EA School Tours have been organising tailored school trips for more than ten years. What we've learned over the years working with school around the world is that international school trips can positively impact a student's entire learning experience.
Not only are international school trips fun, but they present students the opportunity to expand their tacit knowledge, gain higher-level learning and advance their problem-solving skills. Many teachers have reported students becoming more engaged in their studies after embarking on an international school trip.
While organising a trip for a group of students is no small feat, the overarching conclusion is that the benefits that arise far outweigh the time and effort put into organising it. Here are nine common benefits that arise from international school trips.
1. Improved critical thinking skills
Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally, understanding the logical connection between ideas. Critical thinking requires you to use your ability to reason. It is about being an active learner rather than a passive recipient of information.
One study found critical thinking is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after skills by employers and something that today's students will need in order to prosper in tomorrow's workplace. Most professionals including lawyers, analysts, accountants, doctors, engineers, reporters, and scientists rely on critical thinking to help them analyse information, systematically solve problems, generate innovative solutions, plan strategically and think creatively.
International school travel exposes students to real-life learning scenarios where they will have the chance to refine their own critical thinking skills.
2. Experiential learning takes place
While modern resources and new-age teaching styles are continuously improving learning in a classroom environment, advocates for experiential learning argue that when learning concepts are applied to real-life situations, they're more likely to stick. To prepare students adequately for life beyond study teachers should consider including memorable, real-life experiences such as an international school trip in the curriculum.
3. Expanded worldview
Worldview is a personal framework of beliefs, values, and attitudes which affect everything we perceive, think, feel, and do. An individual's worldview is shaped by societal norms and the experiences they have throughout their life.
Immersing students in a new culture will veritably expand their worldview. Away from the familiar comforts of home, exploring a new country may encourage students to look at perceived challenges in a more creative way.
4. Reinforce classroom material
Visiting museums and participating in learning workshops that expose students to real-world learning may help them to grasp difficult concepts more easily and reinforce classroom material. By enabling students to apply classroom material to real-world situations, they will understand the value in what they are learning now and how it will help them succeed in life beyond school.
5. Stronger teacher-student relationships
Getting to know your students on an international school trip is a great way to build a strong rapport with them. You will reap the benefits of this for the rest of the teaching year.
Students who have constructive relationships with their teachers are more likely to do well at school, and teachers who actively build such relationships have a substantial effect on the lives of their students.
6. Build confidence
For many students, an international school trip may be their first time overseas without an immediate family member or close friend.
By helping students step outside their comfort zone and try new things – big or small – they will challenge their own beliefs of who they are and what they're capable of doing. When a student experiences a boost of confidence, it may also help raise their self-esteem as they view themselves in a more positive light.
7. Increased motivation in the classroom
International school trips give students the opportunity to participate in learning workshops at organisations like NASA and Stanford University. Opening your students to a world of possibilities previously perceived as unavailable to them is one of the best ways to increase their motivation in the classroom. When students realise they can materialise their dream of becoming a scientist at NASA or a designer for Apple, they are likely to be more focused at school.
8. All students benefit
As all teachers know, the purpose of it is to prepare students for life, and each student has a unique learning style. Some students are intrapersonal learners, while others flourish in social environments.
International school travel gives students the chance to experience different styles of learning and see a new side to their subject of study. When they can understand the concepts, they have learnt about in books being applied in a real-world situation, they often return to the classroom with a deeper connection and greater motivation.
9. Lifelong memories
You and your students will create lifelong memories from the experiences and opportunities that take place on your international school trip. A trip may inspire your students to revisit a country in the future or propel them into a study and career path they hadn't previously thought of.