“She certainly has a deeper understanding and appreciation of the world,” says Jane Ritcey, whose daughter Alexandra spent a year at the West Island College’s International Class Afloat program. “They have seen everything from palaces to poverty.”
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Along with that cultural understanding is often the chance to learn another language and increase their overall communication skills. Living abroad can create greater independence and allow your children to problem solve and make decisions on their own. Similar experiences are learnt at boarding school, an experience many international schools offer.
Travel the world on a tall ship, or spend winter term in London. Visit the natural, historical, artistic, and scientific wonders of Europe (including Poland), Australasia, and Central America. Live and learn within a developing community, or spend a term living and studying on the campus of Oxford University. That’s just a small taste of what international travel schools offer, and for periods ranging from a single term to the entire high school career.
Certainly, the options offered by world travel schools are as vast as they are impressive. These are schools that build their programs beyond the traditional bricks-and-mortar model. Some move frequently from destination to destination, building lessons around them while also providing the full range of secondary instruction. Others are less peripatetic, moving only between terms, allowing students to spend a period of months living, learning and engaging with a single community. In all cases, students move between destinations as a group, providing a sense of continuity and allowing for the development of meaningful peer and mentor relationships. Throughout, they are supervised with the same round-the-clock attention that you’d find in any boarding school setting.
It’s not for everyone, though certainly no instructional model is. That said, travel schools offer more than just a chance to appease a sense of wanderlust. Whether travelling abroad to help a community in need, to build language skills, or to develop a truly international sensibility, these programs provide unequaled opportunities to broaden knowledge and understanding through first-hand, lived experience.
Boarding outside Canada
The appeal of boarding outside Canada is considerable, both for the quality of the academics and for the richness of the cultural experience. Being in Europe or Asia, for example, means being proximate to a wealth of languages, ideas, places, and people. Closer to home, the United States is home to some of the oldest and most respected boarding schools on the continent, and some of the most progressive schools in the world.
All participate in a robust, world-class academic tradition. With students enrolling from around the world, learning from each other, discussing their backgrounds and sharing an understanding of their place in the world, schools outside Canada are able to offer a broad range of opportunity and independence that isn’t available at home. Along with that cultural understanding is often the chance to develop language and communication skills.
Learning through a global perspective
A majority of boarding schools within Canada are, by their nature, global institutions, drawing students from throughout North America and around the world. As such, they offer a global experience while remaining close to home. When students arrive they join a community that, given the diversity within the student body, naturally adopts and promotes a global perspective. In addition, many schools have developed robust programs to capitalize on that perspective and develop the skills necessary for participation in international business, development, and philanthropy.