New Zealand is a greatly diverse country with plenty to offer,however students also gain immeasurably from broadening their horizons overseas. From my own personal experiences I consider travel to be a great tool for discovery and learning, especially for children and young adults at such an impressionable stage of their lives. If students are able to see first hand the Passchendaele Memorials in Belgium or are able to learn about deforestation issues in Borneo with their own eyes the impact on them is far more profound then reading about it in a text book.
Obviously due to the geographical location of New Zealand, travelling to some destinations does involve a considerable cost and sometimes a number of stopovers in airports across the world. However, after recently travelling with the NZ Ultimate Youth team to Italy and experiencing the latest in flight developments the world really is smaller than ever! Recent media coverage has focused on the accessibility of overseas trips for those students from lower decile schools and socio economic areas within New Zealand. While it might be perceived that it is easier for students from wealthier backgrounds to travel on an overseas school trip we work with a broad spectrum of schools who see the value that their students can gain from these experiences. Through our ever-evolving community partnerships strategy we are continually expanding the level of support that we provide to groups touring with us. These groups have access to our exclusive fundraising kit, which we have in place to ensure that students across New Zealand have the opportunity to travel overseas and reap the rewards that these experiences can offer.
For those schools who might not have organised an overseas trip before taking that first step and getting the first trip off the ground is often the hardest part. An example of this is Albany Senior High School who have recently confirmed their volunteer expedition to Borneo in December 2015, which will be their first overseas trip. This is the third time that they have tried to organise an overseas trip and they see it as an ideal fit with the social impact projects that are run as part of the school curriculum.
Student Horizons is not a travel agent, we are a specialist educational travel provider and by only working with schools this allows us to fully understand the needs of schools, teachers, students and parents. Nearly all overseas trips that we organise will involve some form of fundraising by those involved in order to bring the costs down. Although this is often hard work it is also a great opportunity for students to learn key skills such as teamwork, organisational and creative skills and the sense of achievement when they finally departure on their trip can be huge. We recognise that cost is a significant factor for all families, particularly for those with lower disposable income, so we look to make this easier for everyone involved by providing tangible assistance with fundraising efforts.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust
By Richard Gorrett, Programme Development Manager (Student Horizons)