I’ve struggled to write-up my experiences at the Travel Blogger Summit on Study Abroad and Global Citizenship for the last 2.5 weeks. Firstly, because the summit was so inspiring that I’m not sure where to start or the words to describe it. Secondly, because I spend the first week back at work catching up and the second week trying to get ahead before I headed off for a trip to Indonesia. Well after 52 hours of travelling, it is 2am in Bali and I can’t sleep…
The biggest takeaway from the summit for me was the camaraderie. As a professor, at a small regional university, I can feel very alone in my with passion for the transformative power of travel. There are days when I feel like I am repeatedly banging my head against a wall trying to work within the bounds of a university and colleagues who do not value travel. There are so many days when I am ready to give up and stop dedicating my time, energy and holiday/vacation time to organizing travel studies. The people at this summit shared my belief that travel should be for everyone. It was so refreshing.
In times when I feel like giving up I try to focus on the positive, transformational experiences that students have had on my trips. The student on her first trip outside the country who was inspired by the eye doctor who came to our hotel in Greece to treat her roommate. She since sought out an international internship and spend the summer in Uganda. For every trip that I lead I know that I change 2-3 students lives in a profound and long-lasting way. I also have to deal with administrators and colleagues – people who do not understand the amount of work and stress that goes into organising a travel study. The off-hand comments about going on a vacation/holiday or the fees and charges the university adds on to make money.
The Travel Blogger Summit on Study Abroad and Global Citizenship allowed me to recharge my batteries, to hear stories of lives changed, and to learn about companies that are helping more students learn more about the world.
I participate in a couple of Facebook groups where professors share resources for teaching specifics subjects. While at the summit I was so inspired by the camaraderie that I decided that there should be a Facebook group for professors to talk about leading travel studies. I searched around and couldn’t find anything so started a new private group. If you are a professor who is interested in being a part of this group request access here. As with all new things, it will start small but over time I hope it will grow into a support community for professors to share resources, ask questions and make sure that more students become explorers, dreamers and social change makers.
Check out some other posts that may be of interest to you in planning a travel study:
- How to organize a university travel study
- Why I lead travel studies – Quotes from students
- Workbook or journal? Why I use a workbook to assess student learning during a travel study
- List of educational tour companies that will organize your college Travel Study
- Technology to lead a smoother travel study