Why It’s Important to Consider a Middle School Summer Travel Program?
Middle School students are right in the middle of turning into more independent people. Therefore, it is an excellent time to give them the right exposure to the world.
Many of these kids are leaving their parents and/or their neighborhoods for the first time. That is why, before signing your kids or students up for a middle school summer travel program, you need to make sure they are ready for the experience. There is nothing worse than having a bad experience due to feeling homesick, so if they have to wait a year, that is more than ok!
The right kind of middle school travel program will be highly structured and specially designed for children age 12 to 15. Also, the adults that will accompany the group should be teachers and chaperones that the children know well, trust, and feel comfortable with. We will give you our idea of what the trip should look like in the next segment of this post.
However, keep in mind that the trip must be fun, engaging, and developed in a safe environment. Only then will you ensure that the students will have the right kind of experience, that will turn them into more independent and confident people as it opens their horizons and gives them a bigger perspective on the world.
What Should a Middle School Trip be Like?
As we said before, the most important thing is that the trip is fun and safe, so the middle school children have a pleasant experience as they learn and discover the world. Nevertheless, here are our suggestions for an excellent middle school travel abroad program:
- The trip should be shorter than other trips, we recommend, 7 to 10 days. This way, the children will have the right amount of time away from home, and hopefully, homesickness never kicks in.
- The orientation and introduction period in the trip itinerary should be increased by one night or day, compared to trips organized for older children. This extra time will give students and teachers more time to assimilate into the culture and to get ready for their adventure.
However, this extra time should be used for learning experiences such as more time to practice the language, more inclusion activities, team-building activities, safety talks, and others that will give the children more tools to be happy and feel secure during their trip.
- If the trip includes homestays, make sure that the host homes are close by one another and also make sure that the host families keep very close contact with the adult chaperones and guides.
- Another suggestion is to keep students in pairs or small groups, especially in homestay experiences, so that they feel supported and comfortable.
- We find it is vital to include a lot more downtime in the itineraries for students as compared to itineraries for older students. This downtime will help the students recuperate their energy and have time to process and reflect upon the learning activities they have during their trip.
- Usually, during student travel programs the activities start on the early side and go on until dawn, but with smaller children like middle school students, we think it is important that the activities have later start times, and that bedtime is programmed earlier so that this can allow for more hours to sleep.
- When considering the learning activities, they must be both hands-on and experiential. Lectures and talks will not sync well with middle school students, they will get bored, and you will lose their attention. Middle school children need to be hands-on in order to learn.
- We at Costa Rica Explorations believe in the power of service projects. They are good not only for the hosts but especially for the students. Nonetheless, for middle school programs, those service projects should be half-days and/or filled with breaks. This way, you will make sure to keep the students focused, interested, and with a positive attitude.
- Make sure to find and work with a travel company that will be willing and happy to plan the travel itinerary jointly with middle school host teachers and chaperones. It is also important that this company helps you and your middle school students to begin familiarizing themselves with the program and its inclusions far before landing in your travel destination.
We at Costa Rica Explorations do that. Before the group arrives in Costa Rica, we always provide suggested pre-program topics and mini-lessons that teachers can cover with their students in preparation for their trip to Costa Rica.
Where to Go on a Summer Travel Program for Middle School Students?
Now comes the time to choose where to go for that summer travel program for your middle school students. It is a tough call since there are so many different destinations that offer student travel programs.
We have always suggested that the country that you choose should be politically and economically stable, to avoid any unexpected events as much as possible.
It is also a good thing if the destination you pick is prepared to serve the needs of tourists, therefore has good experience in service. A country where amenities and activities are well planned, fun, engaging, and exciting, but they respond to strict laws and operational rules. This will give you good peace of mind, knowing that you can count on quality and safety.
Costa Rica and Costa Rica Explorations for Middle School Student Travel Programs
We believe that Costa Rica is the perfect destination for your middle school student travel program. The country is not only prepared to give excellent quality services and unique experiences to tourists, but it is also a family-oriented country. While you travel around Costa Rica with your students, everybody will try to make sure your middle schooler will feel happy and safe during his or her stay.
Please browse through our website to find more information about traveling through Costa Rica with your students. We have prepared information about why to choose Costa Rica as your destination, how much a trip to Costa Rica could cost, Costa Rica’s Cultural and Education System, and many more.
We at Costa Rica Explorations have a great deal of experience organizing travel abroad student programs, and we have helped many middle school teachers and parents bring their children to Costa Rica.
We are prepared to work with the group’s goals & budget to include Homestays, Culture, and Service activities as well as several destinations inside the country to allow the students to experience the variety of different environments Costa Rica has to offer.
Please take the time to read our middle school itinerary trips. Think of them as “templates” that we can use to start planning together to plan your itinerary. We are here to tailor an itinerary to the desires and goals that you want to accomplish during your middle school students’ travel to Costa Rica.
Contact Us to Plan a Middle School Trip to Costa Rica
Mónica Quesada is an award-winning photojournalist from Costa Rica who loves to show off her country! That is why she has also worked as a photography tour leader since 2007 and she has been the leader of volunteering programs since a very young age. You can see her work at www.mqcphoto.com.