In my Assembly to the Middle and Upper school pupils today I talked about the importance of travel. I think travel is essential to a well-rounded education. Travel pushes us outside our comfort zones and forces us to see situations from another’s point of view. We are all very lucky that travel is within our means and, in a developed country, travel is easy and safe.
These experiences are so important to our children because they are truly global citizens. The internet and virtual meetings have made the world a much more connected place. As adults they will be working with multinational teams, possibly in different languages and customs. Understanding that different people do things differently and that different doesn’t mean wrong, will be very important to their future success. I think that the more they are exposed to the world through travel, the more open and relaxed they will be and the more successful they will be in these situations.
And travel does not need to be far or take weeks! Just travelling to a different city or to the countryside can give us a different perspective. I remember being called ‘pet’ in a coffee shop in Yorkshire for the first time and being asked if I wanted a ‘buttie’. It felt strange at the time but I soon got used to it. Go just a little further and you will find even more different foods or languages, housing or transport. Look around and you will see plants and animals and landscapes you may have never seen before.
Meeting people from other cultures and looking at the flora and fauna of foreign lands can help you understand your own homeland and identity better. Assuming that everyone in this world sees it just as you do is always a mistake, as is dividing the world into “us” and “them”. In the words of Rudyard Kipling, “What do they know of England, who only England know?”.
Over the Christmas holidays, I travelled to Singapore and New Zealand and in my Assembly I described some of the amazing creatures I encountered. It is hard to explain quite how majestic an albatross is to those who have never seen one. Fortunately, with the splendid aid of Miss Watson’s artistic skills, I was able to unveil a life-size picture of one – see above!
By encouraging my pupils to travel I also hope to show them that people around the world are all the same. We all laugh, we all cry, we all love our families and friends. Maybe, just maybe, this will go some way to making the world a better place for everyone.
Ms Elizabeth Lyle, Head