This is a great – cheap – way to “see” the world. It also makes a great Social Studies project!
I don’t remember much about my school years, but when I was in 7th grade, my social studies teacher “took” us to Mexico. During our class time for a period of time – I think maybe 4 weeks – we watched travel videos, looked at maps, pictures, learned about the culture, tried authentic foods, and was able to touch and feel goods that he had picked up from his travels there. We in turn used special color-coded journals to write down what we “did” and what we thought. Every Friday we handed the journals in, and he would read over them, grade them, and then return them the next Monday so we could add to it the next week.
I don’t remember his name, but I remember that he seemed to want to open the world up to us. And for that I am grateful. We moved soon after that project was completed so I don’t know if he took his students on other adventures around the globe, I would hope so. I truly enjoyed it.
Back then – the ’90’s was a lot different than it is now. We had movies, maps, books and pictures to gain information. Now you can turn on your computer, and in a matter of seconds, you can be anywhere in the world. Moving down the streets in some rural village in the middle of a distant country just like you were there.
I will admit that nothing can beat being somewhere to enjoy the experience of travel and the diversities of culture, but this is close. And with everything going on in the world, not to mention the gas prices that are on a steady uphill climb – it can be a close second. And now, another “benefit” (for lack of a better word), is that since the pandemic, a good portion of museums, aquariums, even the Vatican has virtual visits. And if you want more of a guided tour you can sign up for virtual trips. Just put in “virtual traveling” into any search engine and rummage thru the results. Some do have a fee, but most are free.
So why write about this? For one, I am starting to make up my daughters’ schedule for the next school year. And it is something that I would like to do with her, maybe not as involved as it was when I was a kid, but maybe somewhere new every week to get a feel of what’s beyond our little world.
And two, to mention it to those who are a little wanderlust, who are unable to travel at the moment for whatever reason. When I was working full time, sometimes the stress was overwhelming, not to mention sad due to my line of work. And every now and then I would take a break and head (virtually) to some remote island in the pacific – or stroll around the streets of a small town in Tuscany. Allowing myself to “get away” even for 10 minutes helped the rest of the day.
So, with that – I bid you safe travels – from carpal tunnel and eye strain. And send a Thank you, to my teacher, whoever you are/were. You touched a kids life – Thanks.