When I was in high school our ‘big trip’ was a 5 day bus tour from our school in the Waikato to Wellington and back. I remember an abundance of worksheets on everything from the fruit industry to art deco architecture. Our excursions included a visit to an abbatoir (not too much of an eye-opener for a group of kids from a rural town), a tour of the Beehive, a visit to a university and, for a bit of relaxation, an afternoon at a waterpark. We stayed in a variety of accomodation including campground dorm rooms and a motel in Wellington. It was a big deal. And we all fundraised for months beforehand.
School trips go further afield
My one island road trip several decades ago seems to pale in comparison to the school trips that a lot of high schools are undertaking now. Many schools offer an educational trip to an overseas destination. A quick check of my teenager’s current school curriculum reveals just a handful of NZ field trips, with the most expensive being a $400 5 day trip to the Central Plateau. I do know however that they have undertaken a Commerce course trip to New York in the past for seniors and there are bi-annual trips to Pacific nations for language courses.
However, another local high school last year organised a three week educational trip to Europe costing $7,000 per person! That sort of price tag is bound to exclude some students with families simply not being able to afford such an expense without a monumental amount of fundraising (and no doubt with other financial priorities). Greece recently banned overseas education trips for high school students to protect disadvanted children from not being able to join their peers. Dutch schools are restricting travel to terrorist-hit countries for safety reasons.
Recent comments in the media from parents are that students who are not able to take part in the trip (or who choose not to) are diverted to other activities but often miss out on exceptional education opportunities. They also commented that sometimes schools give very little notice of an upcoming trip, allowing little time to fundraise.
Overseas trips for primary school kids?
Overseas travel for high school students is not necessarily that unique, but there is a growing trend for even primary schools to embark on educational trips that take them overseas. Several Australian primary schools have taken kids on trips to Japan, China and Vietnam. Schools argue that overseas trips are opening up more educational opportunities for students, helping them to become ‘global citizens’.
Do you think that overseas school trips have merit? Join the discussion in the comments below.
This blog was written by Julie Scanlon, Editor for Kidspot NZ.
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