Student travel moments, unpacked

On friendship, confidence, and ketchup. (Yep, we said ketchup.)

Sponsored By EF Tours

Travel isn’t just about checking cities off a bucket list. It’s about riding in an airplane, being away from home, meeting new people, and standing by the ocean. It’s also about the little stuff. Like creating inside jokes, learning a new dance move, and trying weird (but delicious) new foods. These are the experiences that make a trip unforgettable—especially when you’re a middle-schooler traveling with a group of students from your school.

Sure, there were actual ‘things” that Hailey and Canaan, both 13, and Josue, age 12, took back from their EF Explore America trip to California . They might’ve picked up a magnet for their parents’ fridge back home, or a postcard or two from their favorite cities. But more importantly, even at such young ages, they recognized that travel gave them each a slew of irreplaceable, intangible takeaways that they’ll carry with them throughout their lives.

Don’t just take our word for it, though. Hear their middle-school wisdom straight from the source in our “Tour thoughts” series:

Travel takeaway #1: Newfound independence

“I got to ask for my own ketchup.” –Hailey C.

Travel takeaway #2: Strengthened friendships

“I got closer to so many people… It’s kinda cool!” –Canaan E.

Travel takeaway #3: Inspired confidence

“I feel really proud of myself.” –Josue P.