Why travel

Caroline + Costa Rica = College Credit

The benefits of travel are well-established. Travel leads to new experiences that make way for new perspectives and can help students become more confident, curious, and open-minded long after they return. And with EF at the helm, college-bound students can get even more from their travels: the chance to get college credit in high school and the confidence that comes along with it.

That’s something Caroline S., an 18-year-old New Hampshire student, knows well. She and her father Richard, a former EF employee,* spoke to us about their travel and college readiness experiences. We’ll let them take it from here:

Caroline: I went on a week-long tour to Costa Rica in my junior year of high school and signed up for EF’s college credit program through Southern New Hampshire University. The tour was all about nature: we stayed at the base of a volcano, visited a coffee plantation, and explored natural springs. It was really fun and made me interested in studying environmental sustainability.

Caroline's tour stayed at the base of a volcano.

Richard: Because she signed up for the SNHU program before tour, Caroline was able to figure out what to focus on as she prepped to travel. Like, “I’ll be looking for this and thinking about that.” It was really proactive. It was almost like a tool to focus the tour.

Caroline: My plan is to attend a four-year college, hopefully Sacred Heart University. I’d like to focus on environmental science or maybe education. Costa Rica is a carbon neutral country and they’re trying to become a more sustainable country as a whole, which was cool to learn about. That’s definitely something that I want to keep exploring.

Richard: She’s always had the travel bug, but I think she’s been forever impacted by this tour. It sparked a curiosity for environmental sustainability, but also it has given her a global perspective and an understanding that there are different ways to live life. I expect she’ll travel the world and have many great adventures in her lifetime.

Caroline: I ended up making my final project about the benefits of traveling as a high school student. Growing up in New Hampshire, the communities are very similar. So, going to a country in Central America was completely different. It widened my perspective and showed me how different groups of people live. It made me think, “What else is out there beyond my town?”

It made me think, “What else is out there beyond my town?”

–Caroline S.

Richard: From a parent’s perspective, the credit program really made tour richer for Caroline because she had to be more observant and more present, and she had to think critically about the experience.

Caroline: I would recommend the SNHU college credit opportunity to anyone that goes on tour. If anyone asks me about it, I’m like “Go, just do it. You’re getting the opportunity to travel somewhere amazing and earn college credit at the same time.” It’s a huge selling point.

Richard: It’s a great value-add. The kind of work she was doing wasn’t fill-in-the-blank worksheets. It required more critical thinking, and I think that’s what I really enjoyed about it.

The chance to earn credit is a "great value-add"

Richard: It’s a great value-add. The kind of work she was doing wasn’t fill-in-the-blank worksheets. It required more critical thinking, and I think that’s what I really enjoyed about it.

Caroline: I’ve been trying to rack up college credits in high school and I was so glad to be earning it with SNHU because it’s a well-known college and felt like it could be applied almost anywhere I went.

Richard: As a former EF employee, I know all the benefits of tour. As a parent, the biggest benefit was that it helped build Caroline’s confidence. It was her first foray into college life. She was working with a college professor and doing college level work. It helped bolster her confidence and she was able to say “Hey, I can handle this college thing.”

Want more details on how to get college credit in high school?

Check out our Help Center article here.

*We know what you’re thinking and yes, Richard would definitely be president of the EF fanclub, if we had one. Not because he’s a former employee, but because he has seen first-hand the impact our tours can have on students and the benefits that come with it.

Nataly Baez

Nataly is a copywriter at EF Education First. She’s written for universities around the country and about countries around the world. On her off time, you can catch this Florida native riding her alligator through the cobblestone streets of Boston.

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