Educational travel is exploring faraway cities, introducing your students to new cultures, and falling in love with drool-worthy foods. And that’s just the start. It’s also connecting with strangers who turn into support systems, and gaining the confidence to explore new horizons while broadening your own. Oh, and you can earn some more measurable professional benefits, like graduate-level credits and professional learning hours.
Yup, some things aren’t too good to be true. Just ask Rita, an assistant superintendent from Illinois who traveled to Berlin on a professional learning tour through EF Educational Tours. “We’ve connected with educators from across the country, learned the stories of students from all over the world, and now, the teachers and I can bring some really incredible changes and experiences back to our district because of the transformations that we experienced on this trip.”
Roll the credits
Educators who travel with EF develop skills that enhance their teaching practice and introduce a global mindset to their classrooms. Plus, they can earn up to six graduate-level credits through EF’s university partner, Southern New Hampshire University, and 45 professional learning hours or points through EF’s travel-based course (all while exploring new destinations).
These experiences include opportunities for educators to think critically about and dive deeper into their travel experiences. “For my own professional development, getting the opportunity to earn credit helped give me a framework for reflection,” says Jamie, an ELA instructor from Oregon. “Each day of my trip, I’ve been thinking about how everything comes back to my research, what I’m going to write about, and what to focus on in order to get those credits. It boosts me as a professional.” After the tour, educators combine their travel experience with their subject expertise to create engaging and meaningful lessons that bring the world into their classroom.
Meet your study buddies
If traveling with students is the entrée, a training tour is the appetizer—and it’s on the house. The best part? The chance to meet, travel with, and learn from fellow teachers along the way.
“An opportunity to travel with other educators allows you to bridge those gaps that I think we have traditionally seen in education,” says Spencer, a STEM teacher from Louisiana. “It helps us speak a common language as educators across different content areas, and we can use the experience to bolster what we’re doing in our own classrooms.”
Designed to help first-timers feel prepared and confident while leading their students, EF offers free international training tours to help teachers experience a tour before they lead one. Experienced Group Leaders (teachers who lead tours with EF) team up with EF staff to train new Group Leaders in a dreamy destination—think Barcelona, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Rome, and Beijing, for starters. Teachers learn what it takes to successfully lead students abroad, gaining useful tips, expert advice, and unforgettable memories along the way—and in the process, they can earn 25 professional learning hours or points, too.
Get support from your squad
From training tours, to professional development, to educational symposiums, teachers who travel with EF join a network of passionate and travel-obsessed educators who appreciate the benefits of a global education. (Think of it as the ultimate teachers’ lounge.)
“The most impactful moments happen when you add up all the individual humans and bring us together,” says Jamie, the ELA teacher from Oregon. “The chemistry we create, the conversations we have as professionals over dinner, and even going out to celebrate together just really helps us figure out how much we have in common with each other.”
Teachers can keep the good times (and the suitcases) rolling on EF’s professional development tours. Specially designed with teachers in mind, these tours allow educators to discover more about the world’s education systems alongside fellow educators in some pretty incredible places. They return to their classrooms refreshed, refocused, and sporting a new passport stamp.
Liz, a special education teacher from Illinois, did just that. “I am coming back [from my trip] with three different ideas of ways that I want to help our students. One that I know I can do, a second that I want to do in collaboration with another member of my district, and the third is something that’s kind of a dream project. I didn’t know what to expect from this, but I know what I’m taking away—and I think that’s very valuable.”
Bring it all home
In the process of giving your students a global perspective, you’ll bring a new mindset back to your classroom. And the professional growth that educational travel inspires can make teachers like Jen, a three-time EF traveler and educator from Vermont, a leader at their school. “Going into this experience, I feel like my purpose was different than what it is now,” says Jen. “My goal now is to empower my students to impact change within their school, within their community, and within the world.”