If you've never traveled with students, I get it...it seems hard, like work over your break, lots of coordinating, answering questions and worrying. I won't lie. It's all of those things. But what it is MORE is pleasure. Pleasure to explore other countries and cultures, to keep learning yourself, and to see the young people that you love turn into new people that you love even more.
LANGUAGE EXPOSURE: This is obvious. Your students will experience such amazing visually stimulating language experiences. It's how humans communicate. So, when we ask for Target Language tours, everyone gladly does it and the kids grow. Thanks to Nil, our amazing tour director, I have never heard chévere come out of more kids mouths as now.
(Nil sharing an impromptu geography lesson with the kids at the airport)
CULTURAL APPRECIATION: In fairness, we warned our students to be culturally sensitive. To see new things and not criticize, but to see them and wonder. For example, in Cusco, there are a lot of dogs in the street. Instead of making assumptions that peruanos don't care about animals, they asked questions. Are they stray? Not always...and they got real answers that demonstrate cultural nuances and perspectives.
(The kids were desperate to try cuy...we HAD to make it happen!)
"COLLEGE" EXPERIENCES: Our babies had to learn to budget, keep track of their stuff (MOST did that just fine), to "live" with roommates and to be away from home. This 11 day experience is a snippet of what college is like, but in a few years when they are doing all of those things, it won't be such a punch in the face. They will know what to do.
APPRECIATION FOR HARD MOMENTS: Is it easy to climb to a waterfall the day after climbing the ruins at Ollantaytambo? No. But was it worth it? HECK yes. That day may have been the last day that the kids complained because they knew, as our traveler Nicole G put it: "It might suck...but we know that there is so much fun waiting on the other side". *Heart melting*
(Chaperones get tired, too!)
NEW RELATIONSHIPS: Each of our eight tour groups have asked to always get to stay in the hotels with their friends. By the end of tour, the lines are so blurred that we can't even tell who was friends before and who wasn't. We're all just family.
(La familia! It's like I have 34 new children...Love these people!)
NEW CONFIDENCE: I have one particular group of cuties that were shy. Yes, they participated in class a lot, but they were very reliant on each other. Nonetheless, after they spent so many days with challenges: hiking down Machu Picchu, saving a dog, waking up for a 5:35am train, catching a boat to a bus to a plane, they are new people. They are confident. They are different...and it's beautiful.
RENEW YOU: Most people forget that YOU are on a trip, too. You will see and learn new things, have language challenges, be inspired, meet new people, spend time with people that you love and create new bonds that you would never have pictured. I'm currently reevaluating my life as I know it, and it's all because of what I saw and did in 11 days. Amazing. I'm sad to be back, but I'm also refreshed and ready to learn more, to travel again, to help other people, and so much more.
(Our traveler, Renee, was completely and totally changed by this experience, especially our stop at Cooperar Peru)
Are you thinking about traveling with your students? Connect with our tour company, EF Tours here or just reach out to us, and we can chat!
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