There are so many important facets to a well-rounded education, and I believe that travel experiences are a key component. It is so critical to provide students an opportunity to see history, culture, and science come off the pages of textbooks. In a 2013 article in the Huffington Post, Karen Rodriguez explains the many benefits of student travel: “You will learn so much more than you do from a textbook, or from a class lecture, or from taking test after test with minimal sleep. Through travel, you have the opportunity to see first-hand the things you’ve learned, to put into practice the skills you’ve acquired. You gain a global perspective and a strong independence that no other teaching method can impart.”
Over the course of my career, I have had several opportunities to take student groups on travel experiences. It is such a joy to watch student reactions to seeing the Lincoln Memorial or the Eiffel Tour for the first time. The awe and amazement that wanders over their faces is a priceless thing. Recently, I accompanied our 8th grade students on a trip to Gettysburg and Washington D.C. Students stood on the grounds of the battlefield in Pennsylvania as our guide told the story of those fatal days in our country’s history. I could almost see the students placing themselves in the midst of the conflict.
Another part of the trip took our students through our nation’s capitol. There is no greater lesson to be learned than how one plays a role in being a citizen of this great nation. Not only did we have the opportunity to learn about the history of the building and our nation but we also were able to see the people who worked in the capitol in action. These experiences bring the words of textbooks to life. It helps students to formulate a true picture and understanding of the concepts we present to them in class.
Arlington Cemetery was the last stop of our trip, and it was a phenomenal way to end the week. We were blessed to witness the changing of the guards – a high honor in our military. Students were naturally respectful of this time as well as so inquisitive about the details surrounding the purpose of the station for a soldier.
As your student goes through his/her middle school and high school years, I would highly encourage all families to make travel a priority. Impress upon your student the need to see the world outside of our city – even to experience the great history and culture of our great city. Going and doing make life more meaningful. God’s creativity and love for beauty is so evident throughout our world; let’s not see it just on a page in a book or on a screen.