Who will be our next generation of voyagers? And what can we do to get them excited about seeing the world?
Over 70 classrooms of all grades across the United States were paired with community members aboard the Fall 2014 Voyage to follow their journey each step of the way. Their mission was to give younger students a deeper look at a variety of cultures and open their eyes to new experiences and opportunities. Voyagers would touch base with their partner classes through emails, typically after each port visit. Many shared notes of experiences, both big and small, that would help paint a realistic picture of what it is like to live and travel in these countries.
Payton Taylor, a student from Western Kentucky University, is currently paired with two classes at Greenwood High School. In additional to sending emails and pictures to the students, she has been mailing postcards back from each of the ports. After hearing about her experiences, students are allowed to ask their own questions.
On multiple occasions throughout the semester, Taylor‚Äôs experiences have coincided perfectly with topics the students were studying in class. While in Russia and in the Normandy region of France, students wrote to her enthusiastically connecting her photos and stories with their history lessons. But, what she shares with students is not limited to the past. Much of what they discuss centers around day-to-day life, including¬†the sites, smells, and tastes of each country. ‚ÄúThey are getting to see a side of cities that they don‚Äôt learn about in class,‚Äù she added.
A student from University of Minnesota, Lizzie Narlock, has selected a much younger partner class to communicate with during the voyage. As she interacts with the students, she appreciates their ‚Äúblatant curiosity and lack of filter.‚Äù Narlock is currently in contact with Bonnie Goertz‚Äôs third and fourth grade class at Riverside Elementary in Weston, Wisconsin. Her journey has officially come full circle as she was in Goertz‚Äôs class as a child when her older sister, Jessy, shared her experience through Vicarious Voyage while sailing around the world in Fall 2001.
Her sister mailed hard copy letters to the class, as the Internet was not yet a popular means of communication on the ship. Goertz in turn used to read the letters and create lessons based on what her sister shared. When her sister returned from the voyage, she came into the classroom and presented a daylong workshop with a variety of cultural activities, dances, and games. As Narlock prepares to return from her first voyage, she plans to do something similar for Goertz‚Äôs class again in the upcoming month.
For her, learning about Semester at Sea through Vicarious Voyage was just the beginning. ‚ÄúIt sparked my travel bug and left me with a curiosity for what else is out there,‚Äù she concluded.
The beauty of Vicarious Voyage is that it introduces a younger generation to thoughtful travel and exposes them to places¬†and destinations they might not even know exist. As voyagers travel through over a dozen ports and countries, why not use these opportunities to get others excited to see the world?
Vicarious Voyage is open to all students, faculty, and staff sailing on a given Semester at Sea voyage. If you‚Äôre a teacher and are interested in being paired with a student on an upcoming voyage or if you are sailing on an upcoming voyage with Semester at Sea and looking to enroll in the program, please click here¬†for more information.