Historically the upper classes tended to send their eldest son in particular on a tour of Europe, once he had come of age. The point behind these often, year long trips, was to introduce the young person to the wider world while he learned about art, science and culture as he travelled around. These days many students take what is known as a gap year travel either following their ‘A’ levels and before university or in their second year of university. If your child would like to take a year off from their studies and spend some of that time travelling around, then you might want to work with them to plan a trip that would contribute to their general education.
Before they make for pastures new, there may be some places in Britain that your son or daughter has not yet had the opportunity to see. Cultural attractions such as the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and the history and artefacts at the Tower of London should be on every educational itinerary. When students are in London they should also visit the Tate Gallery, the British Museum, the Science Museum and the Natural History museum in Forest Gate. The next step in your child’s educational travel should be a trip to Italy, Rome in particular.
Your child will have learned about the Roman Empire as part of his general education but there is nothing quite like seeing Roman structures and getting an idea of what was written on Roman tombs. There are all kinds of collections that relate to life in the Roman Empire that your child should see. Most students will have heard of the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican and these things should be on the list of any student travel plan. There is any number of churches in Italy and if your child can take a guided tour it will add to their general education and experience of life.
Britain has always had close ties with Malta and it is the place where the St. John’s Hospitallers and the Knights Templar spent a good deal of time. St’ John’s co-cathedral in Valletta is a must see for anyone remotely interested in the history of the Templars and Catholicism. One of the things that will attract a young person engaged in gap year travel is the Maltese climate, which is very warm and sunny due to its proximity to the African continent.
Tarragona, Northern Spain
You may not be familiar with the city of Tarragona but there is plenty to see there that is of educational value. The Romans invaded Spain and there is a very big and largely intact/restored Roman necropolis. The main cathedral in Tarragona is also a must see for anyone interested in the Spanish Inquisition, as that place was heavily involved in its history.
A visit to Turkey should also be on the list for educational student travel, as there are trips most days out to the remains of the ancient city of Ephesus, a testament to the ancient Greece culture – you can also stand in the very spot where St. Paul is reputed to have preached.
This post was written by James Harper on behalf of Sportlived who organise gap year holidays for students around the world in places like Argentina and Australia.