Mandy Amanda Team Building for Entrepreneurs | Get organized, grow your team | Enjoy Success
Team Building for Entrepreneurs | Get organized, grow your team | Enjoy Success

Travel abroad should be a requirement

A few years ago (2010 to be exact) I had the opportunity to go on an international trip with a group of high school students.  That trip changed the way I travel and set in place my desire to sponsor students to travel internationally.


Oh man, for a bunch of reasons.

First let me introduce you to the crew:

Those pictures are of 55 super amazing people – a good mix of students, staff and parents – who traveled from little ole’ Midwest Cincinnati, Ohio USA to Rome for 6 days of exploration and education over spring break.

Now you should know this was no “typical” spring break trip and was CERTAINLY not a group of “silver spoon” students.  The kids came from a WIDE variety of backgrounds, some worked and saved for four years to be able to go.

And the trip wasn’t a party – yes it was spring break, but these kids worked hard.  Before the trip they prepared and presented on what they would see in Italy.  When we arrived they each had a part of the tour that they were responsible for.  When they returned they recounted the trip.

Oh yeah, and they were graded.

But that’s not why I think kids should travel – seeing Rome wasn’t the biggest part of the trip for most.

What made it life changing was leaving home to go someplace where they were outsiders.

Now – I know I know – Rome?  I mean really – how much can you learn on a supervised trip to a country and city that is all about foreigners and travel?

Let me tell you – You can learn a lot.

After the trip the kids shared what they were surprised they had to learn:

  • navigating an airport (some had never been on a plane)
  • navigating an INTERNATIONAL airport (where the signs are anything but English)
  • What to do when your suitcase breaks
  • How to overcome a language barrier when you are shopping
  • Buying lunch when you have no idea what the menu says or what some of the food is
  • How to use a map because #yourphoneisnotinternational
  • Explore as much as you can in under 90 minutes (the regular time allotted for “on your own” meals)
  • Budgeting your limited cash
  • Improvising when you run out of money
  • Haggling for goods with street vendors
  • Respect for things you do not understand

And that was just the highlights.

They were all changed when they came home.  They certainly were far more aware of how much bigger the world really was.

Both of my children were fortunate enough to take this trip with their classes.  I was blessed to witness it both times.

They trip had such a big impact on them that they saved and traveled to Europe together last summer.  Twelve days, four major cities in four different countries.  Alone.

They are so much more aware, now, of their part in the bigger world.  They have friends and connections in places I never would have dreamed.  They are comfortable away from home and happy to come back.

So many of our children are so caught up in their own worlds that they forget that there is a bigger world out there.  The “global” information system we have gives them a glimpse into other cultures but NO idea what it is like to be on your own someplace where you don’t even speak the language.

They all should be encouraged to travel. To Explore.

To grow.


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