Skip to main content

Educational Travel - The pursuit of knowledge

Educational holidays are becoming increasingly more popular among people from developed countries. The traditional beach and do nothing holiday will not face extinction any time soon but the new wave of educational holidays is asking for room in the tourism industry. This is a consequence of the digital revolution. “Far away” places are just a click away from you (and cheaper air transport has contributed to this) and this gives you the opportunity to learn about the history of other lands and see how they live without having to rely on TV documentaries.

Also, as the smart TVs, smartphones and other devices allow us to choose what we want to learn about; this has created a thirst for exploring unchartered territories. Also, if something defines millennials the most, is seeking instant gratification. “I know what I want, and I want it right now”, ranging from a hot meal delivered almost instantly to your house, a cab on the go or language lessons on your phone.


There are more people now trying to find knowledge in other areas of life than in the formal education system. Why is that?


This week I had a conversation with a man in the Boston subway. Boston is the house of many elite universities in the United States such as Harvard, MIT and Tufts University. He asked me this question: Why are libraries free? - I found the question strange. Why would you charge money to enter a library? After all, it is a public good. That was my answer. They are free because they are a public good. He then said, why do some students pay $50,000 per year for education when we have libraries full of knowledge and they are free? I don’t understand this but it is foolish. I thought about it and I acknowledged that in some way they are not paying for knowledge but for branding on their resumes. A friend from the Bahamas put it like this to me “Because that is where you forge alliances early, before entering the theatre of politics and industry. It is not so much a pursuit of knowledge, as an indoctrination into the global fiefdom”.

If that is the case, the real pursuit of knowledge will mainly happen outside the formal education system and this is contributing to the surge of educational holidays. In a large city for instance, for what an American pays for ten weeks (forty hours) of Spanish lessons in their hometown, they can get the same hours of lessons in a two week holiday, with a private tutor, in a native Spanish speaking country plus accommodation, meals, airport transfers and cultural activities. 

And this is very interesting. Historically, before mass tourism was invented in the twentieth century, the traveller had three main reasons to travel. Business (public or private), education or religious pilgrimage. Travellers were not considered tourists. They did not travel to another country to stay in luxury accommodation near the beach and expected children entertainment or buffet dinners. They did it to learn. Whether it was the “Grand Tour” across different European nations, which was a complement to the formal education of the English nobility or extended travel to the Far East, the main reason was the pursuit of knowledge. And it seems that as the XIX century travellers, families in the digital era of XXI century are complementing once again their formal education with cultural holidays.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page” - Agustine of Hippo

Written by Victor Delgado, Director of Magic Hill Holidays. Magic Hill Holidays is an Irish Camino Specialist Company that provides organised - hassle free - Camino trips. Click on 
www.magichillholidays.com/ for further details.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

‘I thought the Camino was for old people’ – A teenager’s take on the walk of a lifetime

A 14-year-old and his aunt find there is no fixed path on the Camino, or in life, on a walk from Santiago to Finisterre


Bronagh and Kyle on their Camino 14-year-old Kyle O’Neill was expecting to walk the Camino. What he wasn’t expecting was the envelope I handed him.
Inside it was a sheet of paper. On that, were three instructions.
First, Kyle would be responsible for managing his own money during the trip. He had a daily budget of €30 and had to make decisions such as where to stay and where to eat along the route. Second, he had to talk to people from ten different countries and learn at least two interesting things about these countries.
Third, he had to practice Spanish, which he is learning at school, by talking to local people while ordering food or booking into accommodation along the way.
Kyle was intrigued. Reading every line carefully, he looked up at me, smiled and said: “Wow Bronagh, I was not expecting this but... Bring It On!
Kyle at a waymaker on the Finisterre Way Kyle …

Why do we travel? – Pushing our comfort zone

Freedom? Beauty? Looking for the unexpected? To challenge ourselves and our values? To escape our day to day life even for one week? There is not one answer that fits all. People travel for different reasons. Some people want to leave the town where “they are from” and where everyone knows them because in some way, being in a new place where nobody else knows you, makes you freer. It feels good because there is no emotional attachment in that holiday place. No bad things happened there (at least not to yourself).


My favorite reason to go to a new place is the thirst for adventure and to push my comfort zone.This makes things exciting. It makes you more independent and better at solving other types of problems in your home environment or at work.

The most common example is when you venture to a country where they speak a different language. In touristic cities or central areas of large cities, you will normally get by with English. But when you come out of those touristic areas and go of…