Why international school trips are a must

International trips are an excellent opportunity for school children to gain exposure to new cultures and experiences, and these experiences can have a profound impact on their development. Nick Stone, Horizon’s Week Coordinator and Ashley Robbins, Vice Principal, both from GEMS Wellington Academy – Al Khail explain why getting students to venture outside of the country is a priority.

The world is becoming increasingly interconnected, and exposure to different cultures and languages has become more important than ever. International trips provide a unique opportunity for school children to gain this exposure and broaden their horizons. By experiencing new cultures, they learn to appreciate diversity, understand different viewpoints, and gain a broader perspective on the world around them. With over 100 nationalities in our school, overseas trips can help us celebrate being a truly international school and create lifelong bonds between pupils.

One of the most significant benefits of international trips is that they help students develop a sense of independence and self-reliance. Being away from home and their usual support systems forces them to become more self-sufficient and responsible, which can help them become more confident and self-assured. This can be particularly beneficial for children who may be shy or introverted, as it gives them a chance to come out of their shell and explore new things.

International trips are also the ideal time for students to develop their language skills. By being immersed in a foreign language, they can practice speaking and listening, which can help them become more proficient in that language. Putting their class-based knowledge into practice and in real-life situations can ignite a real spark for language development. This is critical in a world where multilingualism is becoming increasingly sought after skill, as it can help students become more competitive in the job market and open up more opportunities for them in the future.

Another significant benefit of international trips is that they can help students develop empathy and understanding for different cultures. By experiencing different ways of life, students can learn to appreciate the differences between people and cultures, and they can become more tolerant and accepting of others. Structured school trips that involve a cultural exchange and partnerships with other young people in the destination help students become more inclusive and compassionate.

A great deal of research has been done on the benefits of experiential learning – learning through experience and reflection. Students grasp concepts and context much easier when they can see how it pertains to them, how it connects in the real world and the impact something has on people. Subject such as history and geography, for example, come to life for young people as they literally walk in the places that were only in text books before. By visiting historical sites and landmarks, they can gain a deeper understanding of the events that have shaped the world we live in. This can be particularly impactful for students who may not have had the opportunity to travel before, as it can help them develop a sense of the world beyond their own community.

Finally, international school trips can be a lot of fun! Ask most adults that had these opportunities at school, if they still remember their foreign school trips and they’ll regale you with the stories. They provide students with the chance to experience new foods, music, and entertainment, and to create memories that will last a lifetime. These trips can be a highlight of their school years, and they can serve as a motivation to work hard and achieve their goals.

The pandemic years deprived us all from travel but it made us realise how vital a part of our education it is. When we travel we explore not only new places, but we discover ourselves.  As such, it is important for schools to consider offering international trips as part of their curriculum, and for parents to encourage their children to take advantage of these opportunities. By doing so, we can help our children become more well-rounded, empathetic, and true global citizens.


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