Balancing the benefits of overseas educational visits with the cost, EVOLVE Advice’s Jake Wiid outlines why school trips abroad are so important.
From language immersion to historical and cultural experiences, the benefits of overseas educational visits are numerous and far-reaching. They give children and young people opportunities to explore new cultures, broaden their horizons and gain a deeper understanding of the world.
As young people and their families weigh up the value of overseas educational visits vs the cost, it can help to explain clearly the cultural, educational and social benefits of these once-in-a-lifetime experiences:
When children and young people travel to a foreign country, they have the chance to experience a different way of life first-hand. They can immerse themselves in the local customs, traditions and language, enabling them to understand the culture better.
They learn to appreciate diverse perspectives and develop cultural sensitivity by interacting with local people, fostering an open-mindedness that will serve them well in an increasingly multicultural world.
Travelling to a foreign country, especially for an extended period, pushes pupils out of their comfort zones.
Immersion is widely recognised as one of the most effective ways to learn a new language. Being surrounded by native speakers allows pupils to practise their language skills in real-life situations, improving their proficiency and fluency.
By communicating in the local language, they develop confidence in their language abilities and gain valuable insights into the nuances and subtleties of the language. These communication skills can be invaluable in their future careers and personal lives.
Visiting different countries exposes children and young people to new historical, political, and social contexts. They can witness how different societies tackle global challenges like climate change, poverty, and cultural preservation.
This helps to develop a broader world-view, enabling them to think critically, analyse complex issues and appreciate the interconnectedness of global affairs. A global perspective fosters empathy and understanding, empowering students to become informed global citizens capable of making positive contributions to society.
They can immerse themselves in the local customs, traditions and language, enabling them to understand the culture better.
Personal growth and self-discovery
Travelling to a foreign country, especially for an extended period, pushes pupils out of their comfort zones. They learn to navigate unfamiliar environments, adapt to new situations and solve problems independently. This helps to build resilience and self-confidence, which are essential for personal and professional success. They also have the chance to discover new interests as they are exposed to new cultural experiences, helping to shape their identities and explore potential career paths.
As with all educational visits, overseas trips complement classroom learning. These hands-on experiences give children and young people a deeper understanding of their academic subjects.
For example, history students can visit historical sites and museums, science students can participate in scientific experiments or research projects, and art students can explore renowned galleries and exhibitions. These practical experiences bring the curriculum to life, making learning more engaging, memorable, and meaningful.
There are of course some considerations when planning overseas visits. The OEAP National Guidance (oeapng.info) has produced 7.1r Overseas Guidance and 3.3g Checklist – Overseas Visits, which will help with your planning.
EVOLVE Advice is a service which supports schools in planning and delivering educational visits. For more information visit www.evolveadvice.co.uk