Cummings: Travel is the Ultimate Education


Emma Cummings

A December view of Wicklow Mountains, located in County Wicklow, Ireland.

Emma Cummings, Reporter

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.”

These were the iconic words of American writer Mark Twain, illustrating the importance of travel. After my trip to Ireland this winter, I think Twain is absolutely right. 

When it comes to education, travel isn’t the first source that comes to mind. For some, they might first think to turn on the TV to their local news or travel channels, look at newspapers or magazines, or most commonly, they might go straight to Google. 

According to NationsClassroom, “Long after their travels, 60% of students who’ve participated in group tours to other countries report an increased desire to learn, grow and explore more – as well as an enhanced desire to continue traveling.”

Getting experience outside of the house and classroom can benefit students’ education in various different ways. Karen Sandor, a Nonnewaug Spanish educator, has lived in many different countries growing up, ranging from Germany, Italy, Spain, and now the United States.

“I fully support traveling in education. I think it’s so important and such a dynamic experience,” said Sandor. “I was lucky enough to live in many countries when I was younger, so it helps me understand other cultures. It helps you see things that you read about and experience things that you might learn about in a classroom. So any time that students get to travel with their family, friends, or school, I’d say take advantage of it.”

Travelling doesn’t only enable students to learn and adventure on their own, but also provides the opportunity to bring their experiences and stories back to the classroom to share. 

NHS junior Amy Byler explored many different Costa Rican sites, giving her the opportunity to bring her experiences back to the classroom. (Amy Byler)

“Going to Costa Rica was a great experience because I was immersed in a whole different culture that I had only ever learned in Spanish class. It was really interesting to apply what I learned in school to the real world,” said Amy Byler, NHS junior who traveled to Costa Rica in the summer of 2022. “I also think my experiences there helped me gain a better understanding of how Spanish is used in real life, which definitely helped me in class.”

Learning about different places and cultures in school might spike student interest and foster a desire to explore the topics students have learned about. 

Don’t only take the internet’s word for the importance of getting yourself out there. After spending time in Ireland, I was able to bring many different things back to the classroom myself. From learning minimal amounts of the Gaelic language, to visiting different famous monuments and experiencing different aspects of Irish culture, my love for travel has grown significantly from my adventures. 

Let’s reaffirm Twain’s adage, prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness don’t stand a chance when exposed to the light of travel.

This is the opinion of Chief Advocate reporter Emma Cummings.