Educational tours, are, meant to be educational. If they were meant to be tourism based, they would be called Tourism Tours.
In a world where students are very likely to be visiting the Eiffel tower with their parents at some point, it may seem redundant to repeat that experience with their classmates. In addition, parents have expressly stated that they are less likely to fund an educational tour that they could do less expensively and with the whole family. Can you blame them?
We're not hating on the Eiffel tower, to be clear. It's an awesome structure with great history. But the stark line between tourism and education is one to carefully lay out for other trip leaders, students, and of course, parents. The reality is that parents view "education" in a different light than tourism, and are more willing to invest in unique, curricular driven and enriching experiences that set their students up for life. Much like sports, education is an investment in their student's life trajectory and their are many ways to make your educational tour relevant to education.
So, we're going to share with you our 4 Steps in making educational tours great again:
#1 - Plan 12 Months in Advance
It's going to take time to do it right, and make this experience unique to your curriculum and students. Don't rush it! Getting out ahead of the game will allow for more flexible payment plan options for your students' parents, as well more potential logistical routes to consider. Planes, trains, and automobiles take time to arrange and arrange well. Make sure you give your travel provider ample time to be effective for you.
#2 - Listen to Your Students
A few days ago, we just got done recording our first podcast episode of the Trip Leader podcast series, and it was on "Engaging Students in the Trip Planning Process" (which will debut on January 1st). David Lynn, Director of International Studies at Charlotte Country Day School, went into detail about this process and explained how important it was in the success of programs. Learning what your students are interested in, or what your market is interested in, is half of battle. After all, the student registrations are what is going to enable any experience to actually happen--you need to get the numbers. You may find that your students' interests are very different than your hypothesis for them. Perhaps instead of Spain, they're really interested in Environmental Science in Costa Rica. Their passion will help guide you along to the next step!
#3 - Pick a Provider to Make it Happen
Find a company that understands that every group is different--and customize it to your needs. Period. Learn more about our process in How It Works. Start with a frame, and go from there!
#4 - Insert the World into the Classroom
Remember, it's most likely your students that you're marketing this experience to. You get to teach them most of the year until they have opportunity to experientially see, feel, and touch it abroad. This is a prime opportunity to make sure that you are incorporating classroom elements here and there that prepare students for the place they are traveling to. For example, if you are planning to travel to Martinique in the Winter and your students are particularly interested in French history, it may behoove you to spend some time going over Napoleon's wife Josephine, whom was born there. This will not only prepare your students to make things more relevant abroad, but will allow you to subliminally insert a few plugs here and there so when the time comes for marketing, you have less work to do.
We hope you've enjoyed this article and if you have any questions for us, you may contact us or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!