It probably goes without saying, but I believe in the #powerofthepassport and the growth that travel brings about.
I believe that when a young person who dreams of travel gets a passport with no specific destination or travel plan in mind, that it is a rite of passage akin to getting a global permission slip.
I believe that getting a passport should happen early, and that it's never too late.
I believe that getting that first international passport stamp sets the stage for that teen's future if s/he wants it to.
I also believe that a lack of disposable income isn't a good enough reason not to travel when youth travel scholarships, grants and study abroad opportunities abound.
And I believe in giving back to the local community in some small way while being a responsible traveler. #travelwithheart
The bottom line?
I believe in the #powerofthepassport.
And while nothing takes the place of family travel, tw/eens should travel without their parents as well. Yep. Without. Their. Parents. And their parents should let them go, too. To volunteer, to study, or to simply soak in what international travel has to offer. Because -- believe it or not -- travel changes everything.
But don't just take my word for it. Here is what some of my travel colleagues think about teen travel abroad and why it is so important.
Teens should travel abroad because travel is one of the best ways to extend learning outside the classroom. Travel creates opportunities to better understand people around the world and their cultures through history, traditions, customs, and foods. The world is our classroom and travel is our opportunity to raise a new generation of kids who will better understand global issues.
|Belize, Central America|
Teens should travel abroad because it opens their eyes to the human experience outside of what they see on a daily basis. So many Americans take things for granted that others have to struggle for abroad. In my first assignment with Doctors Without Borders, I was taken aback to learn that when people are admitted to the hospital in Kenya, they need a caregiver to stay with them. The hospital does not provide food, laundry services or bedside services. That's just one of the thousands of things I've learned while traveling abroad and the sooner one gets out there and experiences that, the more well rounded and globally aware they are! The #powerofthepassport is vital in today's burgeoning generation.
Photo Credit @CarolACain
Teens should travel abroad because doing so will open their eyes to the possibilities for their lives. They'll likely discover that their home countries don't necessarily offer the paradigm of what life should be like. They'll also hopefully discover that their lives are not meant to be lived in a box and that the possibilities for every facet of their lives are limitless. Ultimately, traveling abroad has the potential to help teens discover or at least start thinking about their life's purpose, why they are here, and how they can use the newfound perspective that traveling abroad brings and their unique talents and gifts to make a difference in this world.
Can you think of any others? Please -- share your views and personal experiences on why teens should travel abroad in the comments section below along with your Twitter handle and be on the look-out for a RT as we continue to ramp up with Phase 2!
- Teens have a variety of opportunities to travel abroad to study, volunteer and learn foreign languages.
- Starting in middle school (7th or 8th grade) parents should be researching opportunities for their children to go abroad.
- Most high school programs are during the summer, and knowledge of the language of the host country is rarely a requirement.
- Many graduating high school students are choosing to pursue a GAP Year abroad in lieu of college right after high school. This has been a norm for Australian teens for years and it's beginning to catch on with American students, too.
- Regardless of the program, teen programs abroad can help students stand out among their peers as they prepare to apply for college.
- Parents need to be informed about the benefits of their children pursing teen abroad programs. Then parents need to research and learn about the different program types and work with their kids to determine which program and location works best.
- Start saving and get family and friends involved in supporting, financially or otherwise.