Learning Abroad: International Travel and Your Curriculum

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to eat sushi in Japan, or celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Mexico? Maybe you’ve thought about traveling to other countries to provide aid to impoverished locals, learn invaluable career skills, or experience unique natural landscapes. Whatever the reason, international travel affords a singular educational experience that cannot be matched in a classroom.

Teachers and students should consider supplementing their curriculum with studying abroad. Watching an Italian film at the Palazzo del Cinema at the Venice Film Festival in Italy makes more of a profound impression than watching the same film in a classroom on native soil. Traveling abroad gives you a better sense of a country that cannot be fully grasped just by reading from a textbook.

Imagine learning about the French revolution, and then getting the opportunity to visit the Bastille, to walk in the footsteps of the women who marched on Versailles. You would certainly have more empathy for the challenges the French populace faced in their struggle for equal rights, and potentially gain a deep appreciation for the monumental leaps the country has made to become a world leader in humanities. International travel is about experience, which is the greatest form of education. Studying abroad is an invitation to engage with the world around you, to try unfamiliar foods, to speak new languages, and navigate remarkable places. To learn through studying abroad is to make memories and participate in cultural exchange that will allow students and teachers to take a piece of another country with them when they return home.

Several studies have noted the benefits of studying abroad for young people. In addition to boosting self-confidence, openness, and maturity, learning in another culture reportedly increases the likelihood of a student’s employability after college. Recruiters are aware of the interpersonal advantages students gain through international travel. Additionally, a majority of participants report increased job satisfaction thanks to their time overseas.

To travel abroad is to learn about yourself, other cultures, and what it means to be a successful human being. It is an essential component of a proper higher education curriculum.

About the Author:

Dana Silverman credits her passion for travel to Girl Scouts, which provided her with amazing opportunities to attend summer camps throughout the United States during her childhood.  She’s lived in Australia and New Zealand, and she’s planning a trip to Japan around her appreciation for the country’s cuisine and temples.