The Benefits of Travelling as an Educational Tool for Youth and Adults Alike
Having been an American high school student on international tours myself, I am living proof that gaining insight into other cultures at the youngest age possible is beneficial not only to bolster the educational thought process through first hand experience but also for the development of the self. The teenage years are the exact time when we are most disposed to assimilating what we learn, see, believe in and thus become. At this age more than any other, travelling in another country becomes more a part of our identity than at a later age when we are more easily prone to looking at another culture as through a window, detached and less affected. For a teenager, just a few days abroad becomes a pivotal point in their upbringing where life’s window becomes a looking glass that they will define and redefine throughout their lives.
On a concrete level, many young Americans on ACIS tours are prime candidates for college. To have already had an educational-based experience abroad will firstly help them access the most desirable schools. More importantly, once admitted, they will be able to better understand and partake in the multi-culturalism that is demanded at the top American schools from social settings to theory and research. Having already had first-hand participation in the reality of difference gives them a 4-5 year jump on the average college student who doesn’t have an educational experience abroad until their Jr. year. Without even the extra effort, they have become a part of and internalised the international experience. Whether they study anything from Art to Zoology, their internal foundation of the Amero-European relationship offers them an advantageous perspective from which to work.
Lastly, and of utter importance to the U.S. and to the world, we are all dependant on this generation to become knowledgeable and worldly, to break the growing stereotype of the ignorant and intolerant American. Being directly exposed to different cultures, histories and politics does not offer merely a theoretical educational experience but the true internalisation of education by lending insight into their own culture, history and politics. Each impressionable young mind abroad is offered greater knowledge of other societies by actively participating in one and thus it becomes part of their own experience to understand and better their own society. An educational tour is a tool that manifests the hope of modernity; to become a living liaison between cultures, within one’s own borders and cross-nationally.