Jack London sailed to Japan; Walt Disney spent a year driving ambulances in France; Abraham Lincoln and Steve Jobs built their careers one step at a time. What do all of these highly successful people share in common? They all benefited from non-traditional educational experiences. (And we all benefited as a result!)
For some young people, significant learning happens outside of the classroom because, well, it has to (finances, timing, etc.). For others, it’s a choice. Regardless, that sense of adventure and in-the-field “doing” breeds exceptional leadership and gives college-bound students a competitive edge. It isn’t always clear how to get the kind of experience you and your child seeking, but rest assured no one has to pick up scurvy on a schooner like Jack London! Allow us to share 3 excellent ways within your reach:
1. Tune in to international news.
The Internet puts news from all over the world at your fingertips instantly. Bookmarking international news sources keeps you and your son or daughter informed of what’s happening politically and culturally in other countries. It’s important to be informed of our role in the world and an asset to be able to demonstrate that level of global awareness to others. (Colleges, employers, future spouse.)
2. Live a new language.
That’s right…live a new language. Cramming the night before a Spanish vocab test may earn a high school student an “A,” but how much of the language and culture they’ve truly absorbed will become apparent soon enough. Explore restaurants and businesses in your community where your teen’s language of choice is spoken. Encourage them to participate in a language immersion trip. Experiencing a language through the lenses of culture, history and human interaction will lead to real mastery.
3. Get going, globally.
Your community is a great place to find volunteer opportunities, and your son or daughter’s school is a natural place to start. But for them to achieve a truly unforgettable service experience, think bigger. Participating in a service program abroad will introduce your child to new people, help them build a set of invaluable new skills, and allow them to make a difference in the lives of others far away. Their school and community will benefit upon their return.