Why attend a traveling boarding school?From kindergarten all the way up through graduation, most students around the world receive all of their schooling in their hometown, unaware of the world around them. Increasingly, though, parents are bucking this trend by turning to travel as a means of providing their children with a global education. By attending a boarding school that travels to four different countries per year or setting off to sea aboard a gigantic cruise ship, these students are enjoying unique benefits that can’t be replicated in the standard high school classroom. Here are a few of them:
See the world in person, not in textbooksWhile traditional schools and their teachers rely on textbooks and the internet to provide students with a window to the world, traveling schools encourage their students to learn by venturing out into it. And whether participating in conservation activities in the Galápagos or anthropology projects in Athens, travel allows students to engage all five of their senses during each lesson. By rotating countries, traveling schools allow passionate faculty members to design and implement projects that are completely unique in scope, resulting in engaged and motivated learners. Traveling schools also often possess a diverse student base, representative of a broad range of countries, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. This diversity comes into play during projects and lectures, where students can draw on their own viewpoints and experiences to add another dimension to conversations. And, perhaps most importantly, by learning in multiple countries per year, students at traveling schools are exposed to more history, geography, and culture than many adults experience in a lifetime.
Practice new languages conversationallyThey say the best way to learn a new language is to practice, practice, practice, and students at traveling schools have ample opportunities to do just that. By living and learning in foreign countries, students can practice language learning in context by interacting with locals in their native tongue. So whether it’s ordering soft drinks in Spanish or crepes in Chinese, opportunities to become conversationally fluent abound for students who travel. This constant repetition of the basics also allows language teachers at traveling schools to spend more time working on intermediate and advanced skills rather than fixating on the foundational concepts.
Hear personal stories told firsthandAnother benefit of traveling schools is the ability for their students to engage firsthand with members of the local community. It’s not uncommon to enter a new country with a set of preconceived notions, but interacting with the people who call it home can provide valuable exposure to opposing sides of municipal and national issues. Teachers at traveling schools typically prepare their curriculum well before arriving in a new land, giving them ample time to craft compelling lesson plans that draw upon the works of local authors, artists, scientists and historians. In many instances, traveling schools can then invite these storytellers and changemakers to join their students and speak firsthand about their work and personal experiences. At THINK Global School, students have learned about conservation issues in Argentina by conversing with Guarani Indians and realized the scope of the Srebrenica massacre by hearing firsthand accounts from the Bosniaks who survived it. Hearing these personal narratives instills a sense of empathy in students, and inspires them to create change in the communities they visit.
Develop a unique set of core valuesBesides a sense of empathy, travel instills in young students a unique set of core values that will guide them through high school and beyond. Attending a traveling school encourages young students to get out of their comfort zone, whether by trying foreign foods or striking up a conversation with someone new on a crowded train. Life in a new country can also present unique challenges, teaching students how to persevere when things don’t exactly go as planned, be it a long flight delay or less than perfect housing conditions. Through it all, attending a traveling school teaches students the value of being self-aware, honest, and disciplined — vital characteristics for the leaders of tomorrow to possess.
And valuable life skills to bootMaking sense of a new city’s underground map can be an intimidating prospect for some teenagers, but for students at a traveling school, it’s just one of many life skills they learn during their educational journey. Students at traveling high schools are constantly learning the value of teamwork, time management, social and communication skills, stress management, and self reflection, all of which will benefit them tremendously in the professional world.
Enjoy an incredible variety of foodsFor young foodies, the best perk of life at a traveling school is easily the incredible variety of regional cuisine available in each new country they visit. The best school cafeteria food could never compare to authentic meals from a neighborhood hole in the wall, and young worldschoolers can test the limits of their palette through an array of exotic -and sometimes startling- dishes as they travel the world. And for parents who struggled to get their child to even try spinach or salmon before they left home, witnessing a newfound penchant for seaweed or ceviche can be startling in itself.
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