Brett Sampson, WorldStrides International Destination Specialist, reflects on his Year 10 class tour to Italy and delves into the personal and academic benefits it delivered – from developing confidence and discovering his passion, to speaking the language with locals.
Brett, what were the highlights of your tour?
One of my favourite memories was visiting the Colosseum on the first day – we exited the train station and were met by the most spectacular monument. Another would be the amazing friendships I made with people I wouldn’t have spoken to if it wasn’t for this trip. I now share memories with them that will last forever!
A moment/learning from your tour that has stuck with you?
Speaking Italian in real life – not just in the classroom! I remember travelling on a public bus and having a conversation with some of the locals in Sorrento. Our Italian was very broken, but we still managed to have a conversation with people who didn’t speak any English. This gave me more confidence in my abilities and forced us to use our Italian skills where we wouldn’t have at home.
Reflecting on your experience, did you grow as an individual?
Travelling to another country and experiencing a different culture helped me grow so much as a person. Being outside my comfort zone and away from familiar surroundings helped me gain more confidence and become more independent. The experience really strengthened my relationship with my teachers and I gained a new-found respect for them that lasted beyond the tour.
Did your overseas experience shape your choice in career?
Yes definitely. My school trip was my second time overseas and this really cemented my passion for travel. After school, I started out as a retail travel agent and when the opportunity to work for WorldStrides arose, I was already passionate about educational travel having experienced first-hand the amazing opportunities it gave me.
What would you recommend to teachers who are thinking about taking their students on a tour?
If this is your first time taking your students on a tour and you are worried they will misbehave, trust that they will do the right thing. Even the students most prone to misbehaving in the classroom behaved impeccably on tour. I think we understood how important it was to listen to our teachers in another country.
We asked Neda, one of our teachers from Victoria, what his students got out of their tour to Italy. Here’s what he said…
“Being so far from home was quite daunting for all of us, the students at first felt a bit like fish out of water, but their confidence grew daily. Being immersed in the language daily, not only improved their comprehension, but it improved their conversational skills. As the days went on they became more confident in their ability and were more independent. Our students were enrolled in the languages school in Como which was wonderful in building their language knowledge and we went on tours that expanded their knowledge of culture and history.” Neda, teacher, VIC
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