If you are a parent, you may have come across newsletters by your children from their school in relation to a travel opportunity in the name of education. Many thoughts have probably crossed your mind when you receive that letter but the most crucial one will be- does it really educate? This article seeks to find out if such trips overseas organized by schools are indeed what they claim to be.
Purpose of trips
First and foremost, what are the said purposes of such trips? Is it a trip to literature trip to London to learn more about the works of Shakespeare? Or is it a geography trip to New Zealand to study the formation of mountains and rivers? Do study the purpose of such a trip to discover how these trips will have an impact on your child. It is even better to obtain an itinerary from the school to better evaluate the potential learning points of the trip for your child.
Benefits of trips
First and foremost, the prices of such trips can easily deter any parent. Fortunately, educational trips would most probably be substantially subsidised by the school. Hence, the price that you will pay for the trip will be below the market rate for the itinerary proposed.
Such learning beyond the classroom can ignite passion in that particular subject in your child and in turn, better grades. Seeing first-hand how a meander of a river looks can reinforce the formation of it in geography. Viewing the city that Shakespeare was born in can help him or her to understand the reason and inspiration behind some of his works. Learning together with a teacher and his or her classmates can excite the class and provide a better environment when they are back in the classroom.
On top of the supposed educational benefits that this trip will bring to your child, it will also help in instilling values like responsibility and the building up of his social skills. Without parental supervision, your child will be inclined to think for himself/herself and for others around him/her and act accordingly. He/She will also suffer the benefits or consequences of their own actions. Such learning points can hardly be found in any other experiences that the school can provide.
Learning beyond the classroom of textbooks and stationery brings about more benefits than one can imagine. This is reiterated by Think Global School (TGS), an independent high school based in the United States that gives students the opportunity to study across exotic countries in the world over the course of three years. Each year, the school takes in only 14 students out of the 1,000 applicants due to the logistics associated with travelling. Students graduate with an International Baccalaureate diploma. Students and teachers travel to three countries a year as part of their curriculum, partnering with local schools to have classes in and beyond the classrooms.
A Singapore-based teen, Yuan Kelly enrolled in TGS has recently been featured on The Straits Times on her unique school. As part of her curriculum, she has visited Ecuador, tracked the Northern Lights in Sweden and even practised archery in Bhutan! However, these experiences do come with a hefty price tag, at US$79,000 (or SGD$107,000) a year. Nevertheless, to ensure the diversity of students, the school takes into account the student’s financial background and adjusts the school fees accordingly to what is ‘fair’. In addition, there is a grant and even scholarships that students can take advantage of. Yuan Kelly speaks of her experiences as broadening her horizons and creates feelings of empathy towards people who are living in the countries that she visits. Making friends in those countries also makes news with regards to them more relatable.