Kay is a Middle School Spanish World Cultures Teacher. She first traveled with EF to Costa Rica in 2009 and has been leading student groups every Summer since. Kay believes that students should experience travel to help broaden their perspectives and allow them to see firsthand how tolerant, global and open-minded we should all strive to become.
As a Group Leader, taking an EF tour is a magical experience in its own way. The details are planned out in advance – you just have to show up and enjoy everything! As a first time tour participant, you’ll learn far more than you ever expected. Here are some of the things I learned on my first EF tour.
- Travel Light: You won’t need as much as you may think. Believe it or not, you can travel for 10+ days with just your carry-on luggage. In fact, you should. Packing too much will slow you down when all you want to do is speed up! The golden rule of packing: less is more.
- Friendly People are Never Too Far Away: There are nice people everywhere, even where you least expect it! Take this chance to get to know locals and make connections. It’s fun to meet new people – you may even make some friends along the way.
- Sometimes Things Go Wrong: Not everything always goes as planned – it’s a fact of life. Flights get delayed and adjustments have to be made. If this happens the most important thing to remember is to stay positive. How you frame an event can have a dramatic impact on your experience, as well as your group’s. Everything will works out in the end and you’ll have an unforgettable story to tell for the rest of your life!
- More Than Food – Memories: Food is an integral part of the travel experience. It’s where memories are made. Whether you’re eating pasta in Italy, or crepes in France, experiencing new foods with your group can be a bonding experience.
- Excitement is Contagious: Watching others experience new things, especially your students, can be the most enticing part of a trip. Excitement and awe last longer when shared. It’s also fun to get different perspectives of the experience.
- Wanderlust is real. Traveling is completely addicting and you’ll want to do it over and over again. Before you come back, you will start planning your next trip! Soon enough, you’ll think to yourself, “Oh I’ll just have come back one day!”
Whether you are a student, parent, chaperone, or a Group Leader like me, you will never forget your first EF tour and all of the amazing things you learned and experienced while traveling with others.