The map of the world in the Global Leadership Institute offices gives would-be travelers some locations to aim for.

Embry Hollowell

Travel gives students more than just memories

May 8, 2019

Not only can traveling around the globe improve performance in the classroom, it also expands students’ overall life skills.

Typically, experiencing different cultures at a fairly young age tends to broaden one’s worldwide view. According to an online article from the WYSE Travel Confederation, more than half of children who traveled achieved better grades and 80% thought that educational travel sparked greater interest in what they were taught in school. In addition to these interesting statistics, the Travel Confederation also found that adults who experienced domestic education trips during their youth earn $5000 more or 12% greater income than those who took no trips.

Every year Jackson Prep offers approximately four to five trips. Some of these trips include Latin teacher Ms. Beth Watts’ annual trip to Italy, English teacher Ms. Jessica Wilkinson’s trip to Scotland, GLI Director Col. William Merrell’s trips to countries all across the world, and a number of others.

Colonel Merrell, Ms. Wilkinson, and Ms. Watts all recommended that, if given the opportunity, students should definitely go on one of the many trips Prep offers. Specifically, Ms. Wilkinson said, “Traveling makes things more real. It opens your eyes to a world that’s different than the one you know.”

You understand things better, become a critical thinker, and, most importantly, gain perspective.”

— Col. William Merrell, GLI Director

For example, Ms. Beth Watts, assisted by English teacher Mr. Richard Younce, took seventeen students to Italy over Spring Break 2019. Trip participant Lilly Noble, a sophomore, said, “Traveling around the world really gives you a deeper understanding and appreciation for your education. When I went to Italy, I got to see and experience in real life the places I had read about in my history textbooks.” Lilly’s experience helps show that traveling does, in fact, improve one’s education and academic performance.

In addition to bettering students’ education, traveling also improves students’ leadership abilities and life skills. According to Colonel Merrell, who has taken students to locations as far as Japan, “If you travel as a student at Prep, you will start making connections. You understand things better, become a critical thinker, and, most importantly, gain perspective.”

Merrell also added that, when he takes groups of students on GLI trips, he assigns each one a leadership position, whether that be checking everyone’s passports each morning or making sure people are on time to each destination. He believes that these leadership roles will not only strengthen the students’ abilities to lead, but will also make them more independent. Similarly, Ms. Watts believes that, “Students are humbled when they travel abroad and they begin to recognize that their way may not be the only way or the right way.”

Overall, traveling has many positive effects on students and their academic abilities and life skills. All regions of the world are unique in their own way, whether that be cultures, geography, people, etc., and visiting these new places can broaden one’s horizons and help shape them into a better person.

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