Since 2007, I have organized and traveled abroad with public/private school students as young as 9 yo, through college age. We have hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, hidden in the jungle at dawn to observe rare birds and transported over 100 gently-used backpacks to rural students in Peru, who sometimes walk up to 2 hours each way to school. We have camped in the Sacred Valley of the Incas and slept in the homes of Aymara descendents on Amantani Island.
Always escorted by trusted local guides, we have explored destinations in South America that few travelers see on TV, let alone real life. Our next adventure takes us to the wilderness of the Amazon jungle where we will rub elbows with scientists studying the habitats of wild parrots and local medicinal plants. One of our stops will be at an indigenous school for girls who would otherwise not have any educational options.
Educational travel is an investment that parents sometimes overlook when considering options for their children. But the effect of these experiences prepare students to discover more about our planet, as well as themselves, including their sense of compassion, their confidence, their appreciation for diversity and confront their knowledge of issues facing the world. What can parents do to contribute to their child's global awareness?
- Get a passport – parents & children must go together and this is one way to inspire interest and awareness in global communities.
- Talk to your child about art, history and unique events that may interest them.
- Explore geography together. Maps can be found online and in libraries.
- Start a travel fund. Offer incentives for your child to save towards his/her future travel expenses.
- Consider traveling together. The bond that grows between you will strengthen with shared experiences.
- Host a foreign exchange student – short and long term hosting opportunities are available in most cities and schools. Public schools have strict limits on the number of foreign exchange students they can accommodate, but private schools can be more flexible. Your child does not have to attend a private school in order to host a child for that school. (contact me if interested in hosting – firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Collect backpacks with your child (new or gently used, no wheels) and soccer balls (with air pumps & pins) to be donated to rural students in Peru. Donations can be dropped during school hours 8 am - 4 pm, M-F at Virginia Beach Friends School, 1537 Laskin Rd, VB 23451 757-428-7534 ext. 400
Opportunities to raise your child's global competence are available in your community. You just have to look under the rocks!
Check out these upcoming Events with an International Focus!
April 1, 2012: ODU's 4th Annual International Festival at Ted Constant Convocation Center 4320 Hampton Blvd, Norfolk VA 23529
April 21, 2012: 2012 International Children's Festival at Mill Point Park, 100 Eaton Street, Hampton VA 23669
April 28, 2012: Parade of Nations in Downtown Norfolk, VA