Home CATEGORIES Education and Skill Training A Case for Educational Travelling as an Alternate Learning Model
By: Tabish Bilal, Manager – Operations & Finance at Tycia Foundation
A page from the history books
The year is 1893. A young Indian man travels to South Africa in the hopes of making a career in law. He is immediately introduced to the ground realities in the most brutal fashion – he is thrown out of the first-class train compartment on the basis of his skin colour and heritage. While he struggles to adapt to the situation, he develops his understanding of the issues which guide his political views, ethics, morality and his overall personality. He ultimately comes back home and goes on to shape the Indian Independence Revolution in the early 1900s.
What is learning through travel?
Going through the pages of our history books we would find many such stories of transformation – from Buddha to Ibn Battuta – brought about by the simple concept of experiential learning or learning through travel; interacting with your environment optimally and engaging with your ecosystems, and the most important piece – learning from it.
The idea is to advocate global citizenship with the aim to bring together youth from communities that would otherwise not connect via in-person travel. The key is to use the nuances that come with travelling to an unfamiliar place, allowing youth to work on personal growth, community-building, and global problem-solving. At the crux of the concept is the belief that our youth are the future. A future where problems will be ten-fold wherein the current youth can become global leaders then. Equipping our future leaders with necessary skills and expanding their resource pool becomes ever so important. In a way, this translates into investing in solutions by increasing the avenues of learning for our future leaders.
How does it help the Youth?
The concept of learning through travel allows students to experiment with their comfort zones as they explore places, people, and perspectives that are new to them. The students grow their critical thinking and leadership skills when they interact with a new environment, its systems within and navigate. The ultimate goal is to develop a new generation of leaders with a global perspective and high emotional intelligence. The vision is to impart critical interpersonal and emotional skills, increasing a person’s ability for empathy, resilience, and curiosity through the medium of educational travel. Take the case of history for example. A single visit to the Gandhi Ashram in Gujarat can give a more in-depth understanding of philosophy and political science than what a chapter in a book could teach us.
Current state and way forward
Although this idea has penetrated mainstream education, it still remains on the periphery when compared to traditional forms of learning. For instance, for a long time we have had our excursion trips and annual trips in our schooling system but rarely that has gone on to be imbibed as a medium of learning.
The top schools and educational institutes are slowly coming to terms with the importance of having their students well-versed in many facets of globalization with many of them having a student go through compulsory exchange programs to learn the culture and develop personality among other things. On the flip side of it, the divide is widening between the student communities due to the financial constraints that many face. This is where technology can come in. With the start of blended learning approaches in teaching pedagogies, the sky’s the limit. Classrooms can now have their students interact with a global audience – their international peers, teachers, innovators, activists and many more – in just a few clicks. In this regard, providing low-cost models and driving innovation remains an ask from the ed-tech industry.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.” ~ Mark Twain
Since 2015, TYCIA Foundation in partnership with 360Plus Foundation has run an experiential learning program called the Leadership Collective and catered to about 200 high school students from minority communities from more than 10 countries. The alumni base includes a US Marine, Gates Scholar, Stanford Med student, a biotech engineer and others who are actively engaged in their communities and are dedicated to finding solutions that affect their communities.
Views of the author are personal and do not necessarily represent the website’s views.