Designing your own study tour should be enjoyable – planning is often the most fun part of any overseas trip! But when you are planning a tour, the difficulty is won’t be finding activities to include. The hardest part is deciding will be deciding what to leave out.
This may seem an unusual way to look at it and of course you want to make the most of the students’ time. The biggest expense of an overseas trip is the airfare, so you want the best bang for your buck. But everyone – regardless of age – will hit an information overload and experience both mental and physical fatigue. Therefore, getting the balance right is very important to ensure an enjoyable experience for all involved.
We suggest that each day is structured similar to a school day, with the academic content limited more or less to the hours of 9am to 3pm. During this time, you should consider a variety of activities so that students don’t simply switch off. The more academically heavy content works well first thing in the morning when everyone is energetic. A proper lunch break in the middle of the day is essential to keep everyone going into the afternoon. Then each day, we suggest allowing a couple of hours of structured free time. This allows the students some down time to explore, shop or try the local food within certain boundaries in their buddy groups.
If the school and time allows, you may wish to include a free afternoon at the halfway point of the tour. Or include a day’s activity that is lighter – for example, a day on the island of Capri if visiting Italy. It is at the halfway point of the tour that tiredness and perhaps homesickness can start to sink in, so allowing that to diffuse can help re-energise everyone for the second half of the trip.
Student energy levels should also be monitored on a daily basis. Teachers, you may be happy to keep walking around Pompeii after 5 hours, what about your students? If they are dragging their feet and their eyes are glazing over, it may be time to call it a day. Otherwise you run the risk of their only memory of Pompeii being they walked too much and were exhausted.
Getting the balance right is a fine art and one that is very difficult to achieve. With the above principles in mind, we hope that your study tour will have enough content while allowing sufficient down time to actually enjoy the destinations. Chat to us about designing the best possible itinerary for your school.