Educator profile

Why I Travel with Students

For the last seven years, I have had the opportunity to lead students on trips through 3 continents: Europe, Asia, and Latin America. And when I tell people I travel with students, people’s first reaction is typically bewilderment. They ask questions and have comments like:

  • Why would you want to travel with students?
  • Oh, that must be a nightmare trying to watch them.
  • That is so much responsibility, I wouldn’t do it.
  • Do you even have fun when you’re stuck with students?

After teaching history for 10 years and focusing on the why of history, I thought I would share 3 reasons why I like to travel with students.

1. At school, I am confined to the 4 walls of my classroom. When I go on trips, the world becomes my classroom and I have the chance to create a more intimate learning experience for my students. I can lecture on the Colosseum, show videos, even bring in virtual reality goggles to try to help the students understand the subject–but everything I do in the classroom is second to being there. You have to see the size and scope of this magnificent ancient building to truly appreciate it. I love visiting ancient ruins or palaces with my students, and one of my favorites is the Versailles Palace–the former residence of the Bourbon monarchy. I have been lucky enough to go there a couple of times, and I am continually amazed every time I see it. But what I love more now is experiencing the student’s reaction when seeing the palace for the first time. It is such a rewarding experience to help facilitate these wonderful interactions with history.

students at the Palace of Versailles

“At Versailles Palace, we were able to sit in place and hear about the French Revolution from a local guide. Talk about bringing the material alive!” via Steve Prodan

2. Many of my students have had limited experiences with traveling before my trips. As we become more and more connected through trade and technology, the push to understand the globe has increased exponentially.  The buzz word “Global Citizen” is mentioned a lot–but for good reason. I try to get students out of their comfort zone when traveling. As my group tries to immerse and embrace in another’s culture, the relationships they form and the lessons they learn with the Tour Directors, local guides, and locals have a lasting impact on how they view the world.

Students in Machu Picchu

“At the Peruvian ruins of Machu Picchu, we sat with a local guide as we learned about cultural differences and similarities between Americans and Peruvians. It was a discussion of culture in such a surreal place.” via Steve Prodan

3. As a teacher, I am always trying to breathe new life into my curriculum. After visiting a place I teach about, I find so much more engagement in the subject–both with myself and with my students. By sharing stories and pictures, I have a chance to ignite their interest in the topic as well as potentially get them interested in traveling to that place. I love now when I get emails from students who are studying abroad, who maybe didn’t get a chance to go on one of our trips, but remembered me sharing a story about one of my trips which peaked their interest enough to study there.

Tiananmen Square

“Taking students to China and seeing large pictures of Mao in Tiananmen Square was one of my most reflective moments I have had traveling. What I learned on that trip from the people I talked to was eye-opening coming from my Western perspective. Teaching economics and world history while sharing what I learned made the class and I more engaged with the subject matter.” via Steve Prodan


Traveling with students is a rewarding experience unlike any other. Why do you travel with your students? Let us know!

Steve P.

Steve is a high school history teacher in San Diego who has been leading trips since 2011. He has been with students to three continents.

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