by Leslie Waller
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
― Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It
Thoughtfully engaged. Culturally aware. Community minded. As we think about what a graduate of The Habersham School ought to look like, student travel is one of the means for accomplishing this goal.
Here are 3 ways student travel develops graduates:
- Having a cup of coffee or a meal with someone of another culture gives the traveler an appreciation for people and rituals that vary from their own.
- The Humanities that have been read and studied come alive for the traveler. Imagine seeing the remains of the Acropolis and standing where the Apostle Paul spoke to the men of Athens. Consider walking into the coliseum where Christians were persecuted and gladiators entertained thousands of spectators. Picture yourself driving the Appian Way and descending into the Catacombs outside Rome. Stand in front of The Declaration of Independence and imagine John Hancock signing his name. Visit Mount Vernon and wrestle with the idea that a man who fought for freedom also had slaves. Imagine seeing a work by Michelangelo or Van Gogh in person rather than in a book.
- Independence and problem-solving skills are developed when the student travels. Buses and planes are late. Bodies get tired and museum tickets get lost. How does the traveler respond in such circumstances? The very act of traveling is a test of one’s patience and fortitude.
Allie Waller and Sara Delk, both Habersham graduates who participated in the Europe trip their junior year, could not recommend the trip more. Sara admitted that a large part of her decision to participate in this opportunity was because most of her friends were going, but that she thinks she “…still would have gone…even if some of my friends weren’t going to be there, because of the awesome opportunity I was presented with.”
For Allie, traveling to Europe with her class “sparked a love for international travel” that is leading her to move to Scotland this fall. “We made some of the best memories there,” she added. “If I had the opportunity I would [go again]. The whole process was growing. I strongly believe everyone should take any opportunity to go.”
Sara concurred, recalling her most memorable experience of the trip to Europe: “…When we were at the Temple of Poseidon in Greece overlooking the Aegean Sea, it was like I finally had a visual to put with all the great books we had read and all the history we had studied, because sometimes I forgot that those places are actually real and it was so cool to see them in person.”
As these two graduates testified, seeing the world leads to a deeper understanding of people and things beyond Savannah and our daily paths. Travelers are rewarded with a new appreciation for both other cultures and their own culture, fresh opportunities to build independence, and a beautiful time to strengthen friendships.