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Is Travel the best Education?

Oftentimes we wonder if travel can make us better humans. Humans who are open to understanding and assimilating diverse cultures, religions, ideas and way of life. Merging travel and experiential learning is essential to our work at TribesforGOOD. Here are a few reasons why this approach works.

1. Learning by doing

Consider the response of a child who has just burnt their finger on a hot stove. They are likely to steer clear of similar situations in the future. Experiential learning banks on a cyclical process of feedback, reflection and application of newly acquired knowledge to new scenarios, to strengthen knowledge and retention.

Since information is reinforced when it can be contextualized, immersion in a practical learning environment supplements the tacit knowledge acquired from the classroom. Evidence has established that student travel and out-of-classroom participation not only creates a more holistic learning experience, they are also significantly more effective than traditional forms of education.

2. Exposure to new cultures fosters tolerance

In a survey conducted by the Student & Youth Travel Association, 79% of teachers cited enhanced cultural awareness as their primary reason for organizing international travel trips for students. Interacting with people from diverse backgrounds, and being exposed to those in disparate living conditions is not only humbling, but also increases tolerance and respectfulness for difference.

A recent study surveying 7,200 respondents around the world revealed a positive link between travel and openness. This is further corroborated by a series of studies finding robust correlation between foreign travel and generalized trust.

3. Grow the skills that matter the most to you

No single tour is alike. That’s because everyone will embrace different takeaways. In order to maximize personal development, educational tours are designed to cater to the specific learning objective of the group or individual. Experiences can be tailored and adapted to the unique goals of the course.

Last year, Professor from one of the International Universities, accompanied by a team of students to Mumbai to explore sustainable livelihood for Indian women. Beyond all the usual benefits of international travel, for this class, “visiting Mumbai created vivid memories for students, and they are likely to retain those memories for the rest of their lives.”

4. Cultivate adaptability and spark creativity

Being faced with unfamiliar situations is one of most effective ways to learn, as it provides significant opportunities to exercise adaptability. According to Adam Galinsky, a Columbia Business School professor, “foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought, the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms.” A study by Galinsky and his colleagues suggested that multicultural learning was a critical element for enhancing creativity when living abroad.

5. Gain a sense of fulfilment

As people encounter genuine opportunities to apply their abilities, they become more inspired to take action. On an experiential learning tour, participants witness the social impact and relevance of the work being done first-hand. Consequently, positive feelings of curiosity, independence and motivation are cultivated.

On a university-organized trip to study Hawaiian culture, Matthew Johnston, a University of Toronto student majoring in anthropology, says the experience helped to confirm his interests and plans to return to the island to pursue his PhD research.

Robert Austin is an associate professor at the University of Toronto who has taken students on nearly 20 trips over the last ten years to places like Kosovo, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Montenegro and Albania. From the teacher’s perspective, Austin notes how integrating travel “builds practical learning and confidence” for his students.

Gain an insight into the buzzing and growing social enterprise scene in India ~ Social Enterprise Educational Tour

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TribesforGOOD develops the potential of individuals as changemakers, through our culturally immersive, educational and impactful experiences in India.

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