Educational travel is important for many reasons—it allows students to leave their comfort zones and grow as individuals, it expands their knowledge of the world and inspires them to see it in new, open-minded ways, and it helps students to realize their potential within their own communities. The growth that happens during student travel is especially evident to parents who watch their children go off on their first trips without them. To understand the learning moments of educational travel, read the following letters written by parents of EF student travelers.
My initial thoughts on sending you to London, Paris, and Berlin for the EF Global Leadership Summit were so much pride, excitement, and wonder. It was a tremendous opportunity for you to be able to explore the world with other student travelers—some you knew, and some you didn’t. I didn’t have any safety concerns with the team of teachers who were in charge of the planning and supervision of the trip, and you were able to explore the world with your favorite school counselor and past teachers. EF totally made your Dad and I feel comfortable, too.
Even though some parents may have been upset that they didn’t hear from their children, we were not because we knew that you were SO BUSY with traveling, exploring, learning, and having fun. When you returned home, the growth in you was amazing—the independence that you developed and the experiences you had—I couldn’t have asked for a better educational experience for you!
Danny, you will forever hold these memories and experiences with you as well as this newfound confidence. The icing on the cake with a giant cherry on top was finding out that your project “Savor” won the 2018 Summit! The way that you were able to articulate and describe the process of the Summit and what that experience did for you held my undivided attention. It was truly an experience like no other, and Dad and I are so grateful to the team of adults/chaperones and EF for making the trip possible. I’m so glad we could do this for you!
Mom (Genene M., Connecticut)
I am so genuinely grateful that we had the opportunity to travel with EF Tours to Europe during your high school years. Thinking back to when you were a shy ninth grade student, it was really gratifying to see how deeply you were impacted by these experiences. You became more confident, more extroverted, and more worldly. Some of the memories that we shared like eating lunch in Rome at that out-of-the-way café, standing in the amphitheater at Epidaurus, and looking out over the Swiss Alps, are moments that will last a lifetime. Now that you’re in your first year of college, I’m proud to see the impact that international travel has had on your life. Your intended major in international business will hopefully give you the chance to continue to see the world, and I’m sure that you will excel in learning yet another new language (Italian!). Thanks for sharing those experiences with your dad—and I am looking forward to our family Go Ahead Tour to Tuscany this summer!
Dad (Ronald S., New York)
After our Grecian Odyssey tour in 2019, I noticed that you gained a better appreciation for other cultures and a desire to learn more about other countries. You were eager to learn a new language and even open to trying different food. You have always been open to others, but experiencing Grecian culture has broadened your mind and encouraged learning on levels that will enhance your life as you grow older. I am proud that you returned home and have taught your brothers and others about the various places we toured on our trip to Greece. Not only have you encouraged your family and friends, you have encouraged other children to enroll in future EF Tours with your teacher. I am proud to hear you talk about the trip to this day with your brothers and show them places on the map and things on the internet about the various historic things you have learned. Take with you the experience and the lessons you learned while on the tour of a lifetime and travel the world and see as much as you can.
Mom (Nikki M., West Virginia)
I am so pleased that you were able to travel on an EF Tour with your classmates. One of the major changes that I have noticed in you is your confidence level has increased as a direct result of this trip. You have grown up so much this last year. You are not afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try new things and have new experiences as a result of your recent travels.
It is nice to see that your education has expanded beyond the school community, too. I appreciate the cultural awareness you have gained and how you have started to think about others. I appreciate the empathy and global awareness you have gained especially as you journey toward adulthood. You have learned that how you treat other people matters. But the most important thing that travel has given you is the appreciation for everything you have in this world. For that reason, I am most grateful to your school and your teacher for organizing this experience for you and your fellow student travelers.
Mom (Kay K., Colorado)
I am so proud of you for taking the chance to travel abroad on a service learning trip to help others. Realizing that you have made a difference on an international level is astounding, and I see how much it has influenced the way you think about things and their impact. You are more confident in voicing your opinions and more passionate in the things you believe in. You’re more kind toward others and I know it is because of your experiences abroad. Witnessing how many people live has changed you in such positive ways and given you a perspective that you would not have otherwise gained. I hope you continue this journey of wanting to make the world a better place and always remember the lessons you learned while traveling!
Mom (Laura C., Ohio)
When I sent you on an EF tour to eastern Europe and then the EF Summit held in Davos, Switzerland a few years ago, I knew it would be a life-changing experience for you. I traveled as much as I could in my twenties, which led me to work at EF, and then ultimately become a teacher. So, when it came time to send you on an EF trip, this was a no brainer for me. You had an amazing Group Leader who I completely trusted. I knew you were shy, so I thought this experience would be really beneficial for you.
It wasn’t until about a week before you departed it set in that I might have been wrong. You panicked. I panicked. I’ll never forget the emptiness I felt when I left the airport to go back home without you. Did I pressure you to go? Was it the right thing to do? Many people told me that it would take three days for the kids to settle in. They need to acclimate to the time difference and they will come around. That is exactly what happened with you. You were nervous and homesick for the first three days and called and texted me often. Then something amazing happened. I received a text from you that said you had the most amazing pizza you’d ever had in Poland! I started receiving photos of you with a smile on your face. Photos of you with new friends, new foods, and in new cities.
Then the Summit weekend came and this is where your life changed. You were put in a group of student travelers around your age from all over the nation and some areas of Europe. Your group was given the task of solving a world problem together. I found out later from staff members that you were outspoken, a leader, creative, and impressive. You found your voice, and I have never been more proud of you. You are now a senior in high school and enrolling in colleges to be a teacher. You often mention how that trip changed your life and how you can’t wait until the day you can travel again. As your mom, I can’t wait to see where life takes you.
Mom (Melanie C., Colorado)
For more information, see how an EF tour works here or check out our Parent Guide.