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.
Even as an adult, my mom always calls me before I leave for a trip to tell me how much she loves me and to always “Be Safe”. I am a mother myself, a teacher, and an experienced group leader with EF Tours and yet she still worries. It’s a worry that many of my student’s parents share. This letter is for all parents (including my own) on behalf of all of us travelers who long to explore the world through EF tours.
It may be daunting for you to imagine your son or daughter exploring another country without you by their side every step of the way. It certainly was for my parents when I announced I was studying abroad in Spain. As a mother now, I empathize with your concerns. However, these travel experiences are what make your children thrive, and teach valuable lessons that can’t be learned within the four walls of a classroom. Traveling outside the country allows students to see that there is more to life than what happens in their own community, it opens their eyes to endless possibilities.
You are probably worried about safety; this is completely normal. Please know that EF always puts safety first and pairs each group with an experienced Tour Director who is there from the moment your child clears customs to the moment it’s time for them to head back home. These Tour Directors undergo extensive training to make sure they’re equipped to manage any situation while on tour. In addition, they have direct access to EF offices both locally and globally for added support. You can rest assured that all of the kids are in capable hands while on tour.
You see, this generation of students is different. They’ve been offered so many more opportunities than the previous generations: going to college, earning a degree, internships, studying abroad, dream jobs. Traveling is an eye-opening experience that can help develop the skills required for students to achieve these dreams. Reading a textbook offers its own knowledge benefits but when paired with educational travel, by immersing students in the language and culture, the possibilities are endless.
While your child is away, they may miss home, but rest assured your student will grow as an individual and return home a more confident person after having an international travel experience. I know your job as a parent is to worry. You have worked so hard to raise your child that you want to do everything possible to keep them safe. This is why EF offers their great Global Travel Protection which was designed specifically with the EF Traveler in mind. This insurance provides protection for travelers should something unexpected happen before, en route to, or during the tour. As a parent, you can have peace of mind knowing your child is covered and protected.
I know you want to protect your child, but letting them go will allow them to discover both themselves and the world. You have done your job raising them to become a young adult and prepare them for real life. Now it is time to let them explore, so they can spread their wings and fly free. EF will take care of the rest.
Kay – Experienced Group Leader