It's around 8 pm, but who knows for sure. We are circled around a campfire tucked behind a waterfall deep within the jungle- time barely exists here. This is another world, separate from the one filled with electricity and analog clocks. Time here is only noticed by the rising and sinking of the sun...and of course the occasional stomach growl when a meal time rolls around. One thing is for sure, the day is coming to a close and we are about to begin our nightly edition of the Beyond the Map ritual, "Our Favorite Part of the Day." One by one, the students reflect on the experiences from the day gone by. They venture into themes of "overcoming challenges," "forming new friendships," "fascinating discoveries," "unforgettable memories" and other subtle nuances that are now only visible once the excitement has subsided and the so-called dust has settled. I have always understood that travel has an incredible transformative ability, if appropriately sought. In fact I am a product of such experiences, and it is in these moments of listening to their reflections that I am reminded of just how impactful these opportunities can be.
Although my deepest emotional insights and periodic observations holdfast to this belief, as scientist by training, it is only proper to validate such ideas through hard and fast research- enter the Student and Youth Travel Association (SYTA). The SYTA recently released findings from a study which surveyed 1,432 U.S. teachers who credit international travel, in particular, with affecting students in a myriad of ways:
The take away- student travel can be critical to the development, both personally and academically, for our future generations. We see it in the data and we see it first hand on each and every trip. Share our infographic below to help us spread this message so that we can work to provide more meaningful travel experiences to students across the globe!
If you're interested in learning more check out our academic programs. Or contact us to begin your own adventure!