Travel as Education

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Travel as Education

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A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way ~ Mark Twain

As a teacher, I can’t help but love this quote. My job is teaching the American children of our military stationed overseas. The kids are used to moving around the US, but they may not have ever lived in another country. You should see the difference living in another culture, using travel as education, makes on each and everyone one of these children. My students, all the students in the school, become acutely aware of cultural differences between our two countries. Everything from food to language, from how and where to shop to being able to order a meal, becomes a challenge.

The students, along with their families, have learned to listen, to problem solve, and to take in clues to just accomplish routine tasks. For example, I took a class to the bakery where we learned how much education and training it takes to become a baker in Germany. Even today, many of the local people go to the bakery daily to get their bread, and it is a respected profession. In the States, we don’t know our bakers at all. Each student ordered something, sometimes in German, and paid for it in Euros. It was such a fun day and a great educational lesson.

It also always impresses me to talk to those kids whose parents take them on trips around the area. Not only do they come back amazed by things like the Eiffel Tower or a Rhine Castle, but they can tell you about the person, the object, some of the history. It brings it alive for them. It’s real, not just something you’ve seen on a movie or read in a book.

I love that they can tell you all the countries surrounding Germany, and tick off where they’ve been and where they still need to go. I tell them about my trips, which are usually a little further afield than theirs, and invariably I’m asked if I can take them along. The fact that these kids, all ages, have already engendered a love for the world, a love for travel is really heartwarming.

It might be a little daring, perhaps even dangerous, to carry a cat by the tail. It’s daunting, a little scary at the very least. I think many folks feel that way about travel, especially with the horrific incidents that do happen splashed all over the media, but after trying it out I think most of those would agree, it’s well worth it! (Please don’t try carrying a cat by the tail!)


Travel as Education



















































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About the Author

Corinne Vail is a world traveler, writer, photographer, speaker, and teacher. Looking for the quirky and unusual as well as the best food around the world, she has traveled all her life. She’s lived in Turkey, England, Germany, Japan, South Korea, and the Netherlands and visited over 90 countries with her family. Learn more about Corinne and Reflections Enroute on the About page.

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  1. I so completely agree. That is exactly why I took my girls around the world as part of our family home education plan. So glad you are a part of it. You really are making a difference in the world.

  2. I love that you’re inspiring a love of travel in these kids Corinne. I can’t get in to the back end of my site at the moment, the gremlins have attacked so I haven’t added a badge to my post but as soon as I can I’ll add it.

  3. You are doing a great job, Corinne. It must be great working with these kids and help them get acquainted with their new environment. I’m sure they will grow up being more acceptant of other people and cultures. However, it must be difficult for them to leave behind all the know and love and adapt to a new world.

  4. I love the analogy. As a former teacher, parents would often worry about taking their children out of school to travel. My philosophy and that of the school, was that they would learn just as much on the road as they would in a classroom

  5. It must be great to be able to interact with kids who are so interested in the world at such a young age. I am even more surprised when you say they can talk about the history of a place and about historic figures. I am sure they will remember that more than what they learn in certain classrooms.

    I like your anecdote about going to a bakery. My husband is a baker and his profession may not be the more respected but I can assure you he is very popular. When people try his bread and baked goods, they totally melt.

    1. Ruth, I think like teaching, we should appreciate all jobs! The students here are great and I agree they will remember these places since they went there.

  6. I really like the above quote and the idea behind this post.Traveling can be a great opportunity for kids to learn many things about world and different culture.That also give the opportunity to learn how to adjust with new environment.

  7. Your quote made me smile though I couldn’t imagine a cat allowing that to happen.
    I like how you’ve used it to capture the theme of your post. Travel is a fabulous opportunity to learn about others but more than anything, I learn even more about myself.

  8. Totally agree.
    I feel I have learned so much more through travel than I ever learned in the class room.
    No I am passing this onto my child, I find then we go out and explore whether it be overseas or here at home he remembers the stories so much more and continues to ask questions about that little bit of history or culture.

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