Benefits of creating a Broadreach custom program
By: Virginia Pitler, program coordinator High School Adventures, Middle School, College, Scuba, Sailing, Marine Biology, Vet Medicine, Wildlife Biology
Getting out of the classroom and into authentic settings has always been an integral and, not to mention, favorite part of many learners’ experiences. From elementary field trips to the zoo to a ‘take-your-child-to-work’ day, educators have long understood the value of immersive experiences. And let’s be real here: going abroad takes this to a whole new level. While we may not be venturing out into the world right now, planning for future adventures can bring a lot of hope. As a former teacher, lifelong traveler and current Broadreach program enthusiast, here are my top-5 reasons why you should create a custom program for your unique group when it’s time to travel again.
1. Non-traditional classroom
This one’s for my fellow teachers: get beyond those four walls! Or, more appropriate as we slowly reenter the in-person world this year, get beyond that computer screen! We can read, write, listen and watch about something a million times, but it just doesn’t have the same impact as dirty hands and unexpected encounters. Being abroad pushes us into unfamiliar situations, creating a curiosity-rich environment. When surrounded by so much unknown, we naturally want to ask more questions and seek further understanding. It’s incredibly rewarding to watch students embrace a new country and culture as their classroom.
2. Relationship building
Engaging in common experiences allows us to develop deeper relationships with those around us. It can be hard to connect with the constant distractions of screens, homework, sports, clubs, friends, work – you name it. Traveling gives us that time and space to disconnect from the norm and create new expectations. Conversations while cooking dinner turn into deep heart-to-hearts and silly inside jokes. There’s nothing like getting a goofy nickname from your students after you show up to breakfast with wild bedhead.
3. Share your passions
As a custom program developer, you have the opportunity to define the goals of your experience. Everyone has their favorite topics to teach and learn more about, and creating a custom educational travel experience offers chances to dive into those themes you’ve always wanted to devote your attention to. Get as specific as studying the effects of pollution on marine mammals, or go broader with a theme like field research. You can focus on soft skills, such as leadership development, or hard skills like earning scuba certifications. The options are endless!
4. Embrace a lifelong learner attitude
As educators and leaders, it’s our responsibility to model and nurture the positive traits we hope to see in our students or groups. Embarking on an international program provides a setting to model the importance of being a lifelong learner. Too often we find ourselves in positions of authority over our groups – while traveling together, however, we have opportunities to step back into the group and participate with learners.
5. Student leadership development
Developing a custom program means that there are few constraints on what ‘must be done,’ and it can be tempting to plan each and every moment of the program (particularly when the group consists of teens, easily prone to boredom!). When we are intentional about leaving time and activity choices up to participants, we create opportunities for leadership. No matter the subject area of a program, every custom Broadreach experience incorporates leadership skill building for all students. These transferable skills are often the most impactful takeaway from our programs.
There’s no way to completely capture the amazing way a custom study abroad experience can impact our students and ourselves. There are so many other reasons, all of which our custom programs team would love to talk with you about! We’d love to chat with you about your goals for a future custom adventure – contact our custom programs team today!