12 Aug How to plan a school trip abroad?
10 steps to organize a successful middle / high school trip abroad
You have made up your mind to plan a school trip abroad with your middle or high school students. But…Where should you start?
If you have no experience at all in organizing school trips abroad, this step-by-step guide is for you. Follow these simple steps to get started and make your first school trip abroad a true success!
#1 – Plan your school trip abroad ahead of time!
Planning a school trip abroad can be somewhat challenging. There are so many things to think about and to do before the big day. The project must be well thought out in order to be able to present it to the school, students and parents.
Rule number one is certainly to plan it as soon as possible! At Centro MundoLengua, we recommend you to start the process 8 months in advance, if possible.
With this in mind, it is always possible to plan a school trip abroad within a shorter time frame. At Centro MundoLengua, we have been organizing many successful study abroad trips at the very last moment. However, it is always better to plan it well in advance to avoid any unnecessary stress or rush.
#2 – Decide the objectives of the school trip abroad.
Why do you want to plan a school trip abroad? What are your educational goals? Do you want your students to boost their language skills through an immersion program? Do you want to teach them about a culture by exploring new places with different lifestyles, customs, and traditions that are difficult to cover during a normal language class period? Is your main goal to prepare them for their Spanish courses and exams, such as AP® Spanish language, AP® Spanish Literature, or IB Spanish? Are your students required to satisfy community service requirements or do you simply want them to make a positive impact on their host community?
The clearer your objectives, the easier it will be to recruit students and convince the school’s principal and the parents.
#3 – Choose the school trip destination.
Now that you have defined your education goals, you need to figure out the ideal destination to make that happen! All destinations have their own characteristics and advantages. Do some research to make an informed decision.
Some important questions you may ask yourself include:
- Which country/place is the safest for my students? Is there a good healthcare system should any of my students become sick?
- What is the food like in the country I am thinking about? What if my students have some food allergies?
- Is the weather hot or cold?
- What is the culture like in the country I am thinking about? Are people welcoming and tolerant?
- Are there any visa requirements for my students?
At Centro MundoLengua, we are specialized in organizing school trips in Spain. We offer different destinations according to the goals and profile of students. Contact us today to define together the destination that will suit you best!
#4 – Decide ideal dates.
The next step consists in defining the dates and the duration of your school trip abroad. You will need to consider the requirements of your school (e.g: exams, holiday season, etc.) and the dates of the school breaks. Generally speaking, many middle schools and high schools decide to travel on spring break or summer break (high season).
Depending on your budget, to benefit from better prices and avoid crowded tourist sites, it might be a good idea to organize a school trip abroad between September and March, during low season.
#5 – Find a study abroad provider for your school trip abroad.
Finding the right study abroad provider is probably the most important step to make your school trip abroad a true success.
Here are some pieces of advice to make the right choice:
- Make sure to read some reviews and ask for some references.
- For an authentic experience, look for a local company, instead of a big corporation. Make sure your money will stay in the host country!
- Find a travel company that will customize your program according to your needs and goals. Many study abroad providers don’t hesitate to mix school groups to save money, instead of providing genuine personalized programs. Focus on value for money, instead of just price.
- Check what the study abroad provider can organize for you. How much of the planning process will they handle? Can they include the whole package, including flight tickets, transportation, health insurance, accommodation, meals, activities, and excursions?
- Make sure to check what is included in your school trip. Don’t forget to read the fine print!
- Learn more about the study abroad provider team. Who are the leaders and teachers who will be with your students?
- Check how much help and assistance you can expect from the study abroad company before, during, and after the school trip abroad.
At Centro MundoLengua, we have been organizing school trips in Spain since 2005. Our satisfaction rates are very high. We are a local company and we partner with local businesses to create true enriching experiences and to make a positive impact on the local economy. Each one of our school trip abroad is 100% customized. We plan the detailed itinerary hand in hand with the schools we work with.
At Centro MundoLengua, we also take care of everything for you, from collecting payment and a passport copy of each student, to booking activities, to accompanying your students to the doctor should they need it! Our team of experts is here at every step of the way before, during, and after your school trip in Spain.
#6 – Get approval for the school trip abroad.
Getting the green light of the school’s principal can be a difficult task according to your school and /or school district policy regarding international school trips. Having a solid project, choosing a safe destination and traveling with a recognized travel company will definitely help in the process! Get prepared for all the questions the school board might have regarding the safety of the students, such as the adult to child ratio or emergency procedures.
At Centro MundoLengua, we can help you prepare a comprehensive safety plan and any other documentation required by your school or school district!
#7 – Spare interests among students and parents.
After your school has given you the go-ahead, you should start promoting your school trip. Make an announcement to your students during class, and ask your colleagues to do the same. Hang up posters in hallways, show videos of the destination, and hand out brochures to your students with the complete travel itinerary and inspiring photos! Make them dream to get them signed up!
Your study abroad provider, such as Centro MundoLengua, can provide you with the necessary promotional material.
You should also organize an informational meeting to get the parents on board, and address any concerns they may have. At Centro MundoLengua, we can attend the informational meeting, either in person, by Skype, or by phone to answer any questions students and/or parent might have.
#8 – Do the administrative work.
Your workload will depend on your study abroad provider.
At Centro MundoLengua, we take care of most of the organizational work for you. This can include the processing of payments for the program, which each student can take care of on his or her own online; this way, you don’t have to handle any money from them. This also includes the collection of each participant’s passport copy or the booking of flights through our partner company.
We may ask you to provide us with a list of program participants. This way, we can follow-up with you to make sure each student has correctly signed up. We may also require your help if an application form is not complete (e.g: missing application form, missing passport, missing payment, etc.).
#9 – Ask your student to apply for passport and visa (if needed).
For most school trips abroad, participants will need a valid passport.
It can take a lot of time to get a passport. Centro MundoLengua advises the participants to start the process as soon as possible. Students must ensure that they have a passport that will remain valid for the duration of the school trip abroad. It is advisable to have at least 6 months validity of the passport beyond the expected departure date.
According to their nationality, some students may also need to apply for a visa. At Centro MundoLengua, we can write an invitation letter to help them with the visa process.
#10 – Prepare your students for the school trip abroad.
Before the school trip abroad, you should make sure that your students are well prepared for the big day.
- It is very important to inform your students about program rules, such as curfew or zero tolerance policy regarding alcohol or use of illegal drugs.
- To avoid any culture shock, explain to them the main cultural differences. If your school trip will take place in Spain, here is an interesting article about cultural differences in Spain.
- Many of your students will probably ask you how and what to pack. Here is an example of packing list for a school trip to Spain.
Congratulations! You are now prepared for your school trip abroad! Have you decided to plan your school trip in Spain? At Centro MundoLengua, we are specialized in organizing customized middle school and high school trips in Spain. Let’s get to work on building the perfect program for your students! Contact us today. Also, here are some of our most popular school trips in Spain right now: