Your students’ pre-travel preparation is an essential part of the learning process, as well as a great way to create a positive group dynamic and have some fun looking forward to the adventure ahead!
The more prepared students are for all levels of the experience, the more confident and open-minded they will be in their encounter with the new culture.
Please review the Teacher’s Travel Guide© that VIE will send you in the fall. In the Forms & Handouts Section you will find ideas and materials to help you prepare the students and create enthusiasm for their upcoming trip.
Pre-departure preparation meetings serve several functions:
- to become better acquainted with students you don’t already know
- to begin building a group spirit
- to explain some of the fundamentals of traveling
- to set rules of expected behavior
- to expose participants to cultural differences
SUGGESTED TRAVEL MEETINGS
- travel arrangements
- itinerary costs
- rules & standards of conduct
- payment & cancellation policy
See our Sample Agenda.
Even though the Family Stay often ends up as one of the travelers’ favorite parts of their trip, it is also usually the part of the program that both students and parents worry about most before they leave. Students are nervous about having to use their French and parents are concerned about the family who will host their child. Therefore, it is a good idea to have a meeting which focuses on the Family Stay.
Some points to emphasize about the Family Stay:
- Students are responsible for the success of the Family Stay.
- Facing their fears helps them realize what they are truly capable of.
- Students need to contact someone in France (the local Family Stay organizer, the VIE Paris office, or their own Organizing Teacher) immediately if they feel there is a problem with their Family Stay arrangement. Students will be given all of these contact numbers before departure.
WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO (1-2 meetings)
In December for spring groups and by March for summer groups, your students will have received their Student Handbooks from VIE. The Student Handbook has a lot of cultural information as well as practical travel tips. It is a good idea to go over all the information in the Handbooks as a group in order to answer any questions students may have. You may also want to discuss:
- History and geography of France along with different regions you will visit
- French culture and differences
- Traveling as a group
- Traveling safely and wisely
POST TRIP CELEBRATION
Now that your group has returned home, it’s time to celebrate what you have experienced!
Have a few students prepare a slide show or video from the photos they have taken while in France. Copies can be easily made for a great souvenir of the trip.
Don’t forget to send photos and videos to VIE to share your experience with future travelers.