Is it possible to combine education and travelling?

The phrase “educational tourism” usually means trips abroad for studying. But is it a tourism? It is the question about which the educational organizations and travel agencies argue today. Anyway, the number of students going abroad to study constantly increases. The annual turnover of this market is estimated at more than 200 million euros. Therefore, the combination of education and travelling is not only possible – it becomes a more and more common phenomenon.

There are three directions of educational tourism:

  • language-learning tours;
  • sports and training;
  • professional education.

The first type is in the most demand. 

Language-learning tours 

Trips with studying foreign languages are intended for customers of different ages: from children and their parents, who buy tours in order to facilitate language learning, to adult entrepreneurs interested in colloquial business language for various negotiations. 

There are tourist programs for the kids from the age of 5, but such proposals do not have much demand so far. On the contrary, parents send 10-17 years old pupils to study abroad quite willingly. Tours have the following gradation by age: schoolchildren, students, adults (the latter accounts for 10% of the total flow).

The combination of training with rest and tourism in the country of a studied language provides very good results. Such tours are organized mainly in areas whose national languages are widely spoken in the world: England, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal.

Types of language courses:

  • intensive and general (standard);
  • business courses; 
  • preparation for international exams;
  • vacation (combination of entertainment with language learning);
  • training tete-a-tete and in a group;
  • academic courses aimed at entering a university.

Depending on the duration of a tour and the location of tourists, sports activities (tennis, horse riding, swimming, canoeing, etc.) can be included in the schedule. In general, a content of sports programs depends on the peculiarities of a school or college. There are often various contests and quizzes, which also indirectly push students to language practice during these events.

Foreign language courses in combination with sports become increasingly popular in the modern world (especially among the youth clientele). Group tours with accommodation in camps, campsites, colleges allow to learn a language among peers without detachment from a usual environment.  

Accommodation in families of local residents is the most preferable for individual tourists. This provides “compulsory” conversational practice, as well as “penetration into the spirit of a nation”. In addition, this option is often cheaper than hotel services are. If desired, older children may provide assistance in household duties to a family in which they live, and then the payment for housing will be practically reduced to nothing.

It is necessary to approach the selection of families in which students are accommodated particularly carefully. Tour operators conclude special agreements with them, according to which a family provides tourists with a separate room and breakfasts (in some cases, dinners too). Rest of the children is controlled by special managers. Usually, host families cooperate with tour operators for more than one year, have a good reputation and experience in care for guests.

The work of touristic-educational companies

When selecting the optimal training option for a particular traveler, it is important to assess his abilities (both educational and financial), desires, inclinations, knowledge of the specialization of the school and the requirements for admission. Such information is available only to experienced operators who have reliable partners accredited in national educational associations.

Search for the suitable tours takes a lot of time. For example, the first booking of the academic programs which begin in September falls on November of the previous year. As many companies note, most of the requests are submitted in March. It is important to accustom clients to prepare documents in advance is they want to obtain the desired option of education and residence.

Speaking about the trends of the modern tourist market, operators highlight the increased interest in Spain and France. Stable, but limited demand characterizes the academic programs in Switzerland. Moreover, students with French language prefer to travel to Switzerland rather than France. The US certificate and a good result of the TOEFL test enable the applicant to directly enter any Canadian university. 

In Germany, France, Spain, Austria, individual courses are popular. In comparison with group trips, they are much more effective, allow to fully immerse in the language environment, give the widest choice of different programs. Prestigious schools rigidly withstand national quotas. They cannot have a large number of students from one country. Many of them do not accept groups.

Individual programs are 20-30% more expensive than group tours, due to the quality of training, separate transfers, etc. To learn at these courses, students need sufficient knowledge of the language and experience of independent (without parents) trips abroad.

As for the directions of education, there is a growing demand for specialized programs, for example, on engineering, political science, design and other applied fields.

Of course, you can study in your native city. Surely, there are many language courses near your home. In addition, the Internet provides not only an opportunity to cooperate with helpful online projects like Pro-Papers paper writing service but also a chance to receive remote education at a foreign university.

But all this cannot be compared with a real presence in a new country, acquaintance with its sights, history and inhabitants. Life is too short to spend it on one spot. Do not miss the opportunity to enjoy vivid emotions and get useful knowledge while going on an educational trip!

Victoria Brewood

Hi I'm Victoria, a British girl from Manchester. After graduating from university I decided there was more to life than the hours between 9 and 5, so I packed my journalism degree into my suitcase to travel the world and find a way to make money at the same time. I now call London home, although I still travel whenever I can. I hope to inspire you to be your own boss, live life and see the world.

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