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How to Win Travel Scholarships for High School Students

By Travel

There is perhaps no better time in all of human history to be a young, active, eager student than right now. Why? With the internet, a globalized learning environment, various exchange program opportunities, and travel methods that can get you to the other side of the world in 24 hours, there are literally thousands of opportunities for interested students to travel and study abroad.

However, traveling and studying abroad can be expensive, even if you just intend to stay for a short time. Thankfully, there are plenty of travel scholarships available for students willing to put in the work and apply.

So how can a high school student win travel scholarships to study abroad? Winning a student scholarship or travel grant requires maturity, patience, and perseverance. It’s all about putting in the legwork to send in applications, proving that you as a student are deserving of a scholarship or grant, and defining your goals and interests to create the best applications possible.

In this article we discuss everything you need to know about high school travel grants, where to find them, and our best tips on winning them. Follow our advice and you will be studying abroad in no time.

What is a High School Travel Scholarship?

A high school travel scholarship (also known as a high school travel grant) is something that many high schoolers and their parents are unaware of, but these do actually exist. These scholarships are granted to high school students who actively seek to expand their cultural and global education, providing them the resources and program necessary to help them travel for scholarly pursuits.

Various organizations, both domestic and municipal, offer some forms of travel scholarships. These scholarships allow students to fund any potential school or subject international travel opportunities, opening doors for students who would otherwise find themselves unable to pay for the travel costs.

In some cases, students might be required to participate in volunteer work or other study-related stipulations as requirements for their scholarship. However, these are generally well within the capability of students who are eager to seek out new opportunities abroad.

Why Should You Travel During High School?

While some students are more than happy to spend their four years of high school simply going to class and getting good grades, other students understand the importance of seeking out greater opportunities at a young age.

There are many reasons why a high school student should consider applying for a high school scholarship or student travel grant, even if it means being away from home for a few months or up to a year. Some of these reasons include:

  • The chance to immerse yourself in a language study program in foreign countries, truly learning it in a way that is impossible in an hour-long class
  • Open your eyes to a completely new culture, giving yourself a grander scale of the world and its different peoples
  • Expand your personal network to connections in other countries, allowing yourself to become more confident, independent, and understanding of other people

All these qualities and more can help any high school student in their college years and beyond. Not only that, but colleges and universities typically seek out students who have proven to possess a curiosity or eagerness above their peers. Putting yourself out there and going abroad for even a short-term travel opportunity is exactly the kind of point on a college application that can make you stand out.

Where Can I Apply for a High School Travel Scholarship?

Your best bet for finding high school travel scholarships is to speak to your school’s administration such as the guidance counselor, to ask if there are any local scholarships or contest program opportunities, or any history of students from your school being awarded a scholarship or grant.

When researching for travel scholarships, remember to start with any specific interests, subjects, or talents you might have, to find scholarships that are most relevant to you as a student, thus increasing your chances of it being granted to you.

For example, if you play a musical instrument, you might be able to find a scholarship that is aimed towards musically-inclined students; if you are a member of your school’s Model United Nations program, you might find travel scholarships awarded specifically to MUN participants.

Here are a few general providers of high school travel scholarships available for all high school students within the United States. Remember that every scholarship and grant is different, with its own stipulations, requirements, and monetary size.

1) SYTA

The SYTA or the Student Youth Travel Association Foundation is all about helping American high school students develop a greater sense of global awareness. This organization awards hundreds of $1000 scholarships to deserving high school students every year to help them join school travel trips and educational tours.

You can find further details on applying for the SYTA Youth Foundation Road Scholarship here.

2) Rotary International

The Rotary International Club offers one of the biggest travel scholarships out there, with funding programs that grant up to $25,000 for students who need financial aid for international study, paying for tuition costs, room and board, and a monthly stipend for the student’s convenience.

Students are expected to act as ambassadors of their home culture, to share and spread awareness of their culture to their chosen area for travel or study abroad. Thousands of students have benefited from the Rotary Club’s private funding programs, which are awarded through local Rotary branches. Read more about these scholarships here.

3) CIEE

The CIEE or the Council on International Education Exchange offers students the opportunity to earn up to $3000 in grants for international study. They offer a unique opportunity with the CIEE campuses, which are partnered schools and communities that offer the CIEE study abroad experience.

CIEE offers various programs in different countries centered around different subjects and interests, such as the Arts & Sciences program in Seoul, the Global Architecture & Design program in Berlin, the Sustainability & the Environment program in Monteverde, and so many more. Find more information on CIEE’s high school and college study abroad scholarships here.

4) Travelocity

Travelocity offers travel opportunities to students who are willing to volunteer, coining the term “voluntourism”. Through their “Travel for Good” program, Travelocity connects students and adults with volunteer opportunities across the country’s favorite destinations – New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Nashville, and more.

These volunteer opportunities vary from helping dogs at a local shelter to packing lunches for the needy. While not exclusively aimed at students, Travelocity is still a great way for interested learners of all ages to experience traveling across the country while helping local communities.

5) DonorsChoose

For all the teachers out there trying to find ways to help their students, DonorsChoose is an awesome resource to get the help you and your students need. DonorsChoose is a platform that connects teachers with potential financial donors – whether individuals or businesses – who are interested in providing financial aid for certain circumstances.

With a proper proposal describing a fun and engaging travel opportunity for their students, any teacher can earn the attention of an eager financial donor willing to help a class of students realize their high school travel dreams.

Top Tips on Applying and Winning High School Travel Scholarships

happy young traveler winter backgroundAfter you draft up a list of all the potential sources of scholarships and grants, it’s time to send in your applications. But how do you make sure that your application stands out from the dozens, hundreds, or thousands of applications they have to choose from? How can you give your application that extra oomph to earn the travel grant?

We’ve prepared the top tips for applying and winning travel scholarships. But our main tip? Take it seriously. Too many students send in applications that they wrote in an hour or a day, with no extra thought or even a simple proofread.

Remember: this isn’t just a pop quiz to finish before the end of class. Your application will determine whether someone believes you are worth an investment or not. Take yourself seriously, and make it as professional as it can be. Here are our other top tips you can follow:

1) Know What You Want

Every application will ask for something different. One application might ask you a single question about your main interests; another application might make you write five different essays on your goals, your dreams, your intentions, and more.

Questions like these need a level of honesty that you normally never have to open. And in some cases, answering them truthfully requires a kind of self-intimacy that some people have never really tried to access. These are the kinds of questions that require you to look into yourself and answer from the heart.

Why? Because the only way to stand out is to answer in a way that is uniquely you, and that means coming up with not your first, not your second, and perhaps not even your third thought, but the thoughts that only come to the surface when you truly sit down and let yourself think.

So you have to know what you want. Before you start answering these questions, understand yourself and figure out yourself in a way you might have never bothered to before. It might take some time, and it might lead to some frustration. That’s okay – just don’t be impatient, and sooner or later, you will have the answers that no one else can provide.

2) Outline, Budget, and Plan

There is nothing an adult will approve of in a high school student more than preparedness, because frankly (we’ve all been there), kids like winging things, or just dealing with the bridge when they get there.

A great tip we have is to include a specific outline, estimated budget, and possible plan of your trip, and attach it to your application if possible. If you are applying for a $5000 grant, then you should show that you will actually use the $5000 effectively. Figure out:

  • How long your trip will be (a few days, two weeks, a few months, an entire semester)
  • How much it will cost (room and board, daily living expenses, language study costs)
  • Any other expenses or details relevant to your trip

Once you have your outline written down, with the budget laid out and divvied up effectively across the entirety of your trip, you have something in your hands that you can present as your actual case. Instead of looking like a hopeful student, you can look like a prepared one – and which of the two would you think is a more attractive recipient of a scholarship?

3) Apply, Apply, Apply

We get it – there is nothing more disappointing than getting back a rejection letter from your top choice. But you need to think of scholarships as a game of attrition: only the very lucky few get it on their first try. For the vast majority, the best strategy is to apply, apply, and apply.

Keep at it, and don’t let a single rejection or even a dozen rejections stop you. Make a master spreadsheet that can help you keep track of all your scholarships, showing information on the provider of the scholarship, prize money details, the requirements, the deadlines, and other relevant information. These can be organized according to priority, deadlines, or size of the scholarship.

And if you don’t get it this year, don’t lose hope! After all, high school is four years long, right? It can be easy to feel like the world is out to get you and no one wants to lend you a hand if you find yourself receiving one rejection letter after another, but remember: there are hundreds if not thousands of applicants around you. All it takes is one accepted scholarship to get the educational travel trip you want.

Travel with Junior Tours for the Educational Tour of a Lifetime

Ready to start planning your trip? At Junior Tours, we have planned countless trips for students across the country, creating awesome educational tours and study abroad trips that our participating schools and students will never forget.

Contact us today and see how we can help you with your next educational tour.

Toronto city

Top 10 Educational Tours Toronto

By Travel

Thinking about planning an educational tour for your students in Toronto? As one of the premier educational tour organizers in North America, our team at Junior Tours has put together some of the most interesting educational travel spots in Toronto that any group of students can be excited about.

Here’s our top 10 educational tour spots in Toronto:

  • CN Tower
  • Ontario Science Centre
  • Casa Loma Mansion
  • Hockey Hall of Fame
  • Rogers Centre (SkyDome)
  • Toronto Zoo
  • Yorkville
  • Metro Toronto Convention Centre
  • Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
  • Niagara Falls

Read on to see exactly how every place can be an awesome educational travel spot for you and your student group. Enjoy!

10) CN Tower

CN tower TorontoWhat It Is: Perhaps the most recognizable icon of Toronto, the CN Tower rises up to 553.33 meters, or 1815 feet (and 5 inches!). If you’ve seen a picture of Toronto as a city, then you’ve seen the CN Tower. Renowned internationally as a triumph in modern engineering, the CN Tower is a spectacular place to visit for all tourists of coming into Toronto.

If you find yourself heading to CN Tower, some of the attractions you have to see include the Glass Floor, the SkyPod, and the Window Walls, offering visitors a floor-to-ceiling panoramic view of the city below and around them – north, south, east, and west!

What Students Can Learn: Visiting students can visit CN Tower as students of Toronto’s culture or as students of the wonders of modern engineering. Students can also have fun with the Edge Walk, the CN Tower arcade and motion theatre ride, as well as The Height of Excellence film, which documents and explains the historic construction of the ultimate venue in Toronto.

Cool Facts:

  • The CN Tower is home to the highest outdoor walk in the world, at the CN Tower Edge Walk, where visitors can lean over the edge of the building while strapped to a harness
  • As the heart of modern Toronto, the CN Tower plays hosts to over 300 events every year.
  • The CN Tower is home to the award-winning 360 Restaurant

9) Ontario Science Centre

Ontario Science Centre

What It Is: As one of the most famous cultural sites in all of Canada, the Ontario Science Centre has been enriching the education and scientific understanding of students of all ages for over the last 50 years.

The Ontario Science Centre has eight exhibit halls that visitors can explore, hosting a combined 500 interactive experiences on topics of the rainforest, space with a planetarium, and many more.

What Students Can Learn: If you are looking for one of the most popular hotspots of field trips and educational tours in Toronto, then the Ontario Science Centre is the place for you. The centre hosts countless valid student trips every week, with activities for groups ranging from all ages, from the youngest kids to high school seniors.

With a science arcade, the Weston Family Innovation Centre, various special exhibits and demonstrations, art shows, volunteer shows, IMAX movie showings of educational films, and The Maple Leaf Forever Tree, there’s an endless barrage of educational opportunities students can enjoy here.

Cool Facts:

  • The centre is the home of The Maple Leaf Forever Tree, which is a sculpture that took over ten thousand hours to create
  • The centre is now celebrating 50 years of being the heart of science and education in Toronto
  • Students and groups who want more can consider the exploration of day camps and the excitement of sleepovers at the Ontario Science Centre

8) Casa Loma Mansion

Casa Loma Mansion OntarioWhat It Is: Originally constructed in 1914 as a mansion for prominent Canadian financier Sir Henry Pellatt, the Casa Loma mansion now serves as a local historic house museum in Toronto, showing off its Gothic Revival architecture and beautiful gardens.

What Students Can Learn: Designated as a heritage spot by the Ontario Heritage Act in 1987, the Casa Loma mansion is a great place for students of all ages to learn about culture, history, and design in a single location.

The Casa Loma also played a part in many events of the 20th century, including the Prohibition Era of the 1920s, serving as a nightspot and hotel for affluent Americans; World War II, in which it was allegedly used to research and produce sonar devices in a secret facility located behind the stables; and other issues that included potential demolitions, the conversion to a tourist destination, and more.

Cool Facts:

  • Casa Loma means “Hill House” in Spanish
  • The museum was designed and built by E. J. Lennox, who was the main architect for various prominent landmarks in Toronto
  • Casa Loma is one of the most popular wedding spots in Toronto, and it also serves as a popular filming spot for shows and movies 

7) Hockey Hall of Fame

The Hockey Hall of Fame TorontoWhat It Is: The Hockey Hall of Fame is perhaps the biggest and best ice hockey museum and hall of fame in the world, located in the heart of Toronto. Visitors can enjoy over 57,000 square feet of games, theatres, displays, exhibits, interactive activities and more.

What Students Can Learn: A full day of sports history, Canadian history, and Canadian culture is in store for any group of students who visit the Toronto Hockey Hall of Fame, and you don’t necessarily have to be a fan of the sport to get a kick out of the experience. A tour director can guide you and your group around if necessary.

Take pictures with and learn about the Stanley Cup and various other NHL trophies and memorabilia. With rotating exhibits, art installations, and interactive games and activities for experts, fans and non-fans alike, the $20 entrance fee is well worth the price. 

Cool Facts:

  • The first inductees of the Hockey Hall of Fame were introduced in 1945, years before the official Hall of Fame location had been decided
  • 280 players have been inducted into the Hall of Fame (as of 2018)
  • The hall is located inside a historic Bank of Montreal location 

6) Rogers Centre (SkyDome)

The Roger's Centre TorontoWhat It Is: Originally known as SkyDome, Rogers Centre is Downtown Toronto’s multi-purpose stadium that serves as the home of the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball. As the first fully retractable roofed stadium, Rogers Centre (known formerly as SkyDome) is a cultural and sporting icon in Toronto.

What Students Can Learn: If your students are interested in sports, a tour of Rogers Centre is an excellent place to spend the day. However, even students who aren’t invested in sports can learn tons from a Rogers Centre tour.

The Rogers Centre Tour Experience comes with a tour director, and includes visits to the united media center, luxury suites, team dressing rooms, field areas, and the Blue Jays museum and Hall of Fame, featuring various unearthed artifacts found during initial construction of the dome.

Cool Facts:

  • The original name of Rogers Centre, SkyDome, was chosen by a “name the stadium” event hosted in 1987. Over 150,000 name suggestions were submitted, which a selection of judges narrowed to 4 choices: the Dome, Harbourdome, Towerdome, and SkyDome
  • The SkyDome was renamed Rogers Centre after Rogers Communication acquired SkyDome in 2004, but the name change is a controversial issue for most fans
  • The dome was built after the Premier of Ontario in 1983, Bill Davis, experienced a football game in extremely poor weather, nicknamed “the Rain Bowl”

5) Toronto Zoo

Toronto ZooWhat It Is: The Toronto Zoo is the premier zoo of Canada, and one of the best and most modern zoos not only in North America, but the world. The zoo is divided into seven different regions, grouping animals zoogeographically: Tundra Trek, Indo-Malaya, Canadian Domain, Africa, Eurasia, Australasia, and the Americas.

With over 5000 animals calling the Toronto Zoo home, there are few places in the world better equipped to teach students of all ages the wonders of the animal kingdom.

What Students Can Learn: Toronto Zoo allows students to witness animals in their natural habitats, with observable naturalistic environments in the various animal regions. With the Wildlife Health Centre, Kangaroo Walk-Thru, the Americas Pavilion, the Kids Discovery Zone, and so many other interactive hubs of learning and entertainment, there are endless ways for kids and adults to explore and learn during their zoo exploration.

The Toronto Zoo also puts an emphasis on conservation, and how zoologists and the general public can help improve the way we interact and live with animals. Topics such as habitat and species research, animal reintroduction in their natural environment, and captive breeding are popular areas of discussion and learning at the zoo.

Cool Facts:

  • Encompassing over 700 acres, the Toronto Zoo is one of the largest zoos worldwide
  • In 2015, the Toronto Zoo bred Canada’s first giant panda cubs
  • Some animals aren’t visible from the normal walking paths, and require visitors to ride the Zoomobile

4) Yorkville

Yorkville TorontoWhat It Is: Yorkville is popularly known as a wealthy neighborhood in Toronto, but it is also a place neck-deep in Toronto culture and history.

Visitors of Toronto looking for a lesson of the urban underpinnings and heritage of the city need look no further than Yorkville, which is a popular destination of walking tours for its various art galleries, bars, antique stores, cafes, and more, showing its evolution from Toronto’s counter-culture to area of couture.

What Students Can Learn: A tour of Yorkville can be a full lesson of history or culture and art (or both!), depending on what your group and guide choose to explore. Yorkville in the 1960s was the heart of counter-culture in Toronto, attracting hippies and the Bohemian lifestyle as the rest of the city expanded.

Over time, the infusion of Bohemian lifestyle with Toronto’s economic growth led to the rise of one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the city, which is also home to various celebrities and fine art galleries. Some places you can visit in Yorkville include:

  1. The Bata Shoe Museum
  2. The Gardiner Museum
  3. Canadian Fine Arts Gallery
  4. Royal Ontario Museum
  5. Yorkville Park
  6. Toronto Reference Library

Cool Facts:

  • In 1967, Yorkville activists held a “sleep in” program to make the neighborhood car-free; afterwards, the city enforced a ten in the evening curfew for those younger than 18
  • The first Mr. Sub was opened in Yorkville
  • The first Toronto International Film Festival was held in Yorkville, at the Windsor Arms Hotel in 1976 

3) Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Metro Convention CentreWhat It Is: Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) is one of the leading areas for conventions and meetings in North America. With a facility that covers more than 2 million square feet, the MTCC is the largest convention centre in Canada, fit for any global company event.

What Students Can Learn: First opened in 1984, with the event conducted by Queen Elizabeth II herself, the MTCC hosts various events and conventions that students from any level and program of interest can find interest in.

Popular annual program events hosted at the MTCC include the Student Life Expo, Art Toronto, iTech, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebrations, and more.

Cool Facts:

  • The South building of the MTCC was opened by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1997
  • To host the largest events in the world, there are over 11,000 hotel rooms within a mile of the convention centre
  • The MTCC serves an average of 3836 cups of coffee per day, or 1.4 million cups of coffee per year

2) Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Ripley's Aquarium TorontoWhat It Is: Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is one of the three huge aquarium parks owned by the Ripley group. Located at the heart of Toronto, Ontario, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is a popular destination for interest in marine life, featuring various interactive classes and programs that allow students and visitors to interact with different aquatic animals.

What Students Can Learn: This aquatic haven offers a multitude of plans for students and tour groups. Popular activities include the daily dive show, aquarist talks, and various camps they have available for students of all ages, from 5 to 18.

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada also features meet-and-greet experiences such as the stingray experience and discovery dive. Photography classes are available for up-and-coming biologists and photographers who have a keen eye for detail.

Cool Facts:

  • Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is the largest indoor aquarium in Canada
  • They also host the biggest shark collection in North America, including fan favorites such as the hammerhead shark to more obscure ones like the green sawfish
  • Indoor exhibits hold hundreds and thousands of liters of water. The Canadian Waters gallery totals over 665,000 liters of water, while The Great lakes and Pacific Kelp exhibits use 100,000 liters and 360,000 liters of water respectively

1) Niagara Falls

Niagara FallsWhat It Is: If you’re visiting Toronto and you’re staying for enough days to have an experience to last a lifetime, then head on over to Niagara Falls and witness one of the greatest natural wonders of North America.

Head on over to Clifton Hill before or after your visit, and check out the rides, attractions, and world-famous restaurants and awesome meals to keep you and your group entertained.

What Students Can Learn: A visit to Niagara Falls is as much a learning experience as it is an experience to carry with you for the rest of your life.

With various activities around the falls – Horseshoe Falls being the most impressive of the three falls, Maid of the Mist boat ride to truly get into the roar of the falls, Welland Ship Canal (one of the greatest man-made wonders of the world), the Old Fort Niagara steeped in history – any group of students can find immense value with a visit to these amazing falls.

Cool Facts:

  • Niagara Falls is monstrous in size, with over 4 million cubic feet of water falling over its crest every single minute
  • The Falls were formed by 10,000-year-old glacier activity
  • It is estimated that Niagara Falls will erode away in just about 50,000 years, giving present visitors just enough time to check it out

Plan Your Educational Tour with Junior Tours Today

Junior Tours prides itself on being a family-run company with decades of expertise in building customized tours for schools and groups looking for educational travel opportunities. Our experts understand the value of tours that emphasize the fun of learning about local culture, art, history, and more.

Junior Tours is the ideal organizer for the most complete and fulfilling tours you and your students will ever enjoy. Read our site to find out more, or contact us at 1-800-631-2241 today!

high school tour abroad

How do Educational Tours Abroad Benefit High School Students?

By Travel

While all educational tours can be beneficial to students, what is the difference between an educational tour to your local museum, and an educational tour abroad? It’s simple: There are tons of advantages to educational tours abroad, making your students better people for the rest of their lives.

So how exactly does an international school trip help high school students? The differences in experience and value between an educational tour to a museum or research center an hour from the school and an educational tour that takes your students to the other side of the world are immense.

Students grow up – learning independence, becoming aware of their role in their greater society; they learn to see the world through a different culture while simultaneously appreciating and understanding their own culture and identity; they learn empathy, they understand their potential, and of course, they learn the value of lifelong learning.

Let’s go into these one by one.

 1) You Grow Up in Ways You Just Can’t Back at Home

Let’s start with the most important thing you should be hoping your child will experience: growing up. We can grow up in a few different ways – we grow up as individuals who can stand on our own two feet; we grow up as people who learn that time is a finite resource; we grow up as students who use what they learn actively instead of just letting their learning go to waste in their heads.

Going abroad forces students to grow up in ways that you just don’t experience with local field trips. There are a few reasons for this.

  • You are alone and learn how to be alone: Technically, you should never really be alone on your overseas school trip. But this might be the first time you have been so far away from your family. It is up to you to make sure you survive and have all the things you need – your passport, your documents, your baggage. You find yourself absolutely responsible for yourself, and for many students, their first international student travel trip without their family is the first time they taste the feeling of utter independence.
  • You see yourself as a part of the world, not a classroom: As a student, it can be easy to grow up thinking of rules as just things that your teachers and parents tell you to do. You behave because you have to, and the moment the teacher walks out of the classroom, you can do whatever you want. But something happens in a student’s head when they find themselves in a foreign country with less than a handful of chaperones to enforce the rules: the real world doesn’t have the same rules. You can be rowdy, loud, obnoxious – but now you realize that you don’t want to be on this adventure.
  • You bond socially with your peers for more than just homework or activities: You fall into routines in school, and for everyone outside of your social circle of shared interests and community, you might just see them as other people on campus. An international trip pushes students into the unfamiliar, and only in the unfamiliar can you see every student as part of your group. You bond with people you might have only ever exchanged a few words with, and find yourself making friends with people even if you have zero obvious common interests. You learn the importance of making friends actively, instead of simply passively falling into social circles that make sense. 

2) You Understand Your Culture and Heritage by Immersing Yourself in Another

In the United States, we wonder a lot if we have our own culture. Some like to call us a post-modern melting pot with no single unifying culture; others like to claim that we have no culture at all.

And the problem with believing that we have no culture of our own is that it makes it more difficult to identify ourselves with a national heritage; and without a national heritage, it makes it more difficult to understand who we are as people.

But ask any visitor who has explored the United States, and they would tell you that we do have a very distinct culture. However, too often we fail to recognize or acknowledge our culture, mostly because we don’t have much to compare it with. With an educational tour abroad, you can give your students their first taste of another culture, and all the learning that comes with it.

By immersing a student in a foreign culture, they see the world in a different way for the first time in their lives. The different language, cuisine, traditions, art, and even common temperament in another place – all of these combine to create a cultural punch in the gut, so much so that many students can feel absolutely culture shocked by a single trip to a contrasting culture.

And this is a good thing. It is crucial in a student’s understanding of the greater world to see that our personal realities and ways of thinking can be shaped by the culture we grow up in. We also make students further realize the aspects of their own American culture that they can hold onto as a part of who they are, instead of taking their own identity for granted.

High schoolers on a trip to Rome3) You Realize That Life and Learning Are Not Mutually Exclusive

As a student, your life consists of blocks, classes, and assignments, all rigorously tethered to a schedule that sets a purpose for every minute you find yourself in school (and even after!).

While this form of education is effective at getting the most out of every school day – maximizing the amount of educational content a student is fed everyday – it also unfortunately gives students the impression that there is a distinct wall between the regular life they know and love, and the strict learning of their school.

And this is problematic. There is endless research supporting the idea that classroom learning, while pragmatic and simple, is not enough on its own to properly educate a student. Experiential learning, engaged learning, and personalized learning are just a few alternative education strategies proposed in recent years, strategies that focus more on building the student’s willingness to learn, rather than tackling the issue of learning itself.

Simply put, a student needs to learn that learning and life aren’t two separate things, and one of the best ways to teach that is through student travel. Student tours abroad combine a few distinct learning elements: absolute immersion into an entirely new world and culture, a path that concentrates on learning throughout the student travel trip and adventure, and the student’s personal excitement with their friends and peers.

These three aspects combined are perfect for teaching a student that learning can be fun, learning can be engaging, and learning can be something they do not just do in the classroom when a teacher is watching, but all the time. If you can teach a student to fall in love with learning, you can set them on a positive path for life.

4) You Set Yourself Up for the Future

The benefits of an early travel educational experience are unrivaled by any other activity a school can offer their students. Studies have found that students with travel experience abroad grow up to become more innovative, more creative, more outgoing, and more compassionate.

In one study by a global market research firm, it was discovered that adults who had experienced educational travel as teenage students earned an average salary 12% higher than their peers in similar positions.

But why is this, exactly? There are a few possible reasons to explain the added benefit and future success of early educational travel.

  1. You become less afraid of your potential: If you have never left your small town or city, it can be easy to fall into the belief that your home is the whole world. You know this isn’t true, but you simply don’t imagine yourself doing anything else or being anywhere else. If you experience travel, you open yourself up to a treasure chest of possibilities: different places to study, to apply for scholarships, to work, and to live.
  2. You realize the unfamiliar isn’t bad: Too often we are taught that discomfort and unfamiliarity are things we should shun away, but this isn’t always the case. In our efforts to protect students from the dangers of the world, we inadvertently teach them to reject possible doors down better paths. Students who experience the discomfort and unfamiliarity of being in a different place are more willing to try new things and be better, bigger people.
  3. You want more for yourself: And of course, when you get a taste of the world, you never want to stop tasting it. Students who experience student tours abroad learn to want more for themselves – they want to see more, learn more, and experience more, and they learn that only through hard work and focus can they become the people they want to be for themselves, and they reap the benefits of these desires.

5) You Care More About the World

And finally, perhaps the most important point: you wake up. For some students, you start to care. Getting out of your personal bubble by immersing yourself in a foreign land can wake students up from their daily routines and schedules, and teach them to find interest in whatever they want.

Students who travel have been found to have higher levels of empathy and understanding for other people, and they also get the opportunity to develop personal networks around the world.

In many ways, educational travel overseas is like opening Pandora’s box: as soon as a student tries it for the first time, the benefits and learning they experience will never be forgotten.

Take Your High School Students on an International Educational Trip with the Pros

At Junior Tours, we have planned and organized countless field trips over the last several decades, both within and outside of the United States. We prioritize student engagement and learning, ensuring that every trip is absolutely fit for the interests, desires, and size of your group of students. As a family-run American company, we understand the value of personalizing every trip so you get the most out of your Junior Tours experience.

Interested in learning more about our educational tours, or just need some student travel tips? Contact us today or fill in our online request form, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

four girls smiling on a field trip

Is There a Difference Between a Field Trip and an Educational Tour?

By Travel

There is nothing more exhilarating for most students than hearing the news of an upcoming school trip. It gives students a reason to get out of the classroom, and educators a way to teach and connect with their students on another level. But what kind of trip should you take your students on – a field trip or an educational tour – and is there a difference?

While it might just be an issue of semantics for some people, there is an important difference between field trips and educational tours, particularly those organized by Junior Tours.

Field trips are the typical school trips that most schools plan for their students, lasting anywhere from a few hours to 1-2 days while visiting certain learning sites.

Educational tours are professionally planned tours that have been finely crafted based on the needs of the entire group.

Essentially, an educational tour is an enhanced and upgraded version of the traditional field trip.

While the difference between a field trip and an educational tour may seem unimportant, there are many ways that a professional tour organizer such as Junior Tours can enhance the learning and overall experience of any trip, making it well worth the time and money of every student involved.

Educational Tour VS Field Trip: What’s the Difference?

We’ve all been on field trips, whether as students or educators, and we know the typical expectations that come with school trips. Typical school field trips include:

  • The local museum for sciences or arts
  • A visiting play or musical performance
  • A local university or research center, with an expert or professional

While children always enjoy getting out of the classroom and experiencing something new, it can be difficult to truly engage with the entire group at all times. In many cases, school field trips end up with most students goofing around, not listening to the tour guide, or getting in trouble in unique ways.

And it isn’t always fair to educators to expect them to plan and execute the perfect field trip, as these skills aren’t in their everyday job description. Teaching a classroom of students and implementing a successful field trip are worlds apart.

An educational tour is like a field trip, but handled professionally and every aspect made perfect. With an educational tour planned by professional organizers, schools and teachers can focus on their roles – teaching – while the organizers focus on everything else that children want from a school trip – exciting destinations, interesting guides, awesome activities, effective planning for every step of the trip, and so much more.

Many schools do not realize how much value a professional educational tour organizer can add to a school trip, turning it from just another trip to something that will act as a key part of every school year.

Here are just a few of the places you might visit during an educational tour with Junior Tours:

  • Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal
  • The Plains of Abraham in Quebec City
  • Concerts, performances, and music festivals in North America and Europe
  • Rockefeller Center in New York City
  • Niagara Falls
  • Improv Chicago
  • Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta
  • Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London

And so many more. Whether for the sciences, business, culture, or the arts, no two educational tours are exactly alike, as each trip is planned with your group’s needs and expectations in mind.

What Can You Expect from an Educational Tour?

How exactly does a Junior Tours educational tour differentiate from a typical school field trip and what can you expect from it? A tour planned by our veteran tour organizers shares the same objectives as typical field trips, but then we do so much more:

Field Trip ObjectivesEducational Tour Objectives
A learning experience outside the classroom settingA learning experience outside the classroom setting
An opportunity for students to observe and interact with their learning in the context of the real worldAn opportunity for students to observe and interact with their learning in the context of the real world
A potential one-on-one or group interaction with an expert or professional in their field of interestA potential one-on-one or group interaction with an expert or professional in their field of interest
An extended out-of-the-classroom activity that forces students to develop social learning skills
A full itinerary of sites and activities over several days that introduces children to a habit of 24/7 learning
A private trip for your group alone that ensures students will bond with their peers and teachers
A hyper-focused tour determined by your chosen subject matter to keep students excited and engaged for the entire trip
A school trip students can share with each other as a treasured memory for life

Educational tours offer the full experience for students and educators who are looking for something more than just the average community school trip. With our tour, groups can pick their journey based on their subject interest, with popular choices of:

  • Drama
  • Art
  • Music & Band
  • Foreign Language
  • Business
  • Fashion
  • African American
  • History

You can see that the difference between a field trip and an educational tour can be found at the most foundational level: the purpose for the trip, and the direction you build from there. With typical field trips, most schools will pick a local area of interest and try to explain a reason for how students can benefit from visiting it.

With professionally organized educational tours, the organizer and the school will discuss and pinpoint the desired learning experience, and then curate a trip around it to maximize what the students can learn. This means that we focus on enriching a student community with education-focused events, rather than building it the other way around.

How Students and Educators Benefit from Educational Tours Over Field Trips

Students – As a student or parent who might be interested in attending one of our educational tours, you might be looking to see how you or your child will most benefit from this journey. Here’s what you can expect as a student:

Out-of-Classroom Learning: Students will see how to truly learn in context, taking their learning out of the classroom and into the real world. They will see the purpose of what they are learning, and its impact on and how it works in the world.

Social Education Habits: Students will develop social education habits that they can carry with them beyond the classroom and their high school or university lives.

Maximum Engagement: Students will enjoy a trip that is curated to maximize their engagement, excitement, and learning, teaching that learning can be fun 24/7.

Educators and Schools: As an educator or school administrator, you might be interested in the tour but don’t know if our terms are worth the additional planning over a traditional field trip. Here are ways our planning and expertise can help you:

Your Choice of Involvement: A fully planned and organized trip. It is up to the school or educator to decide how much involvement they want with the planning and organizing of the trip; if they would like Junior Tours to handle every part of the itinerary, or if they want to be involved in crafting the perfect tour. We report to you and work on your terms.

As Easy as Possible: We make it as easy as possible to help get all your students and parents on board with the tour – we offer free promotional materials such as posters, flyers, and registration forms; professionally trained tour escorts to help hype up the tour 24 hours a day; complete planning of transportation, food, and first-rate hotel stays; and optional direct billing for your parents to pay directly online. And of course, no hidden costs are involved, with free scratch card fundraiser and scholarship suggestions if necessary.

Absolute Flexibility: We offer absolute flexibility with virtually every aspect of the trip. We only require a minimum group size of 20, while larger groups are gifted cheaper pricing. Trips don’t have to be approved by school boards or affiliated with any school, and travel dates can be picked at any time of the year. Whether this is your first time or tenth time organizing a trip for students, don’t sweat it: we can help you with everything.

The Educational Tour Experience with Junior Tours

Ready to start planning an educational tour to share to your group of students? You can start today – just fill in your information on our request form and we will send you over a free itemized price quote and itinerary within 72 hours. Our required information for now includes:

  • Potential destinations
  • Type of group
  • Mode of transportation
  • Number of days
  • Approximate travel date
  • Estimated group size
  • Goals for your trip
  • School or group name and address

Based in New Jersey, Junior Tours has been helping schools and student groups tour around the country and the wider world since 1967, and we pride ourselves on our history and tradition as a family-run business with an impeccable reputation. Students and teachers who travel with us are guaranteed to have an amazing time – just read our reviews.

Have a question, need some tips? Contact us through our site or call us at 1-800-631-2241 (for group leaders) or 1-800-237-4797 (for students and parents) and let us know how Junior Tours can help your school or community today!

five smiling students looking at earth globe

How Can Educational Tours Improve the Quality of Education?

By Travel

As an educator or school administrator, it is always your responsibility to be looking for new ways to improve and enrich the education of your students. With most students today having complete access to computers, phones, and the internet, finding new tools to improve the education quality your classes offer is vital towards keeping students interested and engaged. One of those tools is educational tours.

So how exactly do educational tours improve a student’s quality of education? Educational tours offer a variety of benefits that improve education quality, with subject-centered tours, instilling lifetime learning habits, helping students understand the importance of learning in context, developing their social education tools, and giving them a true perspective of the path they might want to take.

In this article, we will discuss the importance for educators and schools to look outside the classroom to create more fulfilling learning experiences, and why educational tours are essential towards holistic education.

Why Schools Need to Start Looking Outside the Classroom

Traditional education has taught us that the more time spent in the classroom, the more children can learn. Many supporters of classroom-intensive learning advocate for fewer extracurricular activities and more classroom hours hitting the books.

But recent studies have found that sticking to the classroom might not be as education and fulfilling as some teachers would tell you. Here are a few disadvantages backed by research to schools that prioritize classrooms and grades as the defining factor in a student’s education:

Grades Tied to Self-Esteem

A paper from the University of Michigan found that roughly 80% of students view their grades as a foundation of their self-worth. Researchers found that school grades were the most relevant indicator of predicting a student’s sense of self-worth or self-esteem.

Regardless of other factors, a student with lower grades would generally have lower self-esteem than their peers with higher grades. Children with lower self-esteem caused by grades were reported to have greater anxiety, distractions, and memory problems caused by the stress.

Increase of Cheating

It should come as no surprise that schools that put a greater emphasis on grades and tests generate more stress and anxiety in their students to score higher on every exam. While some might see this as a kind of tough love, there are lines that show we might be pushing students too far, to the point that they choose to cheat instead.

According to one study, it was found that 64% of high school students admitted to cheating on a test. And perhaps the most interesting finding is the way students rationalize their behavior – they still see themselves as honest people, and think of their behavior as an exception to the rule.

Another study found that students who are praised for their intelligence are more likely to cheat than others, with researchers speculating this is caused by the greater expectations on the smarter students.

Standardized Testing Isn’t Always Objective

There is more than just a correlation between minority or underprivileged students and low standardized test scores. The American standardized testing system is a decades-old system, with the standards set in a time that was much more culturally and racially subjective than today. Some attributes and understandings are simply privileged in these tests, with others denigrated.

Standardized tests do not truly assess a student’s general intelligence; they simply assess how much a student understands of the standards of the test’s creators. There is a reason why SAT scores have almost always been found to favor students from wealthy Caucasian families, with access to tutors and technology.

It is clear that much needs to be addressed with our general understanding of and reliance on testing, classroom-focused activities, and grades. While greater changes to our schooling system and the culture of schooling will take years to implement, there are ways schools and educators can start changing the way they educate students and getting outside the classroom today. One of those ways is with educational tours.

What Exactly are Educational Tours?

Educational Tours from Junior Tours are exceptional travel experiences tailored for the specific educational needs of any student group. They can help students understand the purpose of their learning, and see their education in the true context in which it is used.

With a fully customized, planned, and detailed itinerary, any school and their student group can turn the boring annual school field trips into an educational tour that students will remember for years.

What makes educational tours different from field trips? Field trips might be a lackadaisical bus ride to the museum, or maybe an overnight trip to a national park. But our tours are finely crafted to give students and their teachers and parents or chaperones a truly revelatory learning experience, with a tour guide assisting and guiding you every step of the way.

How Educational Tours Improve Education Quality

young student girl drawing a travel trip landmarkAs a school or teacher, your top priority should be helping students get the most out of their school-related activities. So how exactly do educational tours help to improve the quality of their education?

1) Subject-Centered Tours

The benefit of working with Junior Tours year after year is that you never have to look elsewhere for a different kind of trip. Junior Tours works overtime to provide any kind of trip you and your students might be looking for, making your desired subject the central theme of every educational tour.

At Junior Tours, we offer the following tours by subject:

  • Drama: New York, Chicago, Toronto
  • Art: New York, Chicago, Washington D.C.
  • Music & Band: Concert Performance Music Festival
  • Foreign Language: Montreal/Quebec, New Orleans, Chicago, New York
  • Business: New York, Chicago, Atlanta
  • Fashion: New York
  • African American: Atlanta, Washington D.C., New York
  • History: New York, Williamsburg, Washington D.C., Boston, Philadelphia

Every item on the itinerary works towards enriching the learning experience related to your group’s chosen subject. We understand how important it is to keep students engaged and interested, which is why we will work with you to make sure that the entire trip is as enlightening and relevant as you and your students want.

2) 24/7 Learning Experience

There is no greater commodity than time, and the more people involved, the more important every minute becomes. With dozens of students, teachers, and chaperones involved, it is crucial to make sure that every minute of a field trip is planned and executed as effectively as possible.

Our leadership at Junior Tours understands the stress and difficulty of managing a large group of students outside of campus (believe us – we’ve been there). With years of tours under our belts, we know exactly how to manage and move a group from one place to another, turning what could be a slow and tedious field trip into an efficient 24/7 learning experience for everyone involved.

Educational tours from Junior Tours come with professionally trained tour escorts that will lead, guide, and motivate your students and chaperones 24 hours a day. Trips like these can’t survive on their educational benefits alone – students need to see and follow the enthusiasm and energy of a seasoned pro tour guide, who is not only an expert in their chosen subject matter, but also an expert at getting the most out of every situation.

Rest assured – you can promise your parents that every hour their child spends away from home will be an hour well spent. Not only will we make sure that every waking hour is spent learning, but that your students will start to see that learning is a lifelong, 24/7 quality endeavor.

3) Learning in Context

As great as it can be to sit in a quiet classroom setting and lecture students for hours with a whiteboard and their textbooks, with zero distractions and opportunities to waste time, an academic experience that offers nothing else can be detrimental to a student’s overall growth.

The biggest problem with classroom learning is that it is all, simply put, by the book. It creates students who are “book smart”; students who understand the concept of what they are learning, but not always the purpose of it.

Perhaps now more than ever, it is crucial for students to understand the meaning of context. That certain social truths aren’t always as objective as they might seem on paper, and that understanding how learning can be differently interpreted from the true context of a situation is incredibly important for a quality understanding.

With some subjects, the facts and numbers aren’t nearly enough, because facts and numbers can’t illustrate the sobriety or severity of what the students are learning about. And this is something students need to learn before heading off to university.

Whether it’s understanding the true importance of a historical event by visiting sites and seeing the historical settings, or putting your students in the actual city or culture where fashion, business, drama, and art thrive to give them the full taste of what they are learning, learning in context for students who are growing up in the disconnected digital age has never been more relevant.

4) Social Education

The smartest people are not always the most well-rounded people. Some people are geniuses in school, but never truly show it or live up to their potential because they are lacking in other areas of their growth.

Perhaps they never truly learn how to work with others at school, or they lack the right motivation, or how to transpose their learning and understanding into situations that involve group dynamics. If a school produces countless students that are incredibly smart but lack the social tools to apply their education to helping their community or even themselves, is that school actually helping their students?

Educational tours help students learn outside of the traditional classroom setting, which for some smarter students, becomes a handicap over the years. By taking your students on a field trip where they are forced to move, interact, search, ask, and see for themselves, we help your students develop or improve the social tools they need to truly apply their education in an active way.

Produce students who are not only intelligent but socially capable of applying their intelligence towards helping themselves and those around them. In a world growing increasingly digital and alone, students have to be shown that there is more to learn beyond the screen and the classroom by interacting with each other and the world around them.

5) Real Perspective

There is no denying that our students are the future. And one of the best things a school can do for its students is helping to set them on the path they might want to take. With an educational tour, we can set the gears in motion that will help your students kickstart the rest of their lives. While some students may just see the trip as a fun educational activity, other students will see it as the first look into their dream careers (whether they know it or not).

Educational tours offer students the real, in-your-shoes perspective of what they might want to study or become. It’s a kind of personal growth that is impossible to experience in the classroom or online, something that you can’t read about or watch on a screen.

A student might believe all their life that they want to pursue theater or music or art, but it isn’t until they are standing in the place where their passion is actually performed that they can realize whether this dream is right for them. Whether it’s asking for tips from people in the careers they might want to pursue, or just seeing the setting for themselves, the experience can be eye-opening for students young and old.

It’s a revelatory feeling that can make or break a student’s dreams, filling them with motivation or making them question their choices, but ultimately they will be thankful for the experience.

Start Planning Your Educational Tour with Junior Tours Today

Junior Tours has been offering tours for over the last 50 years, and we pride ourselves on providing countless students with learning experiences they can carry with them for a lifetime.

We customize and personalize every trip with the love and care necessary to create something truly memorable, and with no hidden costs and affordable prices, we make sure every student can take part in our trips. Keeping your students excited and involved doesn’t always have to involve technology – with Junior Tours, we can give your students a quality trip they will never forget.

Contact us at 1-800-631-2241 or send us your information and request for a student tour quote today.