Senior Class Trips to Europe – Learning that Lasts.

Many senior classes look forward to their last school trip as a final chance to be together in a different environment before they say goodbye, perhaps for good. A trip to Europe is an exciting chance to experience history, language and culture in its context. It can bring education to life.Swedish royal guard in royal blue uniform

Supporting the School Curriculum

Very often a trip to Europe is a wonderful way to incorporate the curriculum while making subjects much more real to the students. The obvious subject of course is languages. Trips to countries in which the studied language is the mother tongue can help students to understand it in context as a living language with its own culture.

Teachers can help the students enjoy listening out for accents and dialects within the language, too, while students broaden their own vocabulary and understanding of the language.

Other subjects can also benefit from European class trips. Those who are studying art history might visit Italy to understand how painting techniques changed over the renaissance, how it fitted in with other revolutions such as those in architecture and the influence of the major families such as the Medicis.

These educational trips can be a good way, too, to help lessons learnt back home to sink in. Classes from the US who have been on high school trips to Washington DC may have visited the National Holocaust Museum for instance. Visiting the Bergen-Belsen exhibition in Germany, or the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam would be a sobering but valuable experience, making recent history very real for the students and bringing their experiences at the museum to life.

Enriching Experiences to Take With You

It’s said that travel broadens the mind. It is certainly true that class trips can be an enriching experience not only the class but the wider school. Senior class trips in Europe are a great way to give the students a chance to let their hair down after the exam period, affirm bonds that were forged many years ago and take memories of their school, teachers and especially their classmates with them into the next stage of their life.

Younger classes too, look forward to such trips as a reward for years of hard work and it’s an important way to foster positive feeling and school unity. While being away from home is scary for some students it’s a great boost to confidence having that little bit of independence, in a safe environment accompanied by teachers and fellow students. What a great introduction to life away from home!

Why Europe?

Europe is a popular destination for many reasons. For students from English speaking counties it’s a really great opportunity to experience a different culture without too many difficulties being understood! Even in non English speaking countries the level of language education is so good that the majority of people will speak passable English – but they will show their appreciation of visitors making an effort in the local language, which gives students a confidence boost as they learn and navigate the country.

A trip to Europe is an ideal way for students to really understand aspects of their education, experiencing languages and culture as alive and in context. The experience a senior class takes with them can help them to say goodbye to their old school life and welcome the next stage of their lives, fostering an understanding of subjects that will serve them well in the future, wherever it takes them.

Peter Smith writes regularly about educational travel, including senior class trips in Europe and high school trips to Washington DC for a range of blogs and websites. He went on such excursions in his own high school days and enjoys sharing the benefits with others.

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