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.
For all those teachers who would categorize themselves as having a strong case of wanderlust, the chance to explore a new destination while simultaneously bringing your classroom to life sounds like the opportunity of a lifetime. However, even for the most experienced travelers, taking a group of students out of the country for the first time can feel daunting – especially if you don’t know what you expect. Sure, you may know what to expect when checking in at an airport, but what about when you have a group students behind you? Similarly, things like traveling from point A to point B, or checking in at a hotel looks different in a group versus individually. Luckily, this is exactly why EF offers to send all first time group leaders with six or more travelers on a training tour. They want to make sure you feel comfortable, confident and prepared to take your students abroad. While finding the time to take 4 or 5 days out of your busy life can feel hard, from one group leader to another, my advice would be to GO! Trust me when I say you won’t forget it.
Here are 4 reasons why you will find traveling on an EF training tour helpful.
1. You will gain confidence. Marcus Garvey once said “With confidence you have won before you have started.” In my opinion this couldn’t be more true when it comes to successfully taking a group of students on an international tour. Traveling on a training tour is exactly what you need to gain that confidence. It will help get you over any initial fears of traveling, while giving you the opportunity to practice going through all the motions before you have your group of students behind you.
2. You will learn travel tips and best practices from experienced group leaders and EF staff. There are typically two experienced group leaders on every training tour and numerous EF staff. My advice to you is to take advantage of your resources! Take advantage of their knowledge and expertise and use the time to ask any and all questions! This is your time to learn how to become the best group leader for your students and getting the chance to pick the brain of someone who was once in your shoes is priceless.
3. You will experience the student perspective. EF firmly believes that experiential learning is one of the best ways for students to learn, so why not go through the process yourself? A training tour allows you to wear two hats, that of a student traveler (so you are able to experience what a tour will be like for your students) and also that of a group leader so you have experience to fall back on when you talk with your group about what to expect and how to best prepare for departure. What’s even better? EF is accredited just like your school and can help you earn 25 hours of professional development by attending a training tour and completing all of the components.
4. You will make lasting connections. Traveling is about making connections. The more you travel, the more you realize how small the world it really is. Traveling with a group of like-minded professionals gives you the opportunity to build lasting connections and friendships with other group leaders and EF Staff who you can connect with throughout your journey as a group leader.
EF is offering you an opportunity of a lifetime by traveling on a training tour. Why not take advantage and learn as much as you can?
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