International Experiences

Stasia Diamantis-Lopez, a faculty member in our Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program, recently shared her basic tenets of international education, in a well-thought and reasoned article. Preaching to the choir – but take a look – she’s brilliant.

 

Colleges and universities around the world are valuing the goal of becoming more globally engaged and continuing to encourage their students to study abroad. What is the value behind those international experiences? Studies have shown that students who study abroad not only have higher grade point averages (G.P.A.s) but also develop the necessary skills to function in our interconnected world. According to Abrams (1960), “goals of higher education include intellectual and professional development, general education, personal growth, and the furtherance of the international understanding.”

 

When people study abroad, they break down the ethnocentricity that they feel about their own country being the best and only way to live. Studying abroad allows a student, for example, to develop positive attitudes toward other countries and allow for further curiosities to be explored through research, travel, and befriending international students who can open another door of understanding for Americans.

 

in Barcelona

in Barcelona

 

 

Please click through the link above to read the rest of Stasia’s excellent article.

A Passion for Acting

Nadia Adusei-Boateng, a student in our teen travel blogging class, recently shared a passion of hers, for a class assignment. I’m not surprised – it’s acting! She’s exuberant in her passion – take a look…

 

Acting has been a big part of my life, ever since I was seven.  Seven was the age I attended my first drama school, Helen O’Grady Drama Academy. My sisters and I heard the Academy being advertised in school and when my sister insisted on us joining, we went – and from then on I carried on pursuing acting. I would watch different TV programmes (and I still do now) and wish I was in the programme, acting.

 

Acting tableau

A Tableau from my groups devised piece, in our drama lesson.

 

 

Click through the link above to read the rest of Nadia’s article.

 

Conservation in Madagascar

Anne Driscoll, a student in our teen travel blogging class, is currently in Madagascar doing research. For a class assignment, she recently wrote about land conservation in Madagascar – it’s fascinating. Take a look…

 

The night is cool, the sun has just set, and the trees are swaying slightly in the wind. Every few minutes a truck drives by with a delivery: usually dropping off a load of tourists or a few dozen crates of beer. A few friends and I are sitting in the local bar eating fries, a rare treat for us, and drinking cokes. It’s just a normal night, until a fire starts on the other side of the hill. The smoke envelops the entire valley, and the fire lights up the remaining forest in an orange glow. The open air restaurant smells like smoke, and visibility is remarkably low. Although I look around, confused and a bit worried, nobody else reacts. This is a normal night, and the fires are a normal practice. These fires aren’t small kitchen fires gone wrong – this is the way the agriculture here works.

 

Madagascar -secondary forest, and forest after/during slash and burn

 

Madagascar - secondary forest, and forest after/during slash and burn agriculture.

 

 

The Malagasy word for this practice is tavy. Tavy is the description of the typical agriculture here. Most farmers in the area grow banana trees or rice. In the process of growing rice, the fields have to be flooded, and most of the soil’s nutrients are drawn away. A farmer can continue using the same plot for a maximum of three years. Each year the crop yields decrease until the farmer has to clear another patch of forest to create a new set of fields.
But rice isn’t the only crop that causes this deforestation. Any type of subsistence agriculture has this effect. This issue is mostly visible in overpopulated tropical countries, because as population density increases, there is more demand for land. As more land is needed, the fallow period for each field declines, and the soil is eventually left completely spent. Along the eastern side of Madagascar, there are several other things planted in these fields. A common pattern is as follows. The first year, all the trees are cut down for wood. A few years later, small saplings that have arisen from the empty land are cut down for charcoal. The next year, the even smaller trees are burnt for a quick flush of nutrients, to allow grass to grow to feed the cattle and zebu.

 

 

Please click through the link above to read the rest of Anne’s excellent article.

Life Learning Magazine

I love finding new resources – especially about learning! I’ve got a GREAT interview for you – take a look!

 

I’ve got a great educational resource – well, really, a LIFE resource – that I’m excited to share with our Wandering Educators. It’s Life Learning Magazine, and it’s a treasure trove of learning and inspiration. Created and published by Wendy Priesnitz, Life Learning Magazine covers the kind of learning I love to do – following my passions.

 

Life Learning Magazine

 

We caught up with Wendy and asked her about the backstory to Life Learning Magazine, truths of unschooling, and why unschooling is a good fit for some travelers. Here’s what she had to say…

 

 

Please click through the link above to read the rest of this interesting interview.

Best Online Resources for World Schooled Kids

Jennifer Miller, one of our editors, is a strong believer in learning from the world. She’s an incredible educator, and put together a list of 5 excellent resources for online learning. You’ll find yourself drawn in, I promise!

 

The internet continues to revolutionize how we live life, redefine the terms of employment and entrepreneurship and rewrite the “rules” of education. It’s not lost on us that our family’s lifestyle, from our career choices to the kids’ schooling is made possible, and much easier by the existence of the internet and the myriad of resources that continue to blossom from creative minds around the world.

 

This month I’d like to share five of my recent finds that are new favourites among our children for expanding their knowledge base in fun ways!

 

Crash Course Videos

I’ve just recently encountered these on youtube and I’m in love! Two highly entertaining and engaging young men race headlong through the basics of biology and world history in two 40 episode series that will educate and entertain. If you’ve got a kid who wants a taste of the big picture these videos will give him that, in digestible 10-15 minute chunks! They’re well produced, fun and informative!

 

 

Please click through the link above to discover the rest of Jenn’s finds!

Skyfall

Emily Zumchak, a student in our teen travel blogging class, is a whiz at videos. Her latest for a class assignment is an amazing homage to James Bond and the latest film in the series, Skyfall. I’m amazed, and impressed – you will be, too! Take a look…

 

This video was filmed in Corsica, France on the beautiful streets of Sartan.

It is about a young agent, 0012, who is always underestimated by her colleagues in her spy agency. When she finally manages to get a mission, she gets into a bit of trouble, and needs to get away. So she fakes her own death and takes refuge on an island (Corsica) off the coast of Northern Italy. Unfortunately, the people following her are still onto her, and she is being chased. When she sees a rival agent, she runs. At the end of the video, she gets shot, and her killer lets his boss know. But is she really dead?

 

 

Please click through the link above to read Emily’s behind the scenes, as well as see her incredible video!

Teaching through Educational Travel: Rome!

I’ve got a weekly column at Educational Travel, writing about very cool places around the world – and ways to teach your classrooms about them. I put in a lot of research, to find the best activities to truly learn about a  place.

 

This  past week, I explored the Fountain of Neptune, in Rome.

 

Neptune Fountain in Rome, Italy

Neptune Fountain in Piazza Navona in Italy, Rome

The Fountain of Neptune (Fontana del Nettuno) is one of the most famous fountains in Rome, and is located on the Piazza Navona. There is another fountain with the same name, in the Piazza del Popolo! First built with only a basin (which lasted for hundreds of years), the fountain was finished in 1878, by two sculptors, Antonio delle Bitta and Gregorio Zappala. The main sculpture shows Neptune battling an octopus, and other sculptures that fit the ancient mythological theme of Nereids, cupids, and walruses.
Please click through the link above, to get some great classroom activities and ideas to research and learn about this awesome fountain!

Teaching through Educational Travel

I’m so proud to be part of the Teaching through Educational travel site, creating weekly resources for teachers to share the world! In my first column, I shared my mission on educational travel. Take a look!

 

Hi! I’m Jessie Voigts, and I’m passionate about international education. So much so, that I got my PhD in International Education! For me, learning about the world is as integral to life as breathing.

I was born in Michigan, and after many years spent traveling and living in lovely places (Minneapolis, London, Tokyo), am back in Michigan. We live on a lake – not surprisingly, since I am always drawn to water, whether it is at home, or while we travel. In fact, we plan our travels around the proximity to bodies of water, as well as good food.

I am the publisher of a travel site for global educators, WanderingEducators.com and a travel site about Scotland , JourneyToScotland.com, founded the Family Travel Bloggers Association, and most importantly, direct and teach in our Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. There’s something about young global travelers that inspires hope and joy – from their passion in experiencing all the world has to offer, to their excellent writing, photography, and communication skills.

My Mission for Teach Through Educational Travel

I’m so excited to be writing this weekly column on teaching through educational travel. Why am I excited, you may ask? Well, I firmly believe that international education – that teaching about the world – is an integral part of learning. If you’re going to teach about math, why not include different systems of counting around the world? Teaching about current events? Include global events! And if your students are interested in history, get inside history and explore – anywhere in the world.

 

 

 

Please click through on the link above, to read the rest of my article – and check back weekly for my teacher and classroom international education tips!

Photo Passion: Animals

Joy Whitehead, a student in our Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program, shared some beautiful photos for a recent assignment. We asked our students to share their photography passion, and you can see the love Joy has for animals – take a look…

 

Ever since I got my first camera, I’ve been taking pictures of animals. It didn’t matter if they were mine, my friend’s, or strays; they were what I liked taking photos of. Some of my favorite photos I’ve taken are of animals.

 

I’ve taken tons of photos of a group of four horses that used to come right up to our house and eat the grass by our sidewalk. It was so cool to have a bunch of horses right outside of our house! While I was taking these photos, I was overjoyed with the fact that even though they were not wild, they were outside of our house, and not inside a pasture with fences and gates.

 

Horses across the street from our house

Horses across the street from our house

 

 

 

Please click through the link above to read the rest of Joy’s article.

Exploring Bexleyheath

Nadia Adusei-Boateng, one of the students in our teen travel blogging class, recently explored her London neighborhood for a class videography assignment. It’s fun to see her stomping grounds…take a look!

 

Bexleyheath is a suburban district of Southeast London, in the London Borough of Bexley. It is down the road from the town I live in, which is called Welling, and it is the closet town to me which has a shopping centre. This is filled with quite a few retail stores like H&M, New Look, River Island, and many more.

 

The shopping centre is near the top of Bexleyheath Broadway and is in line with a lot of other shops. It is a central area where several people go to go shop, catch their bus home, or just chill and hang out with their friends. As there are a variety of schools around the area, after school there are countless school children filling up the Broadway, rushing to get to different places.

 

Please click through the link above to read the rest of Nadia’s article, and see her video.