Are you looking for a private school that offers international travel experiences? Immersive and transformative, traveling to other countries in high school provides students with rich opportunities to engage, explore interests, and enjoy the adventure of a lifetime. Not only do students acquire real-world skills, travel makes academics come alive through direct connections to the culture, cuisine, history, languages, and the environment in various destinations.
In this article, learn more about the ways high school students can become global citizens through travel experiences. Also, discover the various types of travel experiences available to teenagers through various educational programs.
If you are not currently attending a private school, keep in mind that boarding schools, in particular, are in a unique position to offer international trips to high school students. Boarding schools typically use spring holiday periods for high school travel experiences and they have the ability to adjust scheduling as needed. They often partner with top notch tour agencies like EF Tours to customize travel experiences aligned with the school’s curriculum, extracurriculars, service learning, leadership programs, and other campus initiatives.
If your private school does not offer international trips, there are still a number of ways to travel in high school. Check out the various types of programs below and even consider applying to one of the private schools mentioned.
Before you begin to explore travel options, consider the reasons why international travel could make a difference for you in high school.
5 Reasons Why High School Students Should Travel
- Curriculum Connections – Is there a subject that really interests you? Some international trips integrate or focus on specific academic subjects such as: English, math, science, social science, languages other than English (LOTE), and the social sciences. In addition, travel sometimes ties in with electives or clubs (e.g. business, economics, hotel management, agriculture, aviation, art, music, creative writing, theater).
- Arts and Culture – Most international travel for teens includes some excursions to places of cultural interest. For example, you might go to art museums, theatrical performances, concerts, enjoy cuisine, visit historical sites, and interact with the people to learn about their customs and traditions.
- Service Learning – If you are interested in service learning, then perhaps you are looking for high school travel experiences that will have a positive impact on the people or environment in a given country. In some cases, this can fulfill community service requirements at your school, but most importantly, you will have an impact on the country you are visiting.
- Leadership and Management – Traveling requires a number of logistics including time management, decision-making, and sound judgment calls. While traveling, make sure you are respectful of differences, share perspectives, and demonstrate gratitude. It also entails leadership, resilience, and adaptability.
- Language Immersion – One of the wonders of traveling is you can put your language skills to the test as you practice conversing with people in Spanish, French, German, Chinese (Mandarin), or other languages. Watch your accent and make your best effort as most people will appreciate your efforts to speak in their language.
International Travel Experiences Offered by Private Schools
International travel at private schools can take many shapes and forms. If travel is a high priority for you in high school, consider exploring the world of boarding schools.
There are many boarding schools, including JROTC military academies, where they offer trips during holiday breaks. In addition, there are also traveling boarding schools, where you travel and study on a ship or by going to various destinations.
One of the big benefits of attending a boarding school in high school is the chance to live independently in a new city or state, as well as make friends with students from around the world. Boarding schools are known for a high level of diversity and international enrollment can be anywhere from 10-35% of the student body.
International students at boarding schools typically come from almost every continent (except Antarctica!). Make friends with other teenagers from Asia, Africa, South America, North America, Europe, and Australia! You will have fun interacting with students from different cultures, sharing a dorm perhaps, and maybe even enjoy trips home with them.
Boarding Schools Offering Travel Experiences:
Here are some of the boarding schools offering rich experiences in a variety of different countries:
- Berkwick Academy, Maine – In recent years, international trips have included Thailand, India, and Spain. “Berwick is committed to offering authentic travel experiences that are connected to curriculum, service learning, or extra-curricular initiatives.”
- Army and Navy Academy, California – This college prep private school for boys has a strong focus on leadership and character development. Their hands-on and interactive approach to learning has been integrated into travel experiences to places including: Spain, France, Italy, and the Galapagos Islands.
Traveling Boarding Schools:
If you are interested in traveling the entire time you are attending school, explore traveling boarding schools. Here are a couple to check out.
- Think Global School – “THINK Global School is the world’s first traveling high school. Attendees between the ages of 15-18 gain an education by living in four different countries…”
- A+ World Academy – A + World Academy is a high school and gap year program that sails to 20 cities in 14 countries on 4 different continents on the world’s oldest fully rigged tall ship, the Norwegian Sørlandet.
Additional Ways to Travel in High School
Beyond the ideas mentioned thus far, consider some other ways you can incorporate travel into your life while you’re attending high school:
- International Stays with Friends – As mentioned previously, if you attend a boarding school, you will gain exposure to students from across the United States and around the globe. This means you might even have an international roommate or even be asked to join his/her family at their home during a holiday or summer break. Offer the same in return!
- Foreign Exchange Programs – Perhaps you are the kind of person who would actually like to live with a host family for a summer or the full academic year. Youth for Understanding (YFU) and other programs connect you to a host family, where you will live, study, and experience a new country and a whole new way of life.
- Service and Faith-Based Travel Experiences – If you have a strong interest in service, ask your private school about community service projects overseas or check with your place of worship and other interest groups. Faith-based groups often do work overseas as part of their mission to assist others, everything from feeding the hungry to construction projects.
- Summer Travel with Family – Help your family detail the itinerary for a trip abroad this summer or during a holiday break. Give some thoughts to your areas of interest, then map out airfares, hotels, restaurants, and points of interests for your family vacation.
- Summer Travel Programs for High School Students – There are a number of ways to register for high school tour adventures, service learning travel, and other programs. For example, the Smithsonian has a number of dynamic programs where individuals can enroll. There are also programs shown below to support schools.
Student Travel Programs for Private Schools
Teacher, administrator or student? If you are interested in sharing information with your private school or want to check out the travel program they use, here are some popular companies that organize travel experiences for high schools..
- EF Tours – “EF helps teachers change their students’ lives through educational travel. And frankly, EF does student travel better than anyone else. Our secret sauce? A time-tested blend of product innovation, global expertise, and superhuman support. When students travel on EF tours, they expand their knowledge of the world around them, discover more about themselves, grow more confident and independent, and understand new people, places, and cultures. And when educators lead these tours, they grow in countless ways, bringing back a new perspective to their own classroom.”
- ETA Adventures – “From the dynamic team that makes up our staff, to our talented and dedicated Tour Managers, the ETA Family is a tight-knit group of people with far-reaching connections working together to create one-of-a-kind educational programs. We know how important a successful trip is to you. Your group has high expectations and you want them to walk away with a smile, a sense of fulfillment and reward. Let the experts do the planning for you! One of our knowledgeable Tour Consultants that specializes in your destination will work with you from your first call until the day of departure.”
- EDU Trips – “Our experienced, dedicated team is here to help you create the perfect experience for your group. From Performance Arts and Short Term Study Abroad, to Service Learning, Language Immersion and more, groups of any size and purpose will receive the same level of personal and highly detailed service EDU Trips is known for. Your program manager will be with you every step of the way to ensure a successful, memorable, one of a kind experience for your next trip.”
- Global Leadership Adventures – “Life-changing travel cultivates a global perspective and open-mindedness. The goal? For our student travelers to be inspired to become great leaders and global thinkers who seek positive change in their own communities, GLA incorporates community service, immersive learning and adventure into every one of our programs as a method of lending a strong sense of purpose to student travel. Serve the community through meaningful volunteer efforts. Learn about culture, language, history or a special area of focus. Explore sites of significance along with adventure excursions.”
Higher Education Travel Experiences
If you are thinking beyond high school, give some thought to student travel programs through your college or university or even consider internships with organizations.
- University or College Sponsored Trips – As part of the University Honors Program, University of California campuses offer students a chance to study, work or volunteer abroad. In addition, many U.S. colleges and universities offer various international trips or student travel programs.
- American Foreign Service – The AFS site will help you find internships either at AFSA or in foreign affairs. Sidenote: If you are from a diplomatic family and you are searching for private high school with leadership training, then consider a military boarding school.
- Semester at Sea – The Semester at Sea program offers experiences to study, while visiting various international destinations. It will provide you an extended journey to provide a global perspective and offer robust academics through hands-on and field experiences.
- Warnborough Worldwide – Warnborough college offers a range of courses including: university pathways, language programs, summer camps, vocational qualifications and even corporate training.
Traveling in high school, as you can see, is both Immersive and transformative. Explore the world and enjoy opportunities to pursue your passions and go on the adventure of a lifetime.
Not only will you acquire real-world skills, your academics will come alive through direct connections to the culture, cuisine, history, languages, and the environment. It will transform your life and make you a global citizen; you will become a deeper thinker and become more culturally aware.