What are the benefits for students who go on a tour?

In addition to the life-changing benefits of seeing the world, students who travel on an educational tour can earn credit by completing coursework associated with some of the tours. As more and more colleges expect students to have had international experiences, educational travel enhances students’ college applications and prepares them for a more international higher education experience. Many students have also credited traveling on an educational tour with inspiring them to study abroad and even influencing their career direction.

What are “experiential learning opportunities?”

Experiential learning opportunities allow students to learn by experience, a style of learning which we’ve found leaves a lasting impression on travelers. Examples include:

  • Rome: Pizza-making – students learn how to make a classic Italian favorite from expert chefs!
  • Madrid: Flamenco or Fado lessons – students learn the age-old art of the Fado song or the rhythmic steps of flamenco.
  • London: Globe Theatre Workshop – students practice dramatic art by reciting the works of Shakespeare and learning about stagecraft.
  • China: Cultural immersion – students get a glimpse of Chinese culture by visiting a local family for dinner, visiting a school and learning about traditional and modern Chinese medicine with a visit to a local hospital.
  • Africa: Young Rangers activities – students partake in hands-on activities designed to give them a feel for what life is like in the wilderness.

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