Three Ways Teen Travel Can Change A High School Student’s Life

High school students are constantly growing and forming new opinions of themselves and their surroundings.  This period of change can be both tumultuous and an opportunity to learn valuable lessons.  One of the greatest experiences a high school student can have during this time of maturation is the experience of traveling abroad.  Traveling abroad has the potential to change a young person’s life because it exposes them to new cultures and perspectives, it causes them to critically examine their own culture, and it forces them to think about real-world problems they might never have known existed.

Exposure to New Cultures and New Ideas

Coming into contact with new cultures and perspectives is an obvious reason to take a trip abroad, because it enriches a student’s life, both academically and personally.  For example, on our Atlas Workshops trip to India last year, students learned about an education system that was very different from their own, and were exposed to new ways of learning.  These encounters can lead to new observations and awareness about world issues, and help shape a generally well-rounded student who is empathetic and mindful of socio-economic disparities and current events. One of our alum has told us that, “getting to interact with the local students and teachers at the schools provided us with insight that I don’t think we could have gotten elsewhere.”

Trips Offer Insight Into Problems in the U.S. and Possible Solutions

The experience of traveling abroad can also cause students to take a second look at their own life, assumptions and beliefs.  This can be an incredibly enriching and important experience for a high school student, who might never been challenged in this way before.  Some students might accept the inherent flaws in the the U.S. public transportation system, because they have never been confronted with a system that does actually work.  On our summer 2015 trip through Scandinavia  our students studied public transportation in Sweden and Denmark  and worked on projects that could make commuting more efficient in U.S. cities.  We addressed multiple forms of transit, from subways to cars to bicycles, and made tangible goals for our student innovators to accomplish before the end of the trip. The final project deliverable for this trip was aptly aptly titled, “Commuting: You’re Doing It Wrong.” and was the result of student’s hard work examining the advantages of Scandinavian transportation and translating them into written word.

Engage in Real-World Projects In Place Of Tourism

Finally, teen travel ideally allows students to focus on real-world problems instead of merely being a tourist.  Atlas Workshops firmly believes in trips that emphasize research and design thinking and don’t adhere to the principles of “voluntourism” that has emerged in the past decade or so in high school teen trips.  Our trips incorporate elements of STEM research, engineering, city planning, design, marketing, entrepreneurship, and technology.  We strive to create trips that help our students develop their critical thinking skills, and enable them to contribute meaningfully to conversations on politics, innovation, and social justice. We believe that knowledge breeds confidence and confidence allows for students to become global innovators.

Make Your High School Summer Trip Meaningful

The high school summer trips that Atlas Workshops offers combine all of these qualities to ensure a well-rounded and meaningful experience for high school students.  This summer, we’ll be headed to Croatia, Scandinavia, Berlin and Prague, and India to study a wide range of topics – including engineering, design, entrepreneurship, economics, marketing, and healthcare.  If you’re interested in making a difference this summer, apply for a trip today!