• Morgan Schaening

8 Benefits of Traveling Internationally for Teachers

While traveling and teaching do not always take place in the same physical spaces, the adventure and lessons learned truly overlap.

Teaching involves bringing the topics and lessons from the pages of a book to a tangible and relatable plane for students to immerse themselves. With today’s distractions, teachers are challenged to find new and exciting ways to engage students. This is where travel quickly intersects to bring the classroom to the lessons, and the lessons to life.

Traveling provides teachers and students an opportunity to engage with a destination, culture, and communities that go beyond what can be taught through the pages of textbooks and walls of a school. Here are 8 ways travel can benefit teachers.

1. Travel to Learn

Traveling like a tourist allows you to see the typical sites and experience what the tour books deem to be key to experiencing a destination. However, there is so much more to truly experience when you can see a destination through the lens of a local. It’s simple enough to try the traditional foods, but rather learn how to cook the traditional food from a local. When you remove yourself from the tourist trodden streets and step onto the path traveled by the local grandmother, you can capture the breath of the destination.

Traveling is not simply about about ticking off the destination from your travel list, but rather absorbing what the essence of the destination and culture has to offer. Strike up a conversation with a local over a coffee. Sit down for a lunch surrounded by business people out on their lunch break. Discover the hidden gems that can only be found from the knowledge of a local who has been living there going back multiple generations.

These are the experiences and memories that you bring back with you and enrich your lives, both professionally and personally.

2. Self Reflection

For a teacher, every day brings a new challenge because a teacher is tasked with engaging dynamic minds that can’t simply be taught and treated the same across the full scope of a classroom. Beyond trying to peak curiosity, each student is also unpredictable. In order for a teacher to retain the passion and energy to constantly challenge their students, they need to find outlets of rejuvenation and excitement. They need to reconnect with their inner self and seek inspiration.

Only when you remove yourself from the daily rigmarole of life, the pressing school schedule, the constant ringing of the phone and never-ending deadlines, you give yourself a chance to turn inwards and find inspiration that helps you become a better teacher.

3. Enrich Your Students’ Lives

A teacher who travels extensively will pass on the love for travel to their students, as well as, share their experiences with them. This takes the teaching process beyond the walls of the classroom and adds a new dimension to the lives of the learners.

4. Travel Abroad With Students

Teachers traveling with their students internationally get immediate real-life feedback. They get a chance to observe the conduct of their students outside of the closed and safe environment of the classroom.

Through international experiential programs, teachers can provide their students with the opportunity to become acquainted with the native culture and language, learn and develop vital life-skills, and become responsible young adults. When a student can engage with native speakers through the daily challenges of finding directions, securing accommodation and meals, suddenly isn’t so daunting. This crucial interaction allows a teacher to then adapt their teaching styles and learning outcomes.

5. Travel to Break Stereotypes

A teacher needs to be open-minded and not impose their views on their learners. Instead, they should allow the learners to think independently and question the set patterns.

Traveling internationally quickly exposes teachers to different communities of people and different ways of life, which in turn helps them question stereotypes in their own lives and become more accommodating of the differences that exist in the world. By expanding an educator's perspective, the ultimate benefactor is the student.

6. Create Stories

One thing that traveling does is that each trip leaves you with beautiful stories to keep in your heart forever. It gives you a chance to create your own personal stories and memories, which makes you want to go back.

Teachers with personal stories and anecdotes to share will always have a connection with their learners – a bond that will aid the teaching-learning process.

7. Explore New Perspectives

For teachers, it is important to continue learning and gaining newer perspectives to prevent their thought process from stagnating over time. New teaching methods shouldn’t simply come through Professional Development hours, by through multiple continued educational experiences. By consistently challenging themselves and expanding their knowledge, teachers can make a real difference in the lives of their students.

8. Value Life

Teachers are engaged in the noble work of shaping the future of the world. They deserve to be happy and enjoy their lives too. While teaching can be selfless, it doesn’t mean teachers can’t find outlets to reward their hard work.

In order for a teacher to have the energy and focus to constantly engage and find the best in their students, a teacher needs to recharge and replenish with outlets of self-care.

Either as part of a school trip or on a personal level, teachers must travel to different parts of the world and bring back those places and experiences for their classrooms.

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