You’ve finalized the itinerary with your Squads Abroad Program Coordinator, booked flights, and you have a shiny new pair of hiking shoes. While important, these things just scratch the surface of what you need to know when traveling with your students. To help you feel more confident with the process moving forward, we decided to outline some things you might encounter while with your students.
- You’ll Support Students’ Emotional Well-Being
Regardless of your students’ age, or the amazing time you will be having abroad, it is possible some students might get homesick. You are your students’ connection to home, so be prepared to help them navigate these emotional scenarios.
- Your Students Will Get Sick
Whether it be a big or small issue, one student will most likely become ill. Travel takes its toll on your body and being in a new environment with new foods and environments, people can have some reactions. You will always have trained local professionals in country with you to help with any sick scenarios that may arise, it is good to bring your own stash of band-aids, advil, imodium, or anything else you can think of! In both cases of homesickness or actual sickness, you, as the teacher, have the most direct link to home and will be your students most comfortable go-to for comfort and help. The best way to proactively help your students in all cases is to remember to say, “drink water,” or “go to bed early.”
- Students Mirror Your Energy
You will have amazing local support with you while you are on the ground at service sites or cultural activities who provide a link to the local culture, you will still be the main person your students look too to understand what is going on. Students can tell if you are in a not-so-good mood or feeling off, and they pick up and respond to this energy. Just know the more excited you are, the more excited your students will be! And the more focused you are on the service, the more passionate your students will be!
- Your Students Will Surprise You
When traveling with your students you get to interact with them, likely for the first time, outside of the classroom. Your students get to see who you are as a person, as well as you seeing how they react to challenges or adversities. It is a great way to create a closer bond with your students you can bring back into the classroom for the remainder of the school year. This also gives you the opportunity to see your students talents. You get to watch them tackle building a sink by hand, painting an educational mural, and communicating with local community members in their non-native tongue.
- You’ll Return Energized and as a More Cohesive Group
After working for local elementary school in the rural Costa Rica, your students will feel empowered upon returning to your classroom. They’ll have just the right amount of that good-kind-of-tired that’ll put them in the ideal state of mind for reflection and action planning. The shared experience creates the backdrop for an open and communicative atmosphere in which your students can share their takeaways from your travel experience.
They’ll be asking for a second trip in no time, and I am sure you will be ready to plan your next adventure with Squads Abroad for the following school year!