There are so many ways that education takes place in a young person’s life. Informed by this understanding, the IB curriculum is all about providing a multifaceted approach to learning so that each student’s unique skills and passions have a prime opportunity to flourish. The chance to experience educational travel and benefit from an international cohort of students is an essential part of this.
The pandemic encouraged us to be creative in overcoming the movement limitations demanded by the moment. Still, it is with great enthusiasm that we embrace the ability to travel safely and confidently once again. We genuinely believe in the transformative capacity of leaving our daily routines to experience new surroundings. The lasting benefits of travel are plentiful, and we would like to dive deeper into how experiences on the road can broaden the mind of youth and provide the ideal circumstances for powerful moments of learning.
Educational travel cultivates confidence and tolerance
When our quotidian usual is disrupted, we suddenly find ourselves more open to trying new things and squeezing the most out of the unfamiliar in which we find ourselves. Travel encourages students to embrace uncertainty and is a wonderful way to build more tolerance, confidence, and openness to adventure. Travel allows young people to witness themselves taking on new roles, testing their skills in new situations, and reckoning with ways of doing things that may challenge their existing beliefs or assumptions.
Travel facilitates a more meaningful connection with nature
Regardless of where home is, the impact of one’s surroundings tends to be dulled within the parameters of everyday life. Travel provides an excellent opportunity to look with new eyes upon the majesty of nature and be reminded of how critical it is that we all work together to project with it.
Informed by the belief that identification with the natural world is essential to solving many of today’s most pressing issues, including climate change, air pollution, and global warming, we incorporate meaningful outdoor experiences into all of our trips. Every location in the world is home to a unique and fascinating ecosystem. Natural history and travel allow students to witness the beauty of mother nature firsthand, inspiring them to become more actively involved in her preservation.
Travel encourages problem-solving and independent thinking
The novelty of things that occur organically while traveling provides the impetus for the mind to adopt an intellectual strength that tends to lay dormant in the bubble of everyday life. When traveling, it is normal to make mistakes or missteps when navigating a new culture. This is all part of the adventure. Traveling promotes thinking on one’s feet and trusting oneself to make decisions when faced with the minor hardships or discomforts that arise. And each one of these little hiccups is part of what makes traveling such a potent tool for learning and expanding the mind.
Travel bolsters a diversity of perspectives that helps maintain positive mental health
The break that traveling provides has also been shown to affect mental health positively. Being exposed to the magic of a new and inspiring environment can have therapeutic effects that last long after the students have returned home. As we know from the student testimonials we received after our trips, young people are incredibly open to the restorative impacts of engaging with a new culture, spending time in nature, and meeting people from different walks of life.
Travel teaches empathy and compassion for the lives of other
From fellow travelers to local residents, meeting others while traveling allows a rare insight into someone else’s first-hand knowledge and culture. The shared challenge of being outside their comfort zones tends to forge close bonds for the student participants who come together on educational travel trips. Overcoming challenges together and sharing eye-opening experiences can turn a great trip into an unforgettable one. Moreover, these experiences can lead to enduring friendships that add value to your life for years.
Perhaps most importantly, traveling serves as a meaningful illustration that despite all the differences, we all share many commonalities. As such, it is a powerful antidote to inherent prejudices and beliefs and empowers young people to appreciate and understand other cultures on their own terms.