How did schools have excursions during COVID-19?

Boarding. excursions during COVID-19

Excursions are a key way for students to develop an understanding of the real world in a less structured environment. Schools have added another dimension to classroom learning through excursions during COVID-19.

Xavier College, Victoria considers international education to be paramount to their fabric as a college and community.

One of our focuses is to reach for a greater understanding of others, for deep connections and continued discoveries of varied cultural backgrounds so our students can be men for others. They can develop the best version of themselves by reflecting on their own identity in a larger context.

International Education Coordinator at Xavier College, Marie-Pierre Deleplanque

What is a school excursion?

School excursions are trips outside of the classroom designed for students to learn in a new setting.

School excursions allow students to study, observe and interact with different settings.

The benefits of student exchange in High School

Being a high school exchange student offers many valuable experiences and opportunities.

The insistent and enthusiastic way students today are asking about when the international and interstate experiences will start again says paramount about how eager they are to participate in those essential excursions.

Educational benefits of student exchange in High School

Student exchange and excursions in general give students the opportunity to learn beyond the classroom. A U.S study revealed that 59% of students who attend field trips have higher grades than their peers.

Visual learners can build confidence through practical engagement. In addition to being a learning tool, school excursions can boost student engagement and performance.

xavier college. excursions during COVID-19.

Additionally, students are exposed to learning or environments that they may consider for their future career.

Hands-on Learning through Excursions

Excursions are designed to reinforce principles and theories taught in the classroom.

Travelling, abroad or interstate, also opens our young men’s mind and allows them to put in practice and experience first hand what they are exploring in the classroom. It is somehow ‘immersed learning’, which is one of the greatest ways for tapping into breadth and depth and become life-long learners.

Experiencing learning concepts first-hand allows children to recall better through mental markers associated with sensory interactions.

Individual growth

Excursions and global travel in particular promotes personal growth.

Your child can broaden their perspectives and worldview which is linked to their personal development. A survey revealed that 74% of teachers organise school excursions for the personal development of students.

xavier college. excursions during covid-19.

According to the International Education Coordinator at Xavier College, Marie-Pierre Deleplanque, students feel similarly when reflecting on the unavailability of excursions during COVID-19.

The way they see it, ‘they have missed out on so many discoveries and connections with their peers and other cultures’.

Excursions allow children to interact with the world and learn in the community.

Our international program explores all areas of growth for our young people, from languages, academics and artistic, cultural, service and immersion and sport.

Approximately 89% of respondent students believe that field trips they took in school made them more inquisitive and engaged in the world around them.

International excursions and expeditions allow students to grow and learn about diverse cultures and strengthen their social and emotional development.

Developing a global mindset

Short-term study abroad and international education helps develop a global mindset.

It is essential in a world we all share to be able to see things through the lens of others, as it ultimately leads to a better humanity.  We are so blessed, as a Jesuit school, to be part of an international network of over 400 educational institutions at primary, high school and university level.

Developing a global mindset increases your child’s critical thinking skills. Your child will also gain a sophisticated global awareness and mindset for their future workplace.

Approximately 79% of students reported an increased cultural awareness following excursions and expeditions.

How did school have excursions during COVID-19?

Excursions during COVID-19 were put on hold due to student safety, social distancing and the closure of international borders.

Xavier College had to cease all international programs due to the high risks that were associated with COVID-19 and uncertainty about sudden border closures.

“We could not take the risk to see our students unable to come back home or to fall ill overseas in their exchange family”.

The Xavier community also felt the absence of international students visiting the school.

This has been true as well in terms of welcoming international students in the Xavier community and it has affected our Modern Languages students who always benefit immensely from their immersion in another language and culture and the long-term friendships they sometimes forge during exchanges.

Students have put friendships on hold without excursions during COVID-19

Marie-Pierre says students at Xavier have missed the mixing of cultures and connections during the pandemic.

I have seen many students in the past coming back thrilled by their adventure, having improved so much in speaking and so full of joy for the relationships they created.

The students are still growing and connecting through their use of native speakers online.

So what have schools been doing instead of excursions during COVID-19?

Xavier College has found digital technology central for connecting with others to replicate excursions during COVID-19.

In Languages, some educators have facilitated exchanges with French and Italian high school students via e-mails and videos. They presented themselves and their schools to each other and discussed their routine and issues with COVID and online learning.

In fact, the lockdowns have revealed many different ways to be in touch with overseas students.

Marie Pierre notes it does not equal discussions in person or replicate ‘the beauty of immersion with all its benefits.’

Have schools gone back to having excursions after COVID-19?

Schools are getting things back to ‘normal’ for students whilst staying safe and cautious.

Whilst being cautious and conscious of the logistical matters and the level of uncertainty still at hand, the College will re-embrace international experiences and exchanges. Besides the programs offered before the COVID pandemic in Asia, the United States and Europe, we are thinking on focusing also on interdisciplinary Tours in Europe and Australia.

Schools are also focusing on Australia’s diversity more

Let’s not forget that there are plenty of amazing places and communities to discover here in our country, including creating further bonds with our First Nations culture and people.

What have students learnt from excursions during COVID-19?

The international border closures of the past 2 years taught our school community how lucky we are to participate in the life of a College that normally offers so many varied opportunities to partake in international experiences. Our students have missed the deep connections and adventures they offer and with it came the realisation of how vital they are. At the same time it challenged us to look at international connections in a different way and revisit how technology keeps us internationally connected.

Marie-Pierre Deleplanque

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