It’s The Journey…Not The Destination.
Authentic immersion abroad can be a life-changing experience but it’s only part of the educational journey.
This is an exciting time of the year at No Barriers Youth. We have schools, trip leaders, and students all over the world experiencing unique food, music, and culture while investigating pressing global issues that impact people and societies across the globe.
The excitement and adventure surrounding the in-country educational travel is always the highlight of any program abroad. However, for students this is only half of an experience that may impact their future career path and overall direction in life.
The challenge for No Barriers Youth and our partner schools and educators is to maximize the experience and provide a post-trip experience that encourages deep reflection and provides students with the tools necessary to investigate and take action on the themes and issues they experienced abroad. It’s all too easy to return home inspired, but exhausted by the rigors of travel, get absorbed back into the daily grind, and forget to re-engage with students and provide the opportunity for students to discuss what they saw and how their world view has changed.
At No Barriers Youth we support and encourage educators and students to participate in Global Impact Projects to take action on a specific issue or theme they studied abroad. This can come in the form of a community outreach effort, a fundraising project, or the creation of a new social entrepreneurship organization. These student-led initiatives can lead to powerful change for entire student bodies, local communities, and our fellow global citizens.
While time, inspiration, or any number of limitations may prevent students from participating in a Global Impact Project, here are a few things educators can do to help students reflect, process, and grow as individuals from their time abroad.
- Ideally, within 3 to 5 days upon your return home reconvene as a group to share stories, celebrate the adventure, but most importantly, to encourage students to reflect on how the experience changed their world view and what obstacles they overcame in the process. There are a whole host reflection and journaling questions you can present to get students talking and sharing.
- Including everyone in the group, design a multimedia presentation students can share with the school and via social media. Encourage students to abandon the itinerary-style slideshow but rather highlight how the trip affected them, the people they met, the environment they traveled through, and how they are different now that they have returned home.
- Have school or community resources on-hand that students can access to continue their journey. From language classes, to educational outreach initiatives, to community development programs, there are always a number of ways students can engage in the issues they experienced abroad, all while making the world a better place in the process.
For more information on group reflection activities or Global Impact Projects don’t hesitate to contact us via email or at (970) 482-3188.March 30, 2016