Living in countries geographically smaller and surrounded by different countries with different languages, history, religions, and societal norms allows European teens the benefits of both learning and applying their foreign language lessons, understanding humanity on a deeper level, and forming well-rounded opinions about society, politics, history, education, and all other aspects of culture.
With this in mind, we explore how education travel to Europe is beneficial for American high school teenagers for the aforementioned reasons and beyond.
Applying Foreign Language Skills
Most American high school students are required to learn a foreign language before graduating. Many will learn Spanish, depending on where they reside in the country, while others will learn French if living near the Canadian border. However, there are many foreign languages that are taught in schools that students don’t have the opportunity to apply in real world situations such as German, Italian, and Russian. A trip to a foreign country where these languages are spoken in day to day life provides the opportunity to practice and truly appreciate the language they learned while in an American classroom.
Expanding Their Horizons
Education travel is also important for American teens in order for them to form a well-rounded view of the world, the country and towns in which they live, and to build up more tolerance of different people and cultures. Many teens never leave their hometown during their childhood. Traveling around the country and around the world would give them a more diverse life experience, changing the way that they think and view the world in addition to opening new opportunities for them later in life.
Inspiring Historical Education
History is commonly a subject considered boring and unimportant by many American teenagers. However, many students have yet to enjoy a truly rich historical education as they learn most of their history from textbooks in a classroom. They have no experience. Education travel gives students the historical experience of actually seeing, smelling and touching the places where important events occurred and inspiring people stood. How much more profound of a lesson would the Holocaust be if a student traveled to Germany and visited a real concentration camp? How would that shape their view of history and politics for the future of their own country?
Additionally, if your family can trace its roots back to various European countries, a visit to the country, city and/or village your family left in pursuit of the promise of a better life in America would be some of the best kind of education travel a teen could experience. Knowing and appreciating where you come from and what you have because of those who came before you is a vital lesson for every person, young and old.