Education Through Travel
By Claire Keddy
Six months, three countries, and two trashed pairs of shoes later, my gap year has come to a close. After years of planning, I decided to volunteer in Peru, Thailand, and Nepal on my year off from school. The projects ranged from living with an indigenous family to reforestation in the Amazon to helping at a orphanage to teaching monks-in-training. In all my planning, I could never have accounted for the spontaneous adventures or the countless connections with people from all over the globe. Taking seat 18A on the final flight home was emotional, but now that it’s all said and done, I’m left with memories and lessons to last a lifetime. And really, that was the whole point.
I graduated school having learned the difference between a simile and a metaphor, the effects of climate change, and how to solve for “x”. But learning outside of the classroom is just as important if students are to grow into unique, well-rounded citizens, especially when they’re from rural areas. My village taught me about the meaning of community and traditions. It also showed me how easily people can become stuck – trapped in their way of thinking, acting, and living. And that’s not beneficial for anyone.
Here’s the good news: the world is ripe with diversity. Few things offer a more prime opportunity to experience such diversity than travelling does. It was for this reason, as well as for a desire to learn and grow, that I chose to go abroad rather than to college. Seeing that my traditional education had left gaps to be filled, I wanted something more. I yearned to pursue a global education. An experiential schooling where I’d be free to explore the world, other cultures, and myself (while having some fun). I got more than I bargained for.