One of my top life goals is to start a scholarship for students to travel. Being that you, dear reader, are likely a language teacher, and even more likely a Spanish teacher, I'm going to make an assumption that 95% percent of you have either studied abroad, lived abroad, or traveled abroad and you understand the unexplainable impact of experiencing a culture that is not your own. While teaching thematically with authentic resources brings provides the global learning that most of us never had as students, travel -- negotiating meaning in real conversation, feeling nervous in a new place, seeing, smelling, hearing, feeling, and tasting the culture -- is a whole different ball game.
I love traveling with my students. I love that they get to see us in our own element. I love that we get to see them in a more authentic way. But, what I love most are THOSE moments. Tears spring into my eyes and my nose gets all tingly just thinking about it. Moments like hearing our students gasp when they actually SEE Machu Picchu. Hearing that under-the-breath "well this is the most beautiful place that I've ever seen" when we come into the light at the Plaza de España. Watching them choke down a tiny squid in Barcelona because "you just try everything" according to one of my students. I could go on for days about the times that I've thought This is living on our trips. Travel has changed my life time and time again, and it's my number one addiction. It's when I'm my happiest, my most centered, my most fulfilled.
The hard part for us is that our tours are not supported by our school site or our district. We work fully with EF Tours and are private from our school's curriculum. That also means that when kids can't afford to go, they can't go. We can't fundraise at school or get donations to make it so each and every student can join us. Hopefully, someday, we will be able to start that scholarship so we can change that.
In that same vein, I was beyond thrilled to run across this amazing non-profit foundation that works with underserved schools. The Foundation for Learning and Youth Travel Education, or Flyte, was founded by a former teacher, known as Nomadic Matt. I have never met him, nor would my school qualify for a tour, but I couldn't let this one pass you by. Think about the many amazing ways you could qualify, if you have a student population that fits the requirements: they will see the world, participate in service, and align to global learning and interculturality goals. I can think of about 100 trips that I would design if I were to travel with Flyte.
So, in the meantime, while I'm waiting for my winning lottery numbers to start my own scholarship, I'll just head over to Flyte, and see what I can do to help each and every student take flight.
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